chapter  2
15 Pages

What does the private language argument prove?

I What is the conclusion of the ‘private language’ argument? What, in particular, are we to conclude about the sign ‘S’ that Wittgenstein introduces in PI 258 of the Investigations? A conclusion drawn by him at the end of the section is: ‘Here we can’t talk about ‘‘right’’’. But many commentators have found a stronger conclusion in, or implied by, Wittgenstein’s remarks: that the person who uses this sign is ‘not saying anything’; that such a use is ‘empty’, ‘meaningless’ or ‘impossible’; that there is ‘no ground whatever’ for regarding ‘S’ as a sign for a sensation; or that the whole example is unintelligible.1