Ordinary Language Philosophy

Ordinary Language Philosophy


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Posted Aug 10, 2006 - 11:05 AM:
Subject: Ordinary Language Philosophy
Can anyone here give me a brief overview of what Ordinary Language Philosophy is all about? I am slightly confused. I have been studying for a paper on Stanley Cavell and everything I read seems to deal with a vast amount of the intricacies but nothing of the gist of the philosophy...or maybe I am just not getting it. Anyway, if any of you can help it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if any of you out there could recommend any good books that are less complicated reading than the majority that would be great, thanks.

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Posted Aug 11, 2006 - 12:00 AM:

Wittgenstein (later works -- On certainty, Philosophical Investigation)

Peter Strawson -- Analysis and Metaphysics.

You can also read Hilary Putnam (philosophy of language), for instance his Brains in a Vat essay which talks about concepts.

Any other philosopher of language dealing with concepts, most especially conceptual analysis. Quine, maybe.

Briefly --- ordinary language philosophy is the move from the ideal language (formal logic, etc) to language and its actual use when we're engaged in normal everyday interaction and communication. Concepts, meaning, undestanding, certainty, logic (yes, it is still there) are all brought together to analyze everyday language.
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Posted Aug 11, 2006 - 4:57 PM:

The Ideal Language Philosophy, from which Carnap, early Wittgenstein and Russell seem to be the main characters, stated that all the classic philosophical problems arose because philosophers got confused about language. They used it in a very "loose" way, and quickly found themselves asking questions that, for the common, non-philosophical people, made no sense, and shortly they found themselves dointg great speculations in order to answer their own, weird questions.

So the way to solve the philosophical problems is to really "disolve" them by analyzing them, using a logical apparatus (an "ideal language"), and finding that those questions aren't really questions, just meaningless sentences.

The school of the ordinary language, whose main characters are (in my opinion) Ryle and the later Wittgenstein, stated that there really is no need to use an "ideal language" to solve the confusions (philosophical problems) that happen in the everyday language (which is, in the enbd, the language on which philospherse spoke in). Those problems can also be disolved by simply analyzing how are the words used in the everyday speech, how is the syntax, etc.

Roughly speaking.

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Posted Aug 12, 2006 - 12:58 PM:

Most (if not all) philosophical problems arise from a misunderstanding of ordinary language. In attempts to use the concepts of ordinary language, but out of the context in which they are embedded and rather in the context of scholarly or philosophical discourse, and without recognizing this fact (and thus adjusting for it), philosophers lead themselves into deep trouble. Questions like "can an object be red and green all over?" are simple misconstruals of ordinary language. So, ordinary language philosophy is the attempt to show philosophical discourse where it is unknowingly using concepts taken out of their everyday use. Ordinary language analyzes the everyday uses of language and concepts so as to ground philosophy in a more "coherent" way. To appeal to concepts in ordinary language, but use them in a disparate context such as philosophical discourse leads to incoherence, senselessness. You are taking concepts out of the context in which they make sense.

People you should read are later Wittgenstein (haven't myself read yet), Austin (also haven't read yet) namely "Sense and Sensibilia," and Gilbert Ryle, either "The Concept of Mind" or "Dilemmas". I'd definitely take a look at Ryle. I read somewhere that Wittgenstein once said something to the effect of "Ryle is the only one who really understands me." However, while someone like Wittgenstein (so I hear) might say "take a look at society for instances of ordinary language," Ryle would go along the lines of various thought experiments. I think Ryle is underestimated as a philosopher. He has some very interesting things to say, follows an interesting methodology, and is relatively easy to read (not that that is a bad thing grin)

Good luck!

Edited by LonesomeDrifter on Aug 12, 2006 - 6:03 PM
definitely ~d1

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Posted Aug 12, 2006 - 2:39 PM:

Google "ordinary language" ???

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Posted Aug 12, 2006 - 2:58 PM:

Definitely Wittgenstein, Austin, and Quine, as others have mentioned. G.E. Moore is considered by some to be one of the fathers of the ordinary language movement, but his influence is sadly oft forgotten. Common sense is very intricately related to the ordinary language movement. Might I suggest G.E. Moore's A Defense of Common Sense?
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