〔ノート〕”Philosophical Investigation”- Ludwig Wittgenstein


1. …These words, it seems to me, give us a particular picture of the essence of human language. It is this: the individual words in language name objects–sentences are combinations of such names.–In this picture of language we find the roots of the following idea: Every word has a meaning. This meaning is correlated with the word. It is the object for which the word stands. …Now think of the following use of language: I send someone shopping. I give him a slip marked “five red apples”. He takes the slip to the shopkeeper, who opens the drawer marked “apples”; then he looks up the word “red” in a table and finds a colour sample opposite it; then he says the series of cardinal numbers–I assume that he knows them by heart–up to the word “five” and for each number he takes an apple of the same colour as the sample out of the drawer.–It is in this and similar ways that one operates with words.–“But how does he know where and how he is to look up the word ‘red’ and what he is to do with the word ‘five’?”–Well, I assume that he acts as I have described. Explanations come to an end somewhere.–But what is the meaning of the word “five”?–No such thing was in question here, only how the word “five” is used.(pp.2-3)


2. That philosophical concept of meaning has its place in a primitive idea of the way language functions. But one can also say that it is the idea of a language more primitive than ours.
Let us imagine a language for which the description given by Augustine is right. The language is meant to serve for communication between a builder A and an assistant B. A is building with building-stones: there are blocks, pillars, slabs and beams. B has to pass the stones, and that in the order in which A needs them. For this purpose they use a language consisting of the words “block”, “pillar”, “slab”, “beam”. A calls them out;–B brings the stone which he has learnt to bring at such-and-such a call.–Conceive this as a complete primitive language. (page 3)


3. Augustine, we might say, does describe a system of communication; only not everything that we call language is this system. And one has to say this in many cases where the question arises “Is this an appropriate description or not?” The answer is: “Yes, it is appropriate, but only for this narrowly circumscribed region, not for the whole of what you were claiming to describe.”
It is as if someone were to say: “A game consists in moving objects about on a surface according to certain rules…”–and we replied: You seem to be thinking of board games, but there are others. You can make your definition correct by expressly restricting it to those games. (Page 3)


5. If we look at the example in §1, we may perhaps get an inkling how much this general notion of the meaning of a word surrounds the working of language with a haze which makes clear vision impossible. It disperses the fog to study the phenomena of language in primitive kinds of application in which one can command a clear view of the aim and functioning of the words. A child uses such primitive forms of language when it learns to talk. Here the teaching of language is not explanation, but training. (Page 4)


6. We could imagine that the language of §2 was the whole language of A and B; even the whole language of a tribe. The children are brought up to perform these actions, to use these words as they do so, and to react in this way to the words of others.
An important part of the training will consist in the teacher’s pointing to the objects, directing the child’s attention to them, and at the same time uttering a word; for instance, the word “slab” as he points to that shape.; for instance, the word “slab” as he points to that shape. (I do not want to call this “ostensive definition”, because the child cannot as yet ask what the name is. I will call it “ostensive teaching of words”.–I say that it will form an important part of the training, because it is so with human beings; not because it could not be imagined otherwise.)
…But if the ostensive teaching has this effect,–am I to say that it effects an understanding of the word? Don’t you understand the call “Slab!” if you act upon it in such-and-such a way?–Doubtless the ostensive teaching helped to bring this about; but only together with a particular training. With different training the same ostensive teaching of these words would have effected a quite different understanding. (pp.4-5)

7. …We can also think of the whole process of using words in (2) as one of those games by means of which children learn their native language. I will call these games “language-games” and will sometimes speak of a primitive language as a language-game.
And the processes of naming the stones and of repeating words after someone might also be called language-games. Think of much of the use of words in games like ring-a-ring-a-roses.
I shall also call the whole, consisting of language and the actions into which it is woven, the
“language-game”.(page 5)

8. Let us now look at an expansion of language (2). Besides the four words “block”, “pillar”, etc., let it contain a series of words used as the shopkeeper in (1) used the numerals (it can be the series of letters of the alphabet); further, let there be two words, which may as well be “there” and “this” (because this roughly indicates their purpose), that are used in connexion with a pointing gesture; and finally a number of colour samples. A gives an order like: “d–slab–there”. At the same time he shews the assistant a colour sample, and when he says “there” he points to a place on the building site. From the stock of slabs B takes one for each letter of the alphabet up to “d”, of the same colour as the sample, and brings them to the place indicated by A.–On other occasions A gives the order “this–there”. At “this” he points to a building stone. And so on.

11. Think of the tools in a tool-box: there is a hammer, pliers, a saw, a screw-driver, a rule, a glue-pot, glue, nails and screws.–The functions of words are as diverse as the functions of these objects. (And in both cases there are similarities.)
Of course, what confuses us is the uniform appearance of words when we hear them spoken or meet them inscript and print. For their application is not presented to us so clearly. Especially when we are doing philosophy!(page 6)

15. The word “to signify” is perhaps used in the most straightforward way when the object signified is marked with the sign. Suppose that the tools A uses in building bear certain marks. When A shews his assistant such a mark, he brings the tool that has that mark on it.
It is in this and more or less similar ways that a name means and is given to a thing.–It will often prove useful in philosophy to say to ourselves: naming something is like attaching a label to a thing. (page 7)

43. For a large class of cases–though not for all–in which we employ the word “meaning” it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language.(page 21)


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