Philosophical Topics

Volume 42, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Contemporary Tractatus

Oskari Kuusela
Pages 129-160

The Method of Language-Games as a Method of Logic

This paper develops an account of Wittgenstein’s method of language-games as a method of logic that exhibits important continuities with Russell’s and the early Wittgenstein’s conceptions of logic and logical analysis as the method of philosophy. On the proposed interpretation, the method of language-games is a method for isolating and modeling aspects of the uses of linguistic expressions embedded in human activities that enables one to make perspicuous complex uses of expressions by gradually building up the complexity of clarificatory models. Wittgenstein’s introduction of the language-game method constitutes an attempt to overcome certain limitations of calculus-based logical methods, and to respond in this way to problems with Russell’s and his own early philosophy of logic. The method is nevertheless compatible with the employment of calculus-based methods in logic and philosophy, and makes no exclusive claim to being the correct method.