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Objectivity and the Parochial$
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Charles Travis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596218

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596218.001.0001

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Thought's Social Nature

Thought's Social Nature

Chapter:
(p.301) 10 Thought's Social Nature
Source:
Objectivity and the Parochial
Author(s):

Charles Travis (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596218.003.0011

Wittgenstein, throughout his career, was deeply Fregean. Frege thought of thought as essentially social, in this sense: whatever I can think is what others could think, deny, debate, investigate. Such, for him, was one central part of judgement's objectivity. Another was that truths are discovered, not invented: what is true is so, whether recognized as such or not. (Later) Wittgenstein developed Frege's idea of thought as social compatibly with that second part. In this he exploits some further Fregean ideas: of a certain generality intrinsic to a thought; of lack of that generality in that which a thought represents as instancing some such generality. (This is referred to below as the ‘conceptual-nonconceptual’ distinction.) Seeing Wittgenstein as thus building on Frege helps clarify (inter alia) his worries, in the Blue Book, and the Investigations, about meaning, intending, and understanding, and the point of the rule following discussion.

Keywords:   Wittgenstein, Frege, privacy, conceptual-nonconceptual, objectivity, agreement

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