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Linguistic Turns, 1890-1950Writing on Language as Social Theory$
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Ken Hirschkop

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198745778

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198745778.001.0001

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The Ship of Logic on the High Seas of Discourse

The Ship of Logic on the High Seas of Discourse

(Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, a little Gilbert Ryle)

(p.53) 3 The Ship of Logic on the High Seas of Discourse
Linguistic Turns, 1890-1950

Ken Hirschkop

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 looks at the linguistic turn in analytic philosophy as it emerges from Gottlob Frege, gains momentum in Bertrand Russell, and finds elaboration in the early and middle work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. The characteristic move of linguistic philosophy will be the clarification of presumably ‘muddled’ ordinary statements: the bringing to the surface a lucidity that is lurking within language, needing only to be coaxed out. The author shows how in the works of Frege, Russell, and early Wittgenstein, the drive to clarity entails a stripping away of every intersubjective, rhetorical element in discourse. He then argues that a language clarified by professional philosophers is a substitute for the objectivity of the public sphere. The chapter concludes by showing how intersubjectivity returns first as irony in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and then as the belief that language always ‘works’: that it fails only when external circumstances disturb its inner workings.

Keywords:   Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Pearson, analytic philosophy, clarity, intersubjectivity, language, irony, modernism

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