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use


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Wilfrid Sellars (1912—1989)

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889—1951) philosopher

pragmatism

 

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The slogan that ‘meaning is use’ is associated with the later philosophy of Wittgenstein. It has affinities with the claims of pragmatism, that the meaning of a sign consists in the set of practices following upon ‘acceptance of the symbol’. The difficulty is to characterize use in a sufficiently general way: no advantage over traditional ideas is gained if it is said, for instance, that the use of a predicate is to refer to a universal, or the use of a sentence is to express an associated proposition. A useful framework due to Sellars divides use into three parts: there are ‘entry rules’, describing the kinds of situation justifying application of a term, ‘exit rules’, describing the practical consequences of accepting the application of the term, and transformation rules taking us to other linguistic applications that themselves bear definite relations to the term.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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