Philosophy and Language - a historical sketch

Overview:

The last 150 years has seen turmoil in the attitude of philosophers towards language. This crude survey provides a backdrop for the attitude towards language adopted in Factasia.
Mathematical Logic
As a part of the rigourisation of mathematics which took place in the 19th Century a revolution in logic began with Frege's work on the logical foundations of mathematics.
Logical Atomism
Stimulated by the ideas of his student Wittgenstein, Russell attempts to re-cast philosophy in the light cast by the advances in logic. Wittgenstein's version appears as The Tractatus.
Logical Positivism
The Vienna circle, under the influence of Russell and Wittgenstein, preach the merits of formal logic for science, and reject metaphysics as meaningless using the verificationist theory of meaning.
Common Usage
Wittgenstein's reaction against formal logic as a model for language creates the cult of common usage.
Observations
After a major period of philosophical preoccupation with language confusions about language remain the primary source of error in philosophy.
Choices
The neglected discretion of all language users in their use of language is brought to bear as a creative tool for slashing through the jungle of philosophical obfuscation.

Mathematical Logic:

As a part of the rigourisation of mathematics which took place in the 19th Century a revolution in logic began with Frege's work on the logical foundations of mathematics.
Background
see: A Short History of Rigour in Mathematics and The Formalisation of Mathematics.

Logical Atomism:

Stimulated by the ideas of his student Wittgenstein, Russell attempts to re-cast philosophy in the light cast by the advances in logic. Wittgenstein's version appears as The Tractatus.

Logical Positivism:

The Vienna circle, under the influence of Russell and Wittgenstein, preach the merits of formal logic for science, and reject metaphysics as meaningless using the verificationist theory of meaning.

Common Usage:

Wittgenstein's reaction against formal logic as a model for language creates the cult of common usage.

Observations:

After a major period of philosophical preoccupation with language confusions about language remain the primary source of error in philosophy.

Choices:

The neglected discretion of all language users in their use of language is brought to bear as a creative tool for slashing through the jungle of philosophical obfuscation.


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