Wittgenstein and the Beginning of Cognitive Semantics

Posted: 30 Nov 2010 Last revised: 27 Aug 2012

See all articles by Djordje Vidanovic

Djordje Vidanovic

University of Niš, Faculty of Philosophy

Date Written: November 28, 2010


This is an analysis of Wittgenstein's ideas in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and the Philosophical Investigations that tries to show that he attempted a truth-conditional description of the world in the TLP and, after realizing his failure to do so, resorted to a different style of analysis in which he exchanged the 'crystalline purity of logic' for a 'rougher ground'. Actually, Wittgenstein slowly accepted the imperfection of a semantic description which could readily be shown by his introduction of language games and the concept of family resemblances. All this lead to a later conception of prototypes as exemplified by Eleanor Rosch and statements of the type such as "a mug is a sort of cup". Eventually, I hope to be able to show that Wittgenstein was (conceptually at least) the principal forerunner of cognitive semantics.

Keywords: truth-conditions, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, language games, family resemblances, Philosophical Investigations, prototypes, metaphor

Suggested Citation

Vidanovic, Djordje, Wittgenstein and the Beginning of Cognitive Semantics (November 28, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1716431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1716431

Djordje Vidanovic (Contact Author)

University of Niš, Faculty of Philosophy ( email )

Cirila i Metodija 2
18000 Niš
Niš, 18000
Republic of Serbia

HOME PAGE: http://www.ni.ac.rs

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