Privacy, Individuation, and Recognition
Ming-Yang (Michael)
Source: Sorites 13, October 2001: 90-98
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

In this paper I examine Wittgenstein’s private language argument and Ayer’s counter argument.

  1. I argue that the language-game approach is of transcendental character in the sense that it concerns the logical structure of human activity, which underlies concrete linguistic practices as well as operations of consciousness. Failure in recognizing this results in much confusion.
  2. I demonstrate that the key issue concerning private language is not the problem of correctness of identification as commonly believed, but the social nature of individuation1.
  3. I conclude that there is no such primary recognition as Ayer assumed, and sensation can only be recognized through the network of human action.
If one believes that sensation (assisted by memory) can be the sole basis upon which language and knowledge are maintained, then certain preference on privacy seems inevitable, and then skepticism as well seems unavoidable.

Filed electronically with the full edition of Sorites 13

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