Heeding Grammar and Language-games: Continuing Conversations with Wittgenstein and Roth
Keywords:Roth, Wittgenstein, language-games, understanding, meaning, learning, science education
This paper continues a conversation about Wittgenstein’s picture of language and meaning and its potential applications for educational theorising. It takes the form of a response to Wolff-Michael Roth’s earlier paper “Heeding Wittgenstein on “understanding” and “meaning”: A pragmatist and concrete human psychological approach in/for education,” in which Roth problematizes the use of the terms “understanding” and “meaning” in education discourse and proposes their abandonment. Whilst we agree with Roth about a series of central points, at the same time we maintain that he has taken his argument in directions antithetical to our reading of Wittgenstein’s work. We offer four points of departure, exploring themes of: (i) appropriate questioning; (ii) eliminativism; (iii) language-games and grammar; and (iv) productivity, explanation, and a science of learning. We conclude by discussing ways consistent with Wittgenstein’s thought to go on in thinking about education.
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