[Postponed] Wittgen=steine: Anna Boncompagni

May 14th, 2024

The "Wittgen=steine" series (organized by the Wittgenstein Research Group) features two talks this term:

April 12th, 2024; 3:00pm to 4:30pm, HS 3A:
Pavel Arazim: "Therapie(n) als Methode(n) -- warum und wie? Vergleich der Antiphilosophie Wittgensteins und Bergsons"

May 14th, 2024: 3:00pm to 4:30pm, HS 3A:
Anna Boncompagni: "Once more with feeling" A feminist-Wittgensteinian take on language and liberation"



Anna Boncompagni: "Once more with feeling ..."

Recent work in feminist epistemology and philosophy of language highlights how language use contributes to oppressive practices. For instance, Tirrell (2012), building on Wilfrid Sellars and Robert Brandom, analyzes the normative power of derogatory terms and how they engender harmful actions and behaviors. McGowan (2019), developing David Lewis' approach, claims that conversational contributions enact norms and permissibility facts both within the conversation and in social practices, thereby constituting harms and keeping oppressive practices in place. Both perspectives are indebted to the Wittgensteinian notion of language games. In this paper, I retrace this inheritance and further argue for a Wittgensteinian understanding of these phenomena, also appealing to his concepts of rule-following and forms of life. However, rather than oppression, I apply these insights to liberation: I claim that certain moves in language games enact positive changes in social norms and forms of life. In particular, I apply this approach to linguistic moves related to LGBTQ issues. This Wittgensteinian-feminist framework, I argue, helps better understand both the difficulties and the potentialities of liberatory and innovative conversational moves.