Analytic Philosophy

Ordinary Language Philosophy

What is the method behind ordinary language philosophy?

The correct philosophical approach in ordinary language philosophy is not to construct abstract systems of meanings but to “look and see” how words actually function in real life. Such investigation is a kind of philosophical therapy against an occupational tendency to create abstractions and strictly imposed generalizations. Philosophers should turn to language so as to “let the fly out of the bottle.”

This was Wittgenstein’s metaphor and philosophers still use it when they want to describe solving a problem by changing the framework in which the problem is posed. For example, in “letting the fly out of the bottle,” one doesn’t try to influence the fly directly, but instead changes the angle at which the bottle is held.


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