Wittgenstein and Biolinguistics: Building upon the Second Picture Theory


  • John Bolender


Circa 1930, Wittgenstein began to develop a theory of semantics in terms of distinct representational systems (calculi) each constructed from measure-ment scales. Impressed by the heterogeneity of measurement scaling, he eventually abandoned the effort. However, such a project can be continued in the light of later developments in measurement theory. Any remaining heterogeneity can be accounted for, plausibly enough, in terms of the facultative nature of the mind/brain. Developing such a theory is potentially a contribution to biolinguistics. The symmetries and asymmetries of the measurement scales suggest self-organization in brain activity, further suggesting a connection between such a neo-Wittgensteinian approach to the thought systems and minimalist approaches to syntax.

Author Biography

John Bolender, Pontifical Catholic University Porto Alegre
Department of Philosophy Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow