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Unformatted text preview: /event (a football match), etc. What counts as an admissible form of words in an ostensive definition? E.g. “This is …”, “this is called …”, “this colour is …”, “‘read’ means this colour” etc.
7 “And what does “pointing to the shape”, pointing to the colour” consist in? Point to a piece of paper.—And now point to its shape—now its colour—now its number (that sound queer)—How did you do it?” (PI: # 33) 8 The Normativity of Ostensive Definitions
Ostensive definitions are normative. As such they ought to be understood as rules. Hence because of their normativity, they do not differ from lexical definitions. E.g. “This is a frog” and “Bachelor are unmarried men”, guide our linguistic behaviour by providing standards of correctness for applying the expressions whose meaning they explain. 9 Ostensive definitions are like rules
As such, they:
(i) are not descriptive,
(ii) they can be misinterpreted, (iii) they cannot be viewed, pace the Augustinian picture, as giving a connection between language and reality.
10 These features of ostensive definitions go hand in hand with Wittgenstein’s idea that meaning is use. For, if an ostensive definition is a rule, it “tells us” how to proceed, i.e. how to use a given world. 11 Ostensive definitions are s...
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- Winter '08