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[Wittrs] Language games [message #684] Tue, 01 September 2009 18:30 Go to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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Hello John. (Is that your name?)

I'll try to catch you a better answer later tonight. I'm going out to the movies right now. But I just wanted to say that the quote you provided from Philosophical Investigations does not really do what I think you (through your report of Hintikka) are trying to accomplish here.

It is true that the idea of "the language game" is quite complicated and has many applications. It reminds me of Kuhn's use of the word "paradigm." The basic idea would be, in the first instance, the learned conditions of assertability that arise from two basic sources: (a) the cognition of language (how the brain processes language in the form of life); and (b) the anthropology of language (what culture and sociology do to set up learned norms for languaging with one another). At another level, what "language game" refers to is not the game itself (if you will), but stumbles and accidents within it. These are caused principally by people who are either not aware of (a) and (b) above when they offer a play in the game, or simply are not very good players. 

To answer your specific question, Wittgenstein quite clearly gives up the idea that language pictures or affixes itself to anything in the real world. He doesn't give up, however, in the sense that he takes a counter position. This is always a bane of those who cannot understand Wittgenstyein. They think because he gives up on something they call "realism" that he has to be in some other camp ("idealism").It is as if they cannot figure out that Wittgenstein II is transcendental of philosophy's entire approach rather than simply being an advocate for a different team within the approach.  The point is this: Wittgenstein rejects these sorts of positions because they present false problems. They are a kind of ideology for philosophy students. For Wittgenstein, language ultimately is what language ultimately does. Words are deeds. And if sometimes people ostensify or point -- "this one right here" -- then that is part of the play in the languaging
activity. What is king now is the idea that language is a behavior, not a picture or a logic. 

I'll have a better answer for you later. I'm out the door now.

Regards and thanks.
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
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Wright State University
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From: john1ijones <jonescardiff@btinternet.com>
To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 6:46:08 PM
Subject: [Wittrs] Language games

I've been reading Hintikka and Hintikka "Investigating Wittgenstein" . I make this observation on their treatement of language games.

For Hintikka, "the received view", or standard interpretation of "language games" is that Wittgenstein had given up trying to connect words and sentences to reality. It suggests that for Witt words and sentences only make sense in the different scenarios or communicative traditions in which they are used. Such communicative traditions include, for example, asking, promising, playing, bargaining, etc. Wittgenstein was, for the received view, not interested in how words connect to reality, he only wanted to talk about the horizontal relationships between different speech acts and communicative traditions.

This, the received view, was given short shrift by Hintikka, who suggested that Witt had NOT given up trying to find a link between words and reality. Hintikka said that verbal traditions were only one manifestation of language games among others, and were not the whole of it, as the received interpretation suggested. To get the vertical link between reality and words Hintikka says that we must expand the received, picture view that language games are verbal to include the non-verbal traditions that give rise to them and which are their ground. This quote from Philosophical Investigations I, sec7, would appear to give substance to Hintikka's reading:

"I shall also call the whole, consisting of language and the actions associated with which it is interwoven, the 'language game'."

Here, the "whole" or language game isn't a totality for the parts "language" and "actions". It is their manifesting condition or framework.

Hintikka refers to his expanded view as a mirror view, as opposed to the picture view. In the mirror view words and sentences have no independent meaning, but in the picture view they do.

But I suggest that Hintikka still can't find a link between language and reality, even in his expanded mirror view of language games as mediator. For how can signs mirror reality through a language game unless there is a link between language games and reality?

Here I think, Hintikka missed a trick. All he had to argue was that language games create or are the frameworks for, the objects of reality. Language games are primary, not reality. Which places concepts over objects - which was Kant's solution, in fact.


Re: [Wittrs] Language games [message #1112 is a reply to message #684] Fri, 18 September 2009 05:11 Go to previous message
nobul savage is currently offline  nobul savage
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Many of the early studies of memory (e.g. Bartlett 1932) demonstrate how memories are not accurate records of our experiences. It seems that we try to fit past events into our existing representations of the world, making the memory more coherent or make more sense for us. For example a schema is a picture we carry in our minds to describe a certain environment. If you were asked to describe a restaurant, you would think of tables, chairs, plates, etc. Because of this, it is possible for people to ask a leading question to try and manipulate our memory, and thus reinforce their case. Elizabeth Loftus is a leading figure in the field of eyewitness testimony research. She has demonstrated through the use of leading questions how it is possible to distort a person's memory of an event. For example if you showed a person a picture of a child's room that contained no teddy bear, and then asked them, "Did you see a teddy bear?" you are not implying that there was one in the room and the person is free to answer. However if you ask, "Did you see the teddy bear?" it implies that one was in the room and the person is more likely to answer "yes", as the presence of a teddy bear is consistent with that person's schema of a child's room
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