The Augustinian Picture.
We learn language
by pointing at things but it is a simplification of how we learn.
It is a scientific/catalogue view of learning the language. Wittgenstein
introduces the idea of games in the introduction and says that Augustine is
describing a simple language game i.e. a simpler language than ours.
describes a simple language used by a community of builders where the words are
commands and orders. The child is trained in these orders. He calls it
demonstrative teaching. It is like teaching a dog by reward and punishment. If
we where to describe this using our grammar we would call it a word that was a
noun and a verb at the same time. However,
W. is not saying the words are learnt independently of any other words in their
ponders on the use of the word `brick`. Why should brick mean in some cases
`bring me a brick?` He rejects the idea that when the words are used they are
associated with `saying something in the mind` and asserts that meaning is to do
with the way the words are used in a particular system of language. W is
emphatic that there is no mental picture mysteriously happening and somehow this
is linked to language. In the Investigations he is clear that the child is not
born with innate ideas as Augustine had claimed and that the child had to
discover a public way of communication these innate ideas or mental pictures.
objection was raised by a member of the group in the following terms: - The word
murder can have two different meanings in exactly the same context. In one instance it can mean the threat of death and in
another it can mean a joke or a jest. In
the two instances the word has two different meanings how can this be. On
William James view it is that the word is associated with different metal
experiences and these two different metal experiences give us the two different
meanings of the word.
to the objection. The word gets
it’s meaning from its context which is unique but broadly similar. So the word
murder can be used in a threat language game or a comic language game. An
outsider may misinterpret the language game they are in. e.g. they can react as
threatened in a comic language game.
teaching has many forms. Naming of
objects. Naming of numbers. Naming of particular objects (Proper names).
“The difference, one might
say, does not lie in the act of demonstration, but rather in the surrounding
of that act in the use of the language.”
W. discuses the notion of real
proper names as opposed to what we call real proper names in ordinary lives.
He goes to reject this idea which implies the rejection of atomic
propositions expressed in the Tractartus.
He rejects this in favour of a proper name being applied to ordinary
objects and things. E.g. using
the word exactness, there is no single or mysterious way of defining this. It depends on how we want to use it at the time.
There is not independent criterion of correctness. Such as a Platonic
has application to the Sorites Paradox. We are bothered by the fact that we
cannot define exactly what a heap is. We feel there should be an exact
definition. W shows, using the example of `coming to tea at 4-30`, that there
are many ways of defining what this means all involved with actual events. The
language is related to its use in these contexts.
He has now demonstrated 5 uses
of language: Naming objects, Naming numbers, proper names, giving orders and
questions and answers. He now calls these
They are not complete systems of language. He defines a complete
language as “that of a nebulous mass of language, his mother tongue,
surrounded by discrete and more or less clear cut language games, the
technical languages. (e.g. Use of charts, descriptive geometry.)
He introduces a new language
game 6. This involves questions and definitions. He defines ostensive
definition as “this is” a pointing gesture. N.B. Augustine defined the
whole of language learning in this way.
For W. this is only one way amongst others.
of the Augustianian Picture
Glock (1,p41-45) offers this summary of the Augustinian Picture
word has a meaningAll words are names ie stand for objects
meaning of a word is the object it stands for
connection between words(names) and their meanings (referents) is
established by ostensive definition, which establishes a mental association
between words and object
are combinations of names.
sole function of language is to represent reality; words refer, sentences
child can establish the association between word and object only through
thinking, which means that it must already possess a private language, in
order to learn the public one.
takes up 4 positions
descriptivist conception of sentences.
idea that ostensive definition provides the foundations of language.
conception of word meaning.
idea that the language of thought underlies our public languages