Chapter

Private Languages

Ross Harrison

in On What There Must Be

Published in print September 1974 | ISBN: 9780198245070
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680830 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245070.003.0006
Private Languages

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A common conclusion in present philosophy is that private languages are impossible. This conclusion derives from Wittgenstein and is usually thought to imply that a language which it would be impossible for more than one person to speak is not itself possible. Wittgenstein is not the only person to base an argument that private languages are impossible on the necessity of being able to distinguish between what is the case and what merely seems to be the case. This is also done by Shoemaker. Both Wittgenstein's and Shoemaker's arguments are criticized. It is clear that the main point of the private language argument is to show that a world just of sensations could not be a comprehensible world. Publicity and privacy are also outlined.

Keywords: private languages; philosophy; Wittgenstein; Shoemaker; publicity; privacy; argument; comprehensible world

Chapter.  7865 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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