Language Analysis:The Paramount Task of Philosophy.

Reply Mon 12 Aug, 2013 08:52 am
Philosophy,as an all encompassing discipline,is preoccupied with the whole of reality,which it attempts to elucidate from its substratum via its rational,disinterested and objective approach.Consequently,various schools of thought,since its inception,have sprang up,all trying to explain reality and issues arising from it,from their own peculiar perspective.Among the myriad of existent schools of thought in philosophy,recently,the analytic school has captivated my interest.The analytic school asserts that philosophy,in its enviable and comprehensive nature,is predominantly preoccupied with analysis and clarification of terms.At first,when I came across this their tenet,I was stupefied by how mother philosophy could be basically understood in such a parochial manner.But,after a deep reflection,I began to comprehend where the analytic philosophers were heading to.One of things I came to understand,is that,philosophy is soaked in language,to the extent that,it is its terminus ad quem and terminus ad quo.Philosophical ideas,theories and assertions are brought to life via language.Even for me to make you understand my philosophical disposition right now,I had to employ the ever reliable tool of language,English Language to be precise.This is indeed evident as we got to know about preceding and age old philosophical ideas of Plato,Aristotle,Socrates et al through language,and even become able to use them as reference points.Even the perspective disagreements among philosophers,which has mainly involved reducing statements or positions to the pitiable state of reductio ad absurdum,has from time immeorial,being done within the limits of language.No wonder,Ludwig Wittgenstein,stated that''the limit of my language is the limit of my world.''From the foregoing,would it be spurious or wrong to say that the chief job of philosophy is language analysis and terms clarification?
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Reply Tue 13 Aug, 2013 06:24 am
Ludwig Wittgenstein,stated that''the limit of my language is the limit of my world.''From the foregoing,would it be spurious or wrong to say that the chief job of philosophy is language analysis and terms clarification?

It might be "old hat", because as Rorty and others have pointed out, "clarification" is ultimately impossible as meaning* is contextual with respect to time, place, user and recipient. Seeking of "linguistic substrates" was a direct result of "philosophy" being superceded by "psychology" as a respectable investigative discipline for "cognition". But there are other directions "cognitive analysis" have taken including biology and systems theory, which tend to deflate the assumed foundational status of "language" in an attempt to move away from anthropocentricity.

*(Note for example how my usage of the term "anthropocentricity" here carries all the baggage of "the biblical status of Man" together with the recent nuances of "animal rights" movements)
Reply Tue 13 Aug, 2013 09:25 am
Fresco,I disagree with you on your assertion that"clarification is impossible because it is contextual.''Even in particular circumstances or contexts,saying and clarification of what one means is highly pertinent and salient.Some words are equivocal thus making them to be construed or interpreted in various ways.To avoid and preclude any potential ambiguity and facilitate understanding,clarification of concepts one employs at that time becomes paramount inorder to not be misunderstood.Again,if cognitive analysis deviated or is deviating from its initially assigned object of study,which is man,is language also guilty of this same offence?
Reply Tue 13 Aug, 2013 10:59 am
You are, of course, free to disagree (not with me...with Rorty, Quine, Derrida etc). Postmodernism is the epitome of linguistic deconstruction and is certainly iconoclastic with respect to "analytical philosophy" hence the antagonism towards it by "professional philosophers" worried about their status. However, if we are to take Wittgenstein's work seriously we should perhaps bear in mind that he consigned much of what we call "philosophy" to geschwätz (idle chatter...language on holiday). Alternatively a systems theoretic approach would highlight "successful social interaction" as the goal of cognition, and would tend to deflate the semantic content of "languaging" as an epiphenomenon of social behavior.
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