&c.: On Linguistic Regularity, Normativity and Language Acquisition

Chapter

Abstract

How do we know when learning has taken place? When is a teacher’s job done? One answer that may be drawn from Wittgenstein’s work is: when the pupil is able to go on alone. One temptation here is to say that a child has learned how to go on alone when she has grasped the regularity underlying the phenomena at hand—we know how to use a word in new contexts when we know what it means, or we know how to use the words we have learned when we know the rules that guide their correct use. This paper aims to show that we often misunderstand the point where the student is ready to part way with his or her teacher if we focus to strongly on rules. It is argued that it may be helpful here to think more about kinds of regularities in language use that are not so self-evidently “rule-like” in order to further make clear that regularity in language use, the normative force of language , does not depend on, or fall back upon, a kind of rule, or form of language, that precedes all articulations (correct and incorrect).

Keywords

Wittgenstein Rule following Language acquisition Normativity Contextualism 

References

  1. Austin, J. L. (1979). Other minds. In J. O. Urmson & G. J. Warnock (Eds.), Philosophical papers (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cavell, S. (1979). The claim of reason: Wittgenstein, skepticism, morality, tragedy and morality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Diamond, C. (1990). Rules: Looking in the right place. In D. Z. Phillips & P. Winch (Eds.), Wittgenstein: Attention to particulars; essays in honour of Rhush Rhees (1905—89). New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  4. Glock, H. J. (1991). Philosophical investigations section 128: ‘Theses in Philosophy’ and undogmatic procedure. In R. L. Arnington & H. J. Glock (Eds.), Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Glock, H. J. (1996). Necessity and normativity. In H. Sluga & D. Stern (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Wittgensgtein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hacker, P. M. S. (1972). Insight and illusion: Wittgenstein on philosophy and the metaphysics of experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Rhees, R. (1970). Discussions of Wittgenstein. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Google Scholar
  8. Searle, J. (1980). The background of meaning. In J. Searle, F. Kiefer, & M. Bierwisch (Eds.), Speech act theory and pragmatics. Dordrecht: Springer. Google Scholar
  9. Searle, J. (1994). Literary theory and its discontents. New Literary History, 25(3). Google Scholar
  10. Thornton, T. (1998). Wittgenstein on language and thought. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Travis, C. (2008). Occasion sensitivity: Selected essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Wittgenstein, L. (1997). Philosophical investigations (2nd ed., G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Malden, MA: Blackwell (PI).Google Scholar
  13. Wright, C. (1993). Realism, meaning, truth (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations