The autonomy of language-games : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Philosophy at Massey University

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Massey University
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This thesis is essentially an explication of and argument for the autonomy of language-games. Autonomy, as it relates to the concept of a language-game, is approached in the introductory section and first chapter through the analysis of, what are termed, intrusive acts: prodedures - such as statements - that appear quite ridiculous and form no part of the custom of a given language-game. By looking closely at extreme examples of intrusion, a scheme to explain the way discourse operates in a language-game, as well as the precise sense in which a given act is intrusive, is developed and presented in detail. This is the apparatus of the Conversational Dance, and its presentation takes up the entire second chapter. In the third chapter the reader is directed towards less obvious but more controversial examples of intrusion, specifically certain paradoxes presented to the language-game of theism by the philosophy of religion. The so-called justification of above-mentioned intrusive acts is then thoroughly examined in chapter four, and it is discovered that it is founded on a referential semantics. This semantics is then introduced to the scheme of the conversational dance (which, we must not forget, is the account of the workings of discourse in a language-game), only to be firmly rejected as an inappropriate semantics for that apparatus (indeed, the scheme of the conversational dance suggests its own and quite different theory of meaning). This serves to effectively undermine the 'justification' of the paradoxes (besides other intrusive philosophical procedures). With the now defunct 'justification' of intrusion dealt with, the text moves on in the final chapter to a discussion of the main objections to the autonomist positi9on. Here, and in the paper's closing remarks, a number of philosophers concerns are looked at, and solutions and/or suggestions as how to best approach the business of solving the problems are offered. With these issues addressed, the objectives of the thesis are completed.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1889-1951, Language and languages -- Religious aspects, Philosophy of religion