Wittgenstein on grammar and grammatical method

Dobler, T (2011) Wittgenstein on grammar and grammatical method. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis is an investigation of Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s later conception of grammar and philosophy as a grammatical investigation. I seek to clarify how one should understand the later Wittgenstein‘s statement that ―grammar describes the use of words in the language‖ (PG 60), as well as what motivates Wittgenstein‘s philosophical interest in grammar. I explore and critically assess three different interpretative approaches to Wittgenstein‘s conception of grammar, each of which presents a different characterisation of his view that philosophy is a grammatical investigation. I argue that Wittgenstein‘s conception of grammar and philosophy should be understood against the background of his early views, and also in light of his later critique of those views in the Philosophical Investigations. I develop a sustained critique of the standard interpretation of grammar and grammatical investigation, which, I argue, tends to obliterate important contrasts between Wittgenstein‘s early and later views. I propose that in interpreting Wittgenstein‘s use of the term grammar, one should be sensitive to a distinction between two different notions of use, which in turn give rise to two different notions of grammar: namely, grammar as that which describes the use of words in sentential contexts, and grammar as that which describes the use of words in the context of particular activities on different occasions. I argue that, on the later Wittgenstein‘s view, neglecting the latter aspect of use is responsible for many philosophical confusions, and that Wittgenstein‘s grammatical methods aim to eliminate confusions by bringing this dimension of use and grammar back into focus.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Philosophy
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2012 17:28
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2012 17:28
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/40467
DOI:

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