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On What There Must Be$
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Ross Harrison

Print publication date: 1974

Print ISBN-13: 9780198245070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245070.001.0001

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Private Languages

Private Languages

Chapter:
(p.157) CHAPTER SIX Private Languages
Source:
On What There Must Be
Author(s):

Ross Harrison

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245070.003.0006

A common conclusion in present philosophy is that private languages are impossible. This conclusion derives from Wittgenstein and is usually thought to imply that a language which it would be impossible for more than one person to speak is not itself possible. Wittgenstein is not the only person to base an argument that private languages are impossible on the necessity of being able to distinguish between what is the case and what merely seems to be the case. This is also done by Shoemaker. Both Wittgenstein's and Shoemaker's arguments are criticized. It is clear that the main point of the private language argument is to show that a world just of sensations could not be a comprehensible world. Publicity and privacy are also outlined.

Keywords:   private languages, philosophy, Wittgenstein, Shoemaker, publicity, privacy, argument, comprehensible world

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