Wittgenstein, Williams and the terminologies of higher education: a case study of the term ‘critical’
Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Raymond Williams, semantic indeterminacy, polysemy language games, keywords, critical thinking, ALL practice.
AbstractThe idea of semantic indeterminacy, a key notion in linguistics, holds that in the case of many words, there is no simple one-to-one correspondence between the word and its referent. Another term used in the literature is ‘polysemy’. This paper explores the idea of semantic indeterminacy as it is theorised by two key thinkers – Ludwig Wittgenstein and Raymond Williams. Their respective ideas in this field – Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘meaning as use’; and Williams’ idea of ‘keywords’ – are thought to have much relevance to literacy work and practices in the academy. The paper considers the ideas of these thinkers in relation to a number of key terms in academic study, but with a particular focus on the concept of being ‘critical’ (or ‘critical thinking’). In the latter part of the article I discuss some of the implications that a polysemic view of language might have for Academic Language and Learning (ALL) practice, considering approaches that are both implied and not implied by such a position.
How to Cite
MooreT. (2014). Wittgenstein, Williams and the terminologies of higher education: a case study of the term ‘critical’. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 8(1), A95-A108. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/314
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