Category Archives: linguistic philosophy

Wittgenstein Questions a Presumption of Dualism

Wittgenstein’s remarks in this section (Part II, Section V) of the Philosophical Investigations do not ostensibly advance a philosophical behaviorism. At most, his remarks raise interesting questions about some of the assumptions of the dualist regarding our talk about behavior and our talk about mental states. The argument that he makes is one that, if successful, undermines some important premises of the dualist thesis.

Concerning Wittgenstein’s Rejection of Private Language

Wittgenstein asks whether the application of a rule makes any sense with regard to a putative private language, one exclusive to the subject alone. How could the private individual, without any objective reference to other speakers or to a rule book or to some standard apart from his own private impressions, make any sense of getting a meaning right or getting it wrong? He argues that this makes no sense when applied to a strictly private context.

Puzzling about the LANGUAGE thing

Countless eons of evolution of life — and later the evolution of the mammalian brain – came long before anything resembling a word.
As the members of the human species evolved to the next phase of their development, they became language-users. At some point in their development, humans found it useful (maybe necessary for survival) to communicate. Certain grunts, yelps, signals, etc. came to signify something: a warning, a request, a threat.

More chewing on the bone of “truth”

“The truth” does not refer to an entity that exists and can be found. But often people speak this way: “The truth is out there. All we have to do is to look for it.”
“The truth” by itself is vague and not very meaningful; it has to be completed by what that truth is about; e.g. the truth about human existence, or the truth about Church history, etc. (…and even then it remains problematic and vague.)

Is “truth” a loaded term?

“Truth” may strike us a loaded term because we often use it as an evaluative term: a truthful person, a true doctrine, higher truth and so on. It may seem to some that “truth,” like “beauty,” is in the eye of the beholder. What you see as a “higher truth” or a “deeper truth” about human existence I may regard as mere confusion and mystical fluff.

Speculative, philosophical theories sometimes purport to define “truth” in all-comprehensive, metaphysical ways. This should certainly trigger our skeptical sensors.