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Philosophy (Optional) Notes & Mind Maps

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  1. 1. Plato and Aristotle: Ideas; Substance; Form and Matter; Causation; Actuality and Potentiality

    1.1 Plato's Philosophy of Ideas
  2. 1.2 Plato's Understanding of Substance
  3. 1.3 Aristotle's Philosophy of Form and Matter
  4. 1.4 Aristotle's Theory of Substance
  5. 1.5 Plato's View on Causation
  6. 1.6 Aristotle's Four Causes
  7. 1.7 Actuality and Potentiality in Aristotle's Philosophy
  8. 1.8 Comparative Analysis of Plato and Aristotle's Philosophies
  9. 2. The Foundations of Rationalism: Method, Substance, God, and Mind-Body Dualism
    2.1 Rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz)
  10. 2.2 Cartesian Method and Certain Knowledge
  11. 2.3 Substance (Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz)
  12. 2.4 Philosophy of God (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz)
  13. 2.5 Mind-Body Dualism
  14. 2.6 Determinism and Freedom (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz)
  15. 3. Empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume)
    3.1 Introduction to Empiricism
  16. 3.2 Theory of Knowledge (Locke, Berkeley, Hume)
    3 Submodules
  17. 3.3 Substance and Qualities (Locke, Berkeley, Hume)
  18. 3.4 Self and God (Locke, Berkeley, Hume)
  19. 3.5 Scepticism (Locke, Berkeley, and Hume)
  20. 4. Kant
    4.1 Introduction to Kant's Philosophy
  21. 4.2 Kant: The Possibility of Synthetic a priori Judgments
  22. 4.3 Kant's Space and Time
  23. 4.4 Kant's Categories
  24. 4.5 Kant's Ideas of Reason
  25. 4.6 Kant's Antinomies
  26. 4.7 Kant's Critique of Proofs for the Existence of God
  27. 5. Hegel
    5.1 Hegel: Dialectical Method; Absolute Idealism
  28. 6. Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein
    6.1 Defence of Commonsense (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)
  29. 6.2 Refutation of Idealism (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)
  30. 6.3 Logical Atomism (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)
  31. 6.4 Logical Constructions (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)
  32. 6.5 Incomplete Symbols (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)
  33. 6.6 Picture Theory of Meaning (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)
  34. 6.7 Saying and Showing (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)
  35. 7. Logical Positivism
    7.1 Verification Theory of Meaning
  36. 7.2 Rejection of Metaphysics
  37. 7.3 Linguistic Theory of Necessary Propositions
  38. 8. Later Wittgenstein
    8.1 Meaning and Use (Later Wittgenstein)
  39. 8.2 Language-games (Later Wittgenstein)
  40. 8.3 Critique of Private Language (Later Wittgenstein)
  41. 9. Phenomenology (Husserl)
    9.1 Method - Phenomenology (Husserl)
  42. 9.2 Theory of Essences - Phenomenology (Husserl)
  43. 9.3 Avoidance of Psychologism - Phenomenology (Husserl)
  44. 10. Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger)
    10.1 Existence and Essence
  45. 10.2 Choice, Responsibility and Authentic Existence
  46. 10.3 Being–in–the–world and Temporality
  47. 11. Quine and Strawson
    11.1 Critique of Empiricism (Quine and Strawson)
  48. 11.2 Theory of Basic Particulars and Persons (Quine and Strawson)
  49. 12. Cârvâka
    12.1 Cârvâka: Theory of Knowledge
  50. 12.2 Cârvâka: Rejection of Transcendent Entities
  51. 13. Jainism
    13.1 Jainism: Theory of Reality
  52. 13.2 Jainism: Saptabhaòginaya
  53. 14. Schools of Buddhism
    14.1 Pratîtyasamutpâda (Schools of Buddhism)
  54. 14.2 Ksanikavada (Schools of Buddhism)
  55. 14.3 Nairâtmyavâda (Schools of Buddhism)
  56. 15. Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika
    15.1 Theory of Categories (Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika)
  57. 15.2 Theory of Appearance (Nyâya-Vaiśeṣika)
  58. 15.3 Theory of Pramâna (Nyâya-Vaiśeṣika)
  59. 15.4 Self, Liberation, God, Proofs for the Existence of God (Nyâya-Vaiśeṣika)
  60. 15.5 Theory of Causation & Atomistic Theory of Creation (Nyâya-Vaiśeṣika)
  61. 16. Sâmkhya
    16.1 Prakrti (Sâmkhya)
  62. 16.2 Purusa (Sâmkhya)
  63. 16.3 Causation (Sâmkhya)
  64. 16.4 Liberation (Sâmkhya)
  65. 17. Yoga
    17.1 Introduction to Yoga Philosophy
  66. 17.2 Citta (Yoga)
  67. 17.3 Cittavrtti (Yoga)
  68. 17.4 Klesas (Yoga)
  69. 17.5 Samadhi (Yoga)
  70. 17.6 Kaivalya (Yoga)
  71. 18. Mimâmsâ
    18.1 Mimâmsâ: Theory of Knowledge
  72. 19. Schools of Vedânta
    19.1 Brahman (Schools of Vedânta)
  73. 19.2 Îúvara (Schools of Vedânta)
  74. 19.3 Âtman (Schools of Vedânta)
  75. 19.4 Jiva (Schools of Vedânta)
  76. 19.5 Jagat (Schools of Vedânta)
  77. 19.6 Mâyâ (Schools of Vedânta)
  78. 19.7 Avidyâ (Schools of Vedanta)
  79. 19.8 Adhyâsa (Schools of Vedanta)
  80. 19.9 Moksa (Schools of Vedanta)
  81. 19.10 Aprthaksiddhi (Schools of Vedanta)
  82. 19.11 Pancavidhabheda (Schools of Vedanta)
  83. 20.1 Aurobindo: Evolution
  84. 20.2 Aurobindo: Involution
  85. 20.3 Aurobindo: Integral Yoga
  86. 21. Socio-Political Ideals
    21.1 Equality (Social and Political Ideals)
  87. 21.2 Justice (Social and Political Ideals)
  88. 21.3 Liberty (Social and Political Ideals)
  89. 22. Sovereignty
    22. Sovereignty: Austin, Bodin, Laski, Kautilya
  90. 23. Individual and State
    23.1 Rights (Individual and State)
  91. 23.2 Duties (Individual and State)
  92. 23.3 Accountability (Individual and State)
  93. 24. Forms of Government
    24.1 Monarchy (Forms of Government)
  94. 24.2 Theocracy (Forms of Government)
  95. 24.3 Democracy (Forms of Government)
  96. 25. Political Ideologies
    25.1 Anarchism (Political Ideologies)
  97. 25.2 Marxism (Political Ideologies)
  98. 25.3 Socialism (Political Ideologies)
  99. 26. Humanism; Secularism; Multiculturalism
    26.1 Humanism
  100. 26.2 Secularism
  101. 26.3 Multiculturalism
  102. 27. Crime and Punishment
    27.1 Corruption
  103. 27.2 Mass Violence
  104. 27.3 Genocide
  105. 27.4 Capital Punishment
  106. 28. Development and Social Progress
    28. Development and Social Progress
  107. 29. Gender Discrimination
    29.1 Female Foeticide
  108. 29.2 Land, and Property Rights
  109. 29.3 Empowerment
  110. 30. Caste Discrimination
    30.1 Gandhi (Caste Discrimination)
  111. 30.2 Ambedkar (Caste Discrimination)
  112. Philosophy of Religion
    31. Notions of God: Attributes; Relation to Man and the World (Indian and Western)
  113. 32. Proofs for the Existence of God and their Critique (Indian and Western)
  114. 33. The problem of Evil
  115. 34. Soul: Immortality; Rebirth and Liberation
  116. 35. Reason, Revelation, and Faith
  117. 36. Religious Experience: Nature and Object (Indian and Western)
  118. 37. Religion without God
  119. 38. Religion and Morality
  120. 39. Religious Pluralism and the Problem of Absolute Truth
  121. 40. Nature of Religious Language: Analogical and Symbolic
  122. 41. Nature of Religious Language: Cognitivist and Noncognitive
Module 33 of 122
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6.6 Picture Theory of Meaning (Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein)

I. Introduction

  • The Picture Theory of Meaning is a philosophical concept that emerged in the early 20th century as part of the development of analytic philosophy.
  • This theory is primarily associated with the work of G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • The Picture Theory of Meaning posits that language represents the world by mirroring its structure, with sentences or propositions functioning as “pictures” of states of affairs in the world.
  • This theory is grounded in the belief that there is a close relationship between the logical structure of language and the structure of reality.
  • The Picture Theory of Meaning has its roots in the realist tradition, which emphasizes the existence of an external world independent of our perceptions and thoughts.
  • The development of this theory was influenced by the work of G.E. Moore, who focused on the analysis of propositions and the critique of idealism.
  • Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein further developed the Picture Theory of Meaning, with Russell’s work on logical atomism and the theory of descriptions, and Wittgenstein’s early work on the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
  • The Picture Theory of Meaning has been subject to various criticisms and has evolved over time, but it remains an influential concept in the philosophy of language and the study of meaning.
  • This module will explore the contributions of G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein to the development of the Picture Theory of Meaning, as well as the criticisms and legacy of this theory.

II. G.E. Moore’s Contributions to the Picture Theory of Meaning

1. Moore’s Realism

  • G.E. Moore was a British philosopher who played a significant role in the development of analytic philosophy.
  • Moore’s realism refers to his belief in the existence of an external world independent of our perceptions and thoughts.
  • He argued against idealism, which posits that reality is fundamentally mental or spiritual in nature.
  • Moore’s realism was grounded in his commitment to common sense and the belief that ordinary language can accurately describe the world.

2. Moore’s Analysis of Propositions

  • Moore’s work on the analysis of propositions aimed to clarify the structure and meaning of statements.
  • He believed that propositions are composed of concepts that correspond to objects or properties in the world.
  • Moore’s analysis of propositions emphasized the importance of logical form in determining meaning.
  • He argued that the meaning of a proposition is determined by the way its constituent concepts are combined, rather than by the individual concepts themselves.
  • This approach to the analysis of propositions laid the groundwork for the development of the picture theory of meaning.

3. Moore’s Critique of Idealism

  • Moore’s critique of idealism focused on the idea that reality is fundamentally mental or spiritual in nature.
  • He argued that idealism is based on a confusion between the act of perceiving and the object perceived.
  • Moore maintained that the existence of an external world is a basic assumption of common sense and that idealism fails to provide a satisfactory account of our experience.
  • His critique of idealism helped to establish the realist tradition in analytic philosophy and influenced the work of both Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

4. Moore’s Influence on Russell and Wittgenstein

  • Moore’s work had a significant impact on the development of the philosophies of both Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • Russell was influenced by Moore’s realism and his analysis of propositions, which informed Russell’s own work on logical atomism and the theory of descriptions.
  • Wittgenstein was also influenced by Moore’s ideas, particularly in his early work on the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
  • In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein developed the picture theory of meaning, which built upon Moore’s analysis of propositions and sought to explain how language can represent the world.
  • Both Russell and Wittgenstein acknowledged the importance of Moore’s work in shaping their own philosophical views.

III. Bertrand Russell’s Contributions to the Picture Theory of Meaning

1. Russell’s Logical Atomism

  • Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher and mathematician who made significant contributions to the development of analytic philosophy.
  • Russell’s Logical Atomism is a philosophical view that posits that the world consists of simple, indivisible elements called logical atoms.
  • These logical atoms are the basic building blocks of reality and can be combined to form complex structures, such as objects and properties.
  • Russell believed that language can represent the world by mirroring its structure, with sentences or propositions functioning as “pictures” of states of affairs in the world.
  • Logical Atomism provided a foundation for the development of the Picture Theory of Meaning by emphasizing the close relationship between the logical structure of language and the structure of reality.

2. Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

  • Russell’s Theory of Descriptions is a philosophical view that seeks to explain how language can represent objects and properties in the world.
  • According to this theory, a description is a linguistic expression that picks out a particular object or property by specifying its unique characteristics.
  • Russell argued that descriptions are not names for objects or properties, but rather complex logical constructions that can be analyzed in terms of simpler elements.
  • The Theory of Descriptions provided further support for the Picture Theory of Meaning by demonstrating how language can represent the world through the use of complex logical constructions.

3. Russell’s Logical Constructions

  • Logical Constructions are a method used by Russell to analyze complex linguistic expressions in terms of simpler elements.
  • This method involves breaking down complex expressions into their constituent parts and then reconstructing them using logical operations and relations.
  • Russell’s Logical Constructions aimed to provide a rigorous and systematic way of analyzing language and its relationship to the world.
  • This approach to language analysis contributed to the development of the Picture Theory of Meaning by emphasizing the importance of logical form in determining meaning.

4. Russell’s Critique of Idealism

  • Russell’s critique of Idealism focused on the idea that reality is fundamentally mental or spiritual in nature.
  • He argued that idealism is based on a confusion between the act of perceiving and the object perceived.
  • Russell maintained that the existence of an external world is a basic assumption of common sense and that idealism fails to provide a satisfactory account of our experience.
  • His critique of idealism helped to establish the realist tradition in analytic philosophy and influenced the development of the Picture Theory of Meaning.

5. Russell’s Influence on Wittgenstein

  • Russell’s work had a significant impact on the development of the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • Wittgenstein was influenced by Russell’s Logical Atomism and Theory of Descriptions, which informed his own work on the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
  • In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein developed the Picture Theory of Meaning, which built upon Russell’s ideas and sought to explain how language can represent the world.
  • Wittgenstein acknowledged the importance of Russell’s work in shaping his own philosophical views and the development of the Picture Theory of Meaning.

IV. Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Early Philosophy and the Picture Theory of Meaning

1. Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher who made significant contributions to the philosophy of language, logic, and metaphysics.
  • Wittgenstein’s early philosophy is primarily represented in his work Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which was first published in 1921.
  • The Tractatus is a highly systematic and concise work that aims to provide a comprehensive account of the relationship between language, thought, and reality.
  • Wittgenstein’s early philosophy is characterized by a focus on the logical structure of language and its ability to represent the world.

2. The Picture Theory of Meaning in the Tractatus

  • In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein developed the Picture Theory of Meaning, which posits that language represents the world by mirroring its structure.
  • According to this theory, sentences or propositions function as “pictures” of states of affairs in the world, with their constituent elements corresponding to objects or properties.
  • Wittgenstein argued that the meaning of a proposition is determined by its logical form, which reflects the structure of the state of affairs it represents.
  • The Picture Theory of Meaning in the Tractatus is closely related to Russell’s Logical Atomism and builds upon the ideas of both Moore and Russell.

3. Wittgenstein’s Logical Atomism

  • Wittgenstein’s early philosophy also includes a version of Logical Atomism, which posits that the world consists of simple, indivisible elements called logical atoms.
  • These logical atoms are the basic building blocks of reality and can be combined to form complex structures, such as objects and properties.
  • Wittgenstein’s Logical Atomism is similar to Russell’s, but it places a greater emphasis on the role of logical form in determining meaning and the relationship between language and the world.

4. Wittgenstein’s Critique of Russell’s Logical Constructions

  • Wittgenstein’s early philosophy includes a critique of Russell’s Logical Constructions, which aimed to analyze complex linguistic expressions in terms of simpler elements.
  • Wittgenstein argued that Russell’s approach to language analysis was overly complicated and that a more direct and intuitive understanding of language was possible.
  • This critique of Russell’s Logical Constructions led Wittgenstein to develop his own approach to language analysis, which emphasized the importance of logical form and the direct representation of the world by language.

5. Wittgenstein’s Incomplete Symbols

  • In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein introduced the concept of Incomplete Symbols, which are linguistic expressions that do not have a complete meaning on their own but acquire meaning when combined with other expressions.
  • Incomplete Symbols are used to represent complex states of affairs in the world and play a crucial role in Wittgenstein’s Picture Theory of Meaning.
  • Wittgenstein’s concept of Incomplete Symbols is related to Russell’s Theory of Descriptions, but it represents a distinct approach to the analysis of language and its relationship to the world.

V. Comparing and Contrasting the Picture Theory of Meaning in Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein

1. Common Ground: Realism, Propositions, and Logical Atomism

  • All three philosophers, Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein, shared a commitment to realism, the belief in the existence of an external world independent of our perceptions and thoughts.
  • They also agreed on the importance of propositions as the primary units of meaning in language, with each proposition representing a state of affairs in the world.
  • Additionally, both Russell and Wittgenstein developed versions of Logical Atomism, which posits that the world consists of simple, indivisible elements called logical atoms that can be combined to form complex structures.

2. Divergences: Descriptions, Constructions, and Incomplete Symbols

MooreRussellWittgenstein
Focused on the analysis of propositions and the critique of idealismDeveloped the Theory of Descriptions and Logical ConstructionsIntroduced the concept of Incomplete Symbols
Emphasized the importance of logical form in determining meaningAimed to analyze complex linguistic expressions in terms of simpler elementsCritiqued Russell’s Logical Constructions and developed his own approach to language analysis

3. The Influence of Moore and Russell on Wittgenstein’s Early Philosophy

  • Wittgenstein was heavily influenced by the work of both Moore and Russell in the development of his early philosophy and the Picture Theory of Meaning.
  • Moore’s focus on the analysis of propositions and the critique of idealism provided a foundation for Wittgenstein’s work on the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
  • Russell’s Logical Atomism and Theory of Descriptions also informed Wittgenstein’s early philosophy, particularly in the development of his own version of Logical Atomism and the concept of Incomplete Symbols.
  • Wittgenstein acknowledged the importance of both Moore and Russell’s work in shaping his own philosophical views and the development of the Picture Theory of Meaning.

VI. Criticisms of the Picture Theory of Meaning

1. The Limits of Logical Atomism

  • One of the main criticisms of the Picture Theory of Meaning is its reliance on Logical Atomism, which posits that the world consists of simple, indivisible elements called logical atoms.
  • Critics argue that Logical Atomism oversimplifies the complexity of the world and fails to account for the diverse range of phenomena that language can represent.
  • Additionally, Logical Atomism has been criticized for its assumption that the logical structure of language directly mirrors the structure of reality, which some philosophers argue is an overly restrictive view of the relationship between language and the world.

2. The Problem of Incomplete Symbols

  • Another criticism of the Picture Theory of Meaning is the issue of Incomplete Symbols, which are linguistic expressions that do not have a complete meaning on their own but acquire meaning when combined with other expressions.
  • Critics argue that the concept of Incomplete Symbols is problematic because it suggests that meaning is inherently unstable and dependent on context, which undermines the idea that language can provide a clear and direct representation of the world.
  • Furthermore, the problem of Incomplete Symbols raises questions about the limits of language and its ability to accurately represent complex states of affairs in the world.

3. The Inadequacy of the Picture Theory for Complex Language Use

  • The Picture Theory of Meaning has also been criticized for its inability to account for the full range of linguistic phenomena and the diverse ways in which language is used in everyday life.
  • Critics argue that the Picture Theory is too focused on the logical structure of language and fails to consider the role of context, pragmatics, and other factors that influence meaning.
  • Additionally, the Picture Theory has been criticized for its emphasis on the representational function of language, which some philosophers argue is only one aspect of language use and does not fully capture the richness and complexity of human communication.

4. The Transition from Early to Later Wittgenstein

  • The criticisms of the Picture Theory of Meaning played a significant role in the transition from Early Wittgenstein to Later Wittgenstein.
  • In his later work, particularly in the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein moved away from the Picture Theory of Meaning and developed a new approach to language and meaning, known as the Language-Game Theory.
  • The Language-Game Theory emphasizes the social and pragmatic aspects of language use and argues that meaning is determined by the way language is used in specific contexts and practices.
  • Wittgenstein’s shift from the Picture Theory of Meaning to the Language-Game Theory reflects a broader trend in the philosophy of language, which has increasingly focused on the diverse and complex ways in which language is used to communicate and represent the world.

VII. The Legacy of the Picture Theory of Meaning

1. The Impact on Analytic Philosophy

  • The Picture Theory of Meaning has had a significant impact on the development of analytic philosophy, a philosophical tradition that emphasizes clarity, precision, and logical rigor in the analysis of language and meaning.
  • The work of G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein on the Picture Theory of Meaning laid the groundwork for many subsequent developments in analytic philosophy, including the study of logic, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind.
  • The Picture Theory of Meaning also contributed to the establishment of realism as a dominant position in analytic philosophy, with its emphasis on the existence of an external world independent of our perceptions and thoughts.

2. The Influence on Logical Positivism and the Vienna Circle

  • The Picture Theory of Meaning was a major influence on the development of Logical Positivism, a philosophical movement that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, primarily associated with the Vienna Circle.
  • Logical Positivism sought to apply the methods of logic and empirical science to the analysis of philosophical problems, with a focus on the verification of meaningful statements.
  • The Picture Theory of Meaning provided a foundation for Logical Positivism’s emphasis on the close relationship between the logical structure of language and the structure of reality.
  • The Vienna Circle, which included philosophers such as Rudolf Carnap, Moritz Schlick, and Otto Neurath, built upon the ideas of Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein to develop their own theories of meaning, verification, and the role of language in philosophy.

3. The Picture Theory in Contemporary Philosophy of Language

  • Although the Picture Theory of Meaning has been subject to various criticisms and has evolved over time, it continues to be an influential concept in the contemporary philosophy of language.
  • The Picture Theory has inspired ongoing research into the relationship between language, thought, and reality, as well as the nature of meaning and reference.
  • Some contemporary philosophers, such as Michael Dummett and Donald Davidson, have developed their own theories of meaning that build upon or respond to the ideas of Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein.
  • The legacy of the Picture Theory of Meaning can be seen in the continued interest in the study of language and its ability to represent the world, as well as the ongoing debates about the nature of meaning and the role of language in philosophy.

VIII. Conclusion

In conclusion, the Picture Theory of Meaning, developed by Moore, Russell, and early Wittgenstein, has significantly impacted the fields of analytic philosophy and the philosophy of language. Despite its limitations and criticisms, the theory continues to inspire contemporary research and debates on the nature of meaning and the relationship between language, thought, and reality. As the study of language and meaning evolves, the legacy of the Picture Theory of Meaning will undoubtedly continue to shape future philosophical inquiries.

  1. How does G.E. Moore’s critique of idealism contribute to the development of the Picture Theory of Meaning? (250 words)
  2. Compare and contrast Russell’s Logical Atomism and Wittgenstein’s version of Logical Atomism in the context of the Picture Theory of Meaning. (250 words)
  3. Analyze the role of Incomplete Symbols in Wittgenstein’s early philosophy and its implications for the Picture Theory of Meaning. (250 words)
  4. Discuss the limitations of the Picture Theory of Meaning in the context of complex language use and the transition from Early to Later Wittgenstein. (250 words)
  5. Evaluate the influence of the Picture Theory of Meaning on Logical Positivism and the Vienna Circle, and its relevance in contemporary philosophy of language. (250 words)

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