Meaning, Use and Ostensive Definition in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations

Philosophical Investigations 37 (4):350-362 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this paper, I argue that the restricted claim in §43a of the Philosophical Investigations is that, for a large class of cases of word meanings, the meaning of a word is its use in the language. Although Wittgenstein does not provide any example of words having uses but no meaning as exceptions to the claim, he does hint at exceptions, which are names being defined, or explained, ostensively by pointing to their bearers, in §43b. Names in ostensive definitions, or explanations, are meaningful, but not being used, and are therefore exceptions to the claim that meaning is use



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,150

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Wittgenstein on ostensive definition.P. M. S. Hacker - 1975 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 18 (3):267 – 287.
Wittgenstein on Language, Meaning, and Use.Dan Nesher - 1992 - International Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1):55-78.
Wittgenstein on Grammar, Theses and Dogmatism.Peter M. S. Hacker - 2011 - Philosophical Investigations 35 (1):1-17.
Wherefore the Failure of Private Ostension?George Wrisley - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):483 - 498.
Meaning and ostensive definition.C. H. Whiteley - 1956 - Mind 65 (July):332-335.
Wittgenstein on Meaning Something.Donald Gustafson - 1979 - Philosophical Investigations 2 (3):18-31.
Ontology, epistemology, and private ostensive definition.Irwin Goldstein - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (1):137-147.
The last word on being red and blue all over.Virgil C. Aldrich - 1954 - Philosophical Studies 5 (1):5-10.
Wittgenstein's Philosophical investigations: a critical guide.Arif Ahmed (ed.) - 2010 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Was Wittgenstein a sceptic?Oswald Hanfling - 1985 - Philosophical Investigations 8 (January):1-16.


Added to PP

90 (#190,222)

6 months
7 (#436,298)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Leo Cheung
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1922 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
Philosophical Investigations, 4th edition (trans. Hacker and Schulte).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by E. M. G., G. E. M. Anscombe, G. H. Translator: Anscombe von Wright & R. Rhees.

View all 19 references / Add more references