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Explain Wittgenstein(TM)s attack on the notion of a logically private language

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Explain Wittgenstein's attack on the notion of a logically private language Wittgenstein outlines two problems for the existence of other minds and the impossibility of a logically private language. Wittgenstein's major attack is on the Cartesian idea that meanings of words and mental states have the capability of being logically private. If he succeeded in doing so, he completely irradiates any presupposition raised by Cartesians. Descartes believed in solipsism, namely one can never be sure of the existence of others. One merely forms a conception of one's own mental state. The Cartesian further argues for the view that I and my mental state exist, and exist only (''I think, therefore I am''); the person is merely using their own logically private language to formulate such sceptical doubt. Yet Wittgenstein attacks this. He states that it is illogical to claim that one can talk about the mind, solely from a private first person perspective. Thus, the person is unable to acquire and use general terms and concepts that are used to classify and describe the mind. In other words, one cannot talk about one's own mind. ...read more.


Hence, I end up creating a language through ostensive definition that only I can understand, but consequently others cannot. Wittgenstein attacks this idea. He states illustrates an idea where someone is supposed to give ostensive definition of a certain word. In this case, I shall use the word 'runciple'. If I asked me to show them what 'runciple' meant, and I pointed at a table, surely that can be interpreted in many ways, i.e. hard, wooden, solid, 'runciple' etc. Of course, someone is bound to ask which one you mean, but in order to understand the answer or ask the question in the first place, one must fundamentally have an acquired language. Wittgenstein does not want to make the assumption that the person must have an established language. He forth and foremost wants to find the foundations to the concept, how a person knows that purple means the colour of an object and not a shape of an object. It further seems difficult to understand how ostensive definition works. Ultimately, the fundamental question Wittgenstein attempts to raise at this point is how the meaning of the word 'purple' or 'red' or 'round' or 'tall' are established. ...read more.


When I have to say that term or word again, I go to the dictionary and find the place where the term is allocated and find the meaning. Wittgenstein points that out that whatever the term/word stands for, has to be remembered correctly, otherwise the term/word will be used wrongly. However, Wittgenstein points out that such distinction requires one to branch out the private world of the mind. Whatever I think to be right, would be right and I would have to remember correctly the allocation of the term/word i.e. pain or the sensation I would be feeling at the time, cold consequently be wrong. However, according to the Cartesian, all ostensive definition takes place in the mind. Yet, if this is so I would not be able to check whether the word I am using to describe a certain sensation is right; as I am restricted to the private world of my mind. Hence, without the possibility of doing such a thing, defining a word by private ostensive definition fails. Further, the Cartesian methods of doubt cannot even begin. For the question to even formulate a language must be formed in the existence of a public social context that Descartes cannot reach. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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