Philosophy of Language Analytic

By: M. Febriyanto


The Analytic Philosophy of Language is “a special method to clarify, take away, and verify the truth of or within the philosophical utterance” (Kaelan, 1998: 84). To clarify and verify is only possible through language since language has a cognitive function. The scholars divide Analytic Philosophy into: (1) Logical Atomism, (2) Logical positivism or Logical Empiricism and (3) The Common Philosophy of Language.

Language and Philosophy

It is through language that a philosopher fi9nds an expression or a name that refers to a concept such as definition, proposition, hypotheses, axioms, verification, falsification etc. etc. word is a symbol (be it oral or written) for a thing or concept which is called referent as word object. Since communication is using a language to refer to the referent than the symbol must be permanent. Otherwise, communication can result in chaos. When it is not written or put in written form then language will lose its permanent characteristic and leads to the vanishing of the referent.

The Function of Language

1. Cognitive function

Through language human can explain their idea in their mind whether it is true or false so the idea can be accepted or rejected rationally.

2. Emotive function

Through human can explain and express their emotions and feeling which experiences by them such as sadness, happiness, anger, falling in love, etc.

3. Imperative function

Through language human can influence others to obey and do exactly as the instruction. For example, politics; through politics human can control and take charge to fulfill and get what they want.

4.Ceremonial function

As social creature, human should know and respect to their culture so they will know who they are and become part of society.

5.Meta-lingual function

Language has abilities to explain and describe what language is. The language will define the meaning of the word by language and the language will describe an object using object language.

The scholars divide Analytic Philosophy of Language into: (1) Logical Atomism, (2) Logical positivism or Logical Empiricism and (3) The Common Philosophy of Language.

Logical atomism

Logical atomism developed in 20th century. This concept stated that logical become the basis in philosophy. The idea, mind and reality should be explained logically. All the complex ideas, minds and reality have the simple concepts behind that which called atomic ideas. The logical atomism concept will be analyzing the proposition of atomic ideas. Russell stated that reality appears in language explanation is propositions not ideas or minds.

Formulation of logical language is not the same with the formulation of language

structure. In analyzing the proposition Russell find the truth through language based on logical formulation. In explaining philosophy needs cannot use ordinary language because it hard to explain the fact of reality accurately. When explaining philosophy, there is should be a difference between ordinary language and ideal language. Even have the same grammatical, it will have different logical structure.

In order to make sense of scientific, philosophy should used logical analysis. The analysis itself should be based on the truth in universal. Science or knowledge consists of statement to show the reality. The reality is expressed by language, so there should be uniformity form between language and the reality.

The facts in this world express trough propositions where propositions are only the sign. There are simple proposition which called atomic proposition to create complex proposition. For example the use of conjunctions.

Logical Positivism or Logical Empiricism

‘A sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows to verify the proposition which it purports to express that is, if he knows what observation would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject it as being false ( Malkjaer,ed.1991:336)

Wittgenstein states that meaningful proposition is proposition that the real think with logical structure.

Logical Positivism used analytical technique to:

1. eliminate metaphysics

2. clarify scientific language, not scientific fact

Logical positivism analyze the real things, in other word metaphysic is nothing.

Logical positivism clarifies whether statement or proposition is meaningful so that they developed verification or meaningful criterion.

Verification principles :

  • Proposition will have a meaning when it can be verified empirical.
  • The verification is not to know whether proposition is true or not, but whether it has meaning or not.
  • When proposition can’t be verified, it means that this proposition doesn’t have a meaning.

The ordinary language philosophy

Logical Positivists wants to have language that can represent the real world. They concentrated on semantic.

Proposition is a truth function from the elementary propositions. Meaning of proposition is a real fact accordance with an occasion (Kaelan 1998:144).

Critical thinking of Wittgenstein towards philosophy

Confusing philosophy language is caused by the use of philosophy language is not in accordance with language games.

There is a tendency to generalize the meaning based on general characteristic. This called craving for generality.

In philosophy language there are hidden meanings .

Therefore, philosophers are suggested to :

  1. Do therapheutics on confusing philosophy language.
  2. Do some methods of philosophy such as;
    • Use ordinary language philosophy with accordance with language games
    • Restructure what we have known
    • Analytic methods is not used to interpret philosophic nor reality

Discourse 2: Language for Intelligencing

For linguists, Local language or Bahasa daerah (LL or BD), Indonesian Language or Bahasa Indonesia (IL or BI), and Foreign language or Bahasa Asing (FL or BA) are of significant importance to be investigated. Some serious studies to those three languages should dig up all the potential attached to those languages including the function meta culture. Understanding of all language potentials, consequently, is the window opening of local, national and international cultures.

Linguistic study will help us in many ways:

  1. Emergence of self discipline in creating a controlled and well-structured usage of the language
  2. Growing of linguistic awareness that make people easier to learn any language.
  3. Birth of meta linguistic awareness that positively contribute to language teaching especially when it is collaborated or combined with methodological and paedagogical skills in a professional basic.

Linguistic Intelligence

Those functions (communication, relativity, mastery and teaching) describes the linguistic intelligence (Gardner, 1983) who stated:

“ …linguistic competence is, in fact, the intelligence – the intellectual competence – that seems most widely and most democratically shared across the human species (1983, p. 78).

According to Gardner, there are four linguistic aspects which are intelligence potential:

  1. Rhetorical aspect
  2. Mnemonic aspect
  3. Explanatory aspect
  4. Meta linguistic aspect

Autonomy and Local language

  1. Language as cultural potential
  2. Language and Language Politics
  3. Language Revitalization / Language and Institutional Paradigms

Literacy Within industrialization Era

Three changes in the modernization or industrialization era (Griswolrd, 1994):

(1) orientation to achievement, in the work distribution;

(2) individualism leave the kinship behind; and

(3) cosmopolite orientation leave the local and provincial orientation behind.

Consequently the changes should be anticipated since those are in need of prose literacy skills, documentary literacy, and numeracy. In Indonesian setting, literacy skills should be developed to the maximum extend from Primary School to Post Graduate level. Competition has been too critical among nations, if Indonesia does not change, than even in the ASEAN level will collapse. Reading and writing skills must be on the same level of significance for the academicians, or even Indonesian as a nation.

Language and literature/ arts education in Indonesia has to create new paradigm and they can make themselves contribute to the birth of: remarkable fiction writers, text-books writer, editor and translator. Language education or literature faculty have been criticized quite seriously since they are less productive in having productive writers. The critic must be confessed and changes are to be conducted with no hard feeling at all!