Essay on A Philosophical Examination of Language

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A Philosophical Examination of Language "Philosophy is language idling." —Ludwig Wittgenstein Language and philosophy have an intimate connection to one another; without a philosophical examination of the meanings and structure of language, we cannot easily ascertain the objective truth of the statements we make, nor can we usefully discuss abstract concepts. The philosophy of language seeks to understand the concepts expressed by language and to find a system by which it can effectively and accurately do so. This is more difficult than it appears at first; philosophers are looking for a theory of language which avoids the minute errors of meaning and usage which occur in all discussions of abstract concepts and which tend to…show more content…
Ordinary language theory, on the other hand, suggested that these philosophical problems appear when language is used improperly; the language itself is perfectly acceptable and can be easily applied to the discussion of abstract and philosophical concepts without undue modifications, as long as it is used and interpreted properly (Katz 69). Each of the! ! se movements in linguistic philosophy had its strengths and weaknesses, and its supporters and detractors. LOGICAL EMPIRICISM Pure metaphysical speculation which is not based on fact is, to the empiricists, neither relevant nor useful. The only truth, in this philosophy, is that which is mathematically provable or experimentally observable (Katz 18-19). This truth can be divided into two categories: analytic truths are based on inherent meanings and can be observed through the application of reason, if not experiment; synthetic truths are those facts which are obtained from the experience of reality (Quine, in Rosenberg & Travis, 63). How does this apply to linguistic philosophy? Any system of communication must, in order to be meaningful, include some way to represent the truth accurately; any empiricist will tell you that this truth is only valuable and meaningful if it can be considered absolute and provable. In order to be perfectly accurate in representing the truth, language must conform to a certain set of specifications designed to prevent it from
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