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Wittgenstein Language theories



Despite the brilliant propositions made by Wittgenstein in his picture theory, some scholars have still had their reservations. Some others agree in different proportions with the ideas of Wittgenstein, while some do not agree. Wittgenstein work has been appraised, criticized, and evaluated by different scholars. To be fair enough, works from both sides will be explored.

In a chapter of his ‘An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge; A Pluricultural Approach’ (2007), titled ‘Language, Culture, Science and Knowledge’, John Bewaji disagrees with Wittgenstein’s stand that language determines the limits of one’s world.7 Wittgenstein holds this position across series of proposition made in the Tractatus, but more importantly, in his establishment of the world of language and the ‘mystical’. For Wittgenstein, all that has real existence can be found within the realm of language, and as such, whatever cannot be expressed in language belongs to another realm entirely where certainty does not exist. For Bewaji, Wittgenstein appears to limit language to spoken words and propositions, and language should not just be limited to spoken words, for there are cases of people representing novel experiences in neologic forms that eventually get recognized and accepted.8 This, for him, gives language the flexibility it needs to surface in new forms and structures, for what one may not be able to express in words, he might with signs, symbols, or graph.

Also, Joseph Omoregbe, i argues that in opining that, in classifying ethical statements in the category of the unsayable, he spends time saying the unsayable in proposition 6.422 where he dwells on the nature of ethics and ethical rewards.9 Thus, his ability to classify what is unsayable with the use of language, might be pointing to the fact it might not actually be meaningless as Wittgenstein puts it. He, however, commends Wittgenstein’s consistency in admitting the nonsensical nature of the work.10

Also, Dr Mohammad Ahraf Adeel in his Wittgenstein’s Picture Theory of Meaning holds that the tidea expressed in the Tractatus, which holds that a proposition is an interweaving of simple names representing an interweaving of simple elements, is only a development of historical deposits.11 He goes further to aver that the idea was first presented in Plato’s Theatetus.

Lastly, Moritz Schlick held the doctrines of the Tractatus as revolutionary and a turning point in Philosophical discourse. Ozumba asserts that he accepted the position of the Tractatus which hold that every genuine proposition is a truth function of the elementary proposition, and that the function of philosophy is in the clarification of concepts and thoughts.12 In his article titled Meaning and Verification, he held that if his propositions on meaning and philosophy of language in general is held to be good, it is because of Wittgestein’s Tractatus and picture theory.13

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