Wittgenstein and the Beginning of Cognitive Semantics
Posted: 30 Nov 2010 Last revised: 27 Aug 2012
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
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