, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 362–368 | Cite as

Language, Discourse, and Ostension: Selected Passages

  • Daniel B. KleinEmail author
Social Science and Public Policy


Ostension is the act or process of showing, as in showing a child a fossil while saying “fossil.” Here collected are 59 quotations about language, discourse, ostension, and semantics. A theme is the “facts are theory-laden” spiral between language and discourse, between explananda and explanation – the philosophy-of-science problem (and the pervasive political problem) of justifying our judgment in favor of one over against another outlook. The collection highlights individual personage – and hence history, or historicity – as conditioning the content of a theory (or the complex that spans explanandum and explanation). The individual personage infuses meaning into words or signs in showing his own doings including speech acts (discourse, parole). Multiple quotations are authored by Thomas Kuhn, J.G.A. Pocock, Karl Kraus, Adam Smith, Josep Pieper, Friedrich Hayek, Oliver Wendall Holmes, Sr., Otto Jespersen, Iain McGilchrist, and Steven Mithen. A single quotation is authored by John Milton, Edmund Burke, Gershom Carmichael, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Søren Kierkegaard, Kenneth Burke, Michael Polanyi, Thomas Schelling, Wayne Booth, and William Graham Sumner.


Language Discourse Ostension Semantics Langue Parole Philosophy of science 

JEL Codes

B4 A12 A13 


Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mercatus CenterGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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