Ferdinand De Saussure And Wittgenstein: The Nature Of Language

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In the ontological investigation of language, namely the classification of what makes language what it is. Many philosophers are fascinated by the nature of language. Some philosopher holds a view of essentialism that presupposes there is an identical and continuous universals essence, which can justify all human language. However, the objection to Essentialists’ approach to the study of language is that with such assumption of intrinsic properties of language exists, they have presupposed “language” as a constant real substance. Both Western philosopher Ferdinand de Saussure and Ludwig Wittgenstein have rejected the simplistic notion of the essence in explaining the nature of language, and suggest the similarities between languages are merely one side of the linguistic phenomenon. In this paper, I will first identify and discuss the philosophical positions of Saussure and Wittgenstein on the linguistic theory. Secondly, by articulating the ontology of linguistics that is embedded in their view of language, I will evaluate these two linguists theories in a pragmatic manner and conclude that Anti-essentialism provides better sufficient evidence for uncovering the nature of language. In Ferdinand de Saussure’s most influential work, Course in General…show more content…
Ludwig Wittgenstein appears to agree with Saussure’s view that there are no intrinsic properties of language. However, unlike Saussure’s structure orientated language system, Wittgenstein argues that language we cannot define language at all. According to the Philosophical Investigations(1953) where Wittgenstein carried out reflections on the study of language and critique of language, he emphasizes that language is a purpose-oriented and complex social activity. He then uses games as a metaphor to explain the role of our language in our everyday life. He claims language is like a tool that we use to play different games, and the meaning of words lies in the way it’s used in a particular language
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