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"The pluralistic form takes for me a stronger hold on reality than any other philosophy I know of, being essentially a social philosophy, a philosophy of 'co'"-William James
Wittgenstein Installment 3 - Kara Stallings sec 11
One more important aspect of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s work was
his ideas regarding family resemblance and word games. With the family
resemblance explanation, Wittgenstein attacks conventional views on how words
can have deeper and sometimes far different intentional meanings. His beliefs
in some ways attack the traditional view that words acquire meaning from the
thoughts of the person who speak them. However, ironically enough it at the
same time challenges Wittgenstein’s own concept from his earlier Tractatus
Logico-Philosophicus, that words get their meaning by standing in for objects
Instead, Wittgenstein says that some words do not have a
single essence that encompasses their definition. He uses the example of the
word ‘game’. Although we may think of the term as having a definite meaning,
Wittgenstein points out counterexamples to this idea. No single thing is common
to all uses of the word ‘game’. For instance, not all games are played for fun
or as recreation; games like hockey and football are played professionally, and
some casino games are played out of addiction. Not all games have scores or
points, nor do they all have teams or any equipment that would define them as
games and not some other activity.
Wittgenstein says that rather than each use of the word
‘game’ having a relationship to a specific common trait of certainty or even of
the judgments behind them, that it is the relationships between the uses of the
word that is more remarkable and significant. It is here that he brings up his
coined term of family resemblance.
Wittgenstein says that the way in which family members
resemble each other is not through a specific trait but a variety of traits
that are shared by some (but not all) members of a family.
Importantly, Wittgenstein does not say that the family
resemblance relation is not always the way that words get their meaning.
Instead, words can get their meaning by picking out objects in reality, as he
claims in the Tractatus, but he asserts that philosophers must recognize the
difference between the varied methods of assigning meaning to words.
Overall his work constitutes an articulate description of
how language impacts the intellectual progress of society. He argues strongly
that in order to survive as an individual, communication with other scholars are
crucial. To further this idea he expressed in great length the significance of
preserving language for only such a highly weighted purpose by stating that if
something cannot be expressed clearly that it should not be spoken at all.
However, this quote remains quite
a contradictory belief juxtaposed to his complete message of language. In order
for progress in any degree of further knowledge one must not shy away from fear
of unclear, mistaken or even just plain bizarre ideologies. In replace of this
quote I feel as though his other quote mentioning the event of death better
summarizes his works; if the spread of knowledge is the entire purpose behind
our existence than the present is where our timelessness lives.
“Death is not an event in life; we do not live to experience
death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but
timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.”