‘Wittgenstein: Language and Society’

The Council Chamber, Main Arts Building, Bangor University
Wednesday 13 February 2019, 13:00–14:00
School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences
Dr Marcel Stoetzler

‘Wittgenstein: Language and Society’

David Ellis (Bangor University)

This paper proposes that if we consider society as if a Wittgensteinian language-game, we find in Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Language a novel and thought-provoking account for the origin, development and maintenance of society. To demonstrate this, this paper will firstly consider how Wittgenstein's comment that ‘the form a language takes reflects the form of the life of the speaker’, can be read as a comment on the origin of society being rooted at the individual level; secondly, that ‘the limits to my language mean the limits to my world’ can be read as a comment on how social concepts alter our perception of the world; and finally, how ‘if a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand him’ can be read as a comment on the difficulties facing, and originating from, multiculturalism.

David recommends watching this clip in preparation.

David Ellis is a PhD Student at Bangor University's Philosophy and Religion Department, where he studies the role which language plays in measuring, understanding and communicating values, whether moral, spiritual or emotional.