The Problem of the Model Language-Game in Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy

Philosophy 36 (138):333 - 351 (1961)
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In his Memoir of Wittgenstein Professor Malcolm describes the occasion on which, as far as he knows, the idea that as an activity language is a game, or that ‘games are played with words’, first occurred to Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein was passing a playing field where there was a game of football in progress. As he watched the game, the thought suddenly flashed into his mind, ‘We play games with words !’ This account may be compared with that given by Professor von Wright, on the basis of Wittgenstein's own report, of the way in which he was with equal suddenness struck with the thought that a proposition is a ‘picture’. He was looking at a diagram which showed the positions of certain persons and vehicles involved in an accident—‘ That is a proposition!’ was the thought which on this earlier occasion darted into Wittgenstein's mind. Thus, it seems, was germinated the theory developed in the Tractatus that propositions, that is to say, meaningful propositions, are ‘pictures of reality’



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Words and Terms.Humphrey Palmer - 1986 - Philosophy 61 (235):71 - 82.

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