The Evolution of the Private Language Argument presents a continuous view of modern analytical philosophy by telling the history of one of its central strands. It is an in-depth history of this well known philosophical argument, the evolution of Wittgenstein's thoughts and its influence on analytical philosophy of mind and language. Nielsen looks at early discussions of the private language argument in the Vienna Circle and the influence of Wittgenstein's ideas and examines the relation between the early and later Wittgenstein on this subject. He discusses which influential versions of the private language argument have been presented in the fifty years since Philosophical Investigations was published and how they relate to Wittgenstein's thoughts, and considers how the role and the interpretation of the argument, and Wittgenstein's philosophy, changed along with changes in the conception of the nature of analytic philosophy.
Contents: Introduction; Part I Between the Wars: The dispute between Carnap and Neurath; Wittgenstein's early concerns about privacy; Wittgenstein in transition - the later material. Part II Post-War Effects of Philosophical Investigations: Reviews and reactions;The availability of an argument; Ordinary sensation language. Part III Language within Philosophy: The problem with private ostentive definitions; The rule-following considerations; Revisiting Philosophical Investigations; Private language arguments, Wittgenstein and contemporary philosophy; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.