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On Not Misrepresenting Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

A spectre is haunting the intelligentsia, the spectre of what they call 'linguistic philosophy'. Sunday newspaper reviewers and sociobiologists, theologians and dialectical materialists join in abhorring it. Mr. Ernest Gellner who has joined the ranks of the philosophical ghostseers in 'Logical Positivism and the Spurious Fox' is no exception. This chapter brings out with a single example how Mr. Ernest Gellner misdescribes the work of Wittgenstein; for he gives the impression at least of expounding doctrines connected with that work. The theme from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations on which the author touches is that of the non-private character of language. The author shows why the conception of a private language is important and where the roots of this conception lie, and delineates part of Wittgenstein's attack on this notion. Finally, the author presents one or two of Wittgenstein's key ideas (including one mentioned by Gellner) in the light of this discussion.

Keywords:linguistic philosophy; Logical Positivism; Mr. Ernest Gellner; private language; Spurious Fox; Wittgenstein



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