Comments on Roger Teichmann’s Article (2016) The Identity of a Word
This 3100 word essay comments on an article appearing in the winter 2016 issue of The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (Volume 90). The article is titled, The Identity of a Word. The author of the article is Roger Teichmann, a professor at St. Hilda’s College, University of Oxford in Oxford, United Kingdom. More
Philosopher Roger Teichmann comments on an essay that appears in a recent compilation by philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe. Ancombe’s essay is entitled, “A Theory of Meaning?” It concerns Wittgenstein.
Wittgenstein is a philosopher who writes in aphorisms. One goes like this: “A sound is an expression only in a particular language game.”
Anscombe wonders whether this aphorism would support a micro-reductionist theory of language. Teichmann agrees that the answer is no.
In the process, however, Teichmann addresses key issues in figuring out the identity of a word. These issues serve as starting points for the construction of nested forms. Ultimately, three nested forms resonate. One goes with Saussure and Wittgenstein. One goes with Mary Douglas, who wrote How Institutions Think. One goes with the question formulated by Teichmann: What is the identity of a word?
Teichmann’s conclusion is that, if there is a theory that arises from Wittgenstein’s aphorism, it would not be a micro-reductionist theory of language. It might be a foundational theory of meaning. The nested forms show how Teichmann’s intuition is on target.
Available ebook formats: