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Revolution of the OrdinaryLiterary Studies after Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell$
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Toril Moi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226464305

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226464589.001.0001

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“Five Red Apples”

“Five Red Apples”

Meaning and Use

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 “Five Red Apples”
Source:
Revolution of the Ordinary
Author(s):

Toril Moi

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226464589.003.0002

Chapter 1 sets out the foundations of Wittgenstein’s vision of language through a detailed analysis of the beginning of Philosophical Investigations. It explains what the “Augustinian picture of language” is and why Wittgenstein thinks it’s misleading. A short story by Cortázar about the language of bullfighting brings out the connection between word and world. Drawing on Cavell and Conant, the chapter shows that it is impossible to understand Wittgenstein unless one understands what he means when he says that meaning is use. Words don’t have meaning in isolation, outside their context of significant use. To learn a language is to be trained in use. Training is not explanation. Use explains why Wittgenstein insists that philosophy requires attention to particulars. Far from explaining or underpinning use, definitions, whether ostensive definitions or dictionary definitions, are examples of use, examples of specific language-games. Use binds us to other users of the language, speakers who share our practices. Use binds us to the world.

Keywords:   Augustinian picture of language, Ludwig Wittgenstein, James Conant, Stanley Cavell, Julio Cortázar, use, meaning, language-games, definitions, examples

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