An Antidote to Use-From Semantics to Human Rights and Back

Open Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):50-60 (2012)

Abstract

I unpack the contents of the motto that “meaning is use” in fivefold fashion and point to the elements it contains, which are open to an ideological exploitation, the main reason for its strong appeal among intellectual circles. I indicate how the sense of it, “where there is use, there is meaning”, has encouraged equalitarian accounts of meaning and truth . I then present and discuss Austin’s distinction between the Sentence and the Statement, which entails the presence of meaning preceding the use, and directing it, and offer a new proof that Sentences are impossible to eliminate in any semantic scheme of things. Austin’s distinction, as explained and defended, refutes the contention that “meaning is use”. I proceed to his doctrine of Locution and Illocution, reflecting the previous, indicating by a series of examples, that illocutionary varieties, which are varieties but not variances , can never extend beyond the se-mantic scope generically contained in the original, content; that is to say, the Sentence. Those that do, and they are several, violate the rules of sense. I enumerate his vast differences with Wittgenstein, and proceed to defend Austin’s noted conservatism against the novelties endorsed by the former and his disciples. Charging Wittgenstein’s private language attack as circular, I conclude by marking their further contrast on the actual foundations of meaning and truth

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Sense and Sensibilia.J. L. AUSTIN - 1962 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Papers.J. L. Austin - 1961 - Oxford University Press.
Sense and Sensibilia.J. L. Austin - 1962 - Oxford University Press USA.

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