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The Standard Meter by Any Name is Still a Meter Long

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather J. Gert, Associate Professor (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: In §50 of Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein wrote the sentence, "There is one thing of which one can say neither that it is one metre long, nor that it is not one metre long, and that is the standard metre in Paris." Although some interpreters have claimed that Wittgenstein’s statement is mistaken, while others have proposed various explanations showing that this must be correct, none have questioned the fact that he intended to assert that it is impossible to describe the standard meter as being a meter long- Given that Wittgenstein introduces this sentence as analogous to the claim that "existence cannot be attributed to an element," and that the preceding passages discuss a language- game the simples of which can be described by their own names, there is good reason to think that Wittgenstein did not intend to assert this infamous sentence.

Additional Information

Publication
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. LXV, no. 1, July, 2002, pp. 50-68
Language: English
Date: 2002
Keywords
Wittgenstein, language, Epistemology