Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 43–56 | Cite as

Philosophy and language learning

  • Steinar Bøyum


In this paper, I explore different ways of picturing language learning in philosophy, all of them inspired by Wittgenstein and all of them concerned about scepticism of meaning. I start by outlining the two pictures of children and language learning that emerge from Kripke’s famous reading of Wittgenstein. Next, I explore how social-pragmatic readings, represented by Meredith Williams, attempt to answer the sceptical anxieties. Finally, drawing somewhat on Stanley Cavell, I try to resolve these issues by investigating what characteristically happens to our view of language learning when we do philosophy. The focus throughout is on the relation between the individual (the learning child) and the community (usually represented by the parents), and how that relation is deformed when we operate with a certain philosophical notion of ground.


Language Learning Children Kripke Cavell Wittgenstein 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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