Picture Theory of Language. A Philosophical Investigation into the Genesis of Meaning

Author: Roscoe, John
This work is intended to challenge Frege’s Begriffsschrift as the foundation of philosophical work which either uses formal methods or is inspired by them. Whilst it is emphatically not a work of Wittgensteinian scholarship, it attempts the synthesis of the antithetical ideas associated with Wittgenstein, (1) the Picture-Theory, and (2) the language-game conceived as the ultimate level of explanation.


“In that it deepens our understanding of what Language is, this book is a significant contribution to Philosophy.” – Prof. Krister Segerberg, Uppsala University

“Roscoe’s fresh and refreshing approach is one that recognizes the paradoxes generated by any attempt to make sense of language from within natural language and seeks to address this problem by taking the starting point for reflection in what is done with a piece of chalk on a blackboard as a language is brought into being without the essential involvement of any precedent. Language is revealed to be the product of features of our human nature which for the first time are precisely specified’: tie natural meaningfulness of the mundane objects we call pictures, and the games human beings can play with them. This work undoubtedly represents an important contribution not only to language philosophy but also to scholarship across the spectrum of fundamental philosophical problems inasmuch as it seeks to lay out the presuppositions for the very activity of thinking. Roscoe’s book deserves to be widely read. – Prof. James McGuirk, Bodoe University

“To have constructed—as it seems to me Roscoe may unblushingly claim to have done—an entire theory (and a quite unprecedented one that must be taken seriously at that) of language and its relation to the world is to have achieved something of no little difficulty and of considerable importance. In my opinion, his book is emphatically one no philosopher who would himself be taken seriously can afford to neglect. – Prof. Bastian Perrot, Calw

Table of Contents

Foreword by Krister Segerberg
1. Games
2. The Picture Game
3. The Writing Game
4. Envoy