By Bernard Harrison (auth.)
'... a masterly advent to the crucial matters that experience outlined the sector in view that Frege.' educating Philosophy
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Additional resources for An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language
No serious proponent of the theory has ever imagined such a thing: the 'objects' which such philosophers have had in mind have always been things of a much more rarefied kind. It is quite true that no defender of the theory has ever stated it in the simpleminded way in which we have just stated it. On the other hand, I think it is equally true that the attractiveness of the theory stems from the fact that it offers a picture - a way of conceiving the fundamental nature of meaning - which seems to make the nature of meaning transparently clear.
For let anyone reflect and then tell me wherein does his idea of man differ from that of Peter and Paul, or his idea of horse from that of Bucephalus, but in the leaving out something that is peculiar to each individual, and retaining so much of those particular complex ideas of several particular existences as they are found to agree in. 10 On this account of abstraction we begin with particular things Peter, Paul, Bucephalus - and we likewise end, when abstraction is complete, with particular things: with those 'particular existences' that Peter, Paul and the rest have been 'found to agree in'.
The list of possibilities is endless. The learner can answer this question only when he knows the logical category of 'cow': whether it is a species name, or a name for some less exactly specified category of true-breeding animals, or a colour name, or a shape name, or whatnot. And so he needs to know already how the word is to function in language. Wittgenstein makes this point in the Philosophical Investigations (I. ' For the word 'number' here shows what place in language, in grammar, we assign to the word.