Slides in this set
"I shall also call the whole [of language],
consisting of language and the actions into which
it is woven, the 'language-game.'"
Language Games the name given by
Wittgenstein to his claim that the uses of
language are governed by rules, as games are
governed by rules.
The meaning of words is determined by the
language games of which the words are part, i.e.
a words meaning comes from the circumstance it
is uttered in and the other words alongside it.…read more
Examples: The Toolbox
He pointed out that each activity has its own
language, for example tools in a toolbox:
`Think of the tools in a tool-box: there is a hammer,
pliers, a saw, a screw-driver, a ruler, a glue-pot,
glue, nails and screw. The functions of words are
as diverse as the functions of these objects.'
The items in the toolbox are all tools, but
without knowing the different functions of the
tools, understanding is only superficial;
the words just allocate names rather than
providing any meaning.…read more
Examples: The Train
Similarly the handles used to control a train look
alike but have different functions, but without
knowing the function of each handle then the train
will not move.
`It is like looking into the cabin of a locomotive. We
see handles all looking more or less alike.
(Naturally, since they are all supposed to be
handled.) But one is the handle of a crank which
can be moved continuously (it regulates the
opening of a valve); another is the handle of a
switch, which has only a brake-lever, the harder
one pulls on it, the harder it brakes; a fourth, the
handle of a pump: it has an effect only so long as
it is moved to and fro.'…read more
In chess, rules state how all the pieces can
However, to talk of these rules, such as where
the `queen' can move, should only make sense
in the context of the game of chess (the
circumstance in which it is spoken)
Rules of syntax and grammar of a language
function in a similar way. If you use
words in a way that does not follow
the particular rules of the language then
you will be talking `nonsense'.…read more