<logic, philosophy of language> the attempt to provide a non-linguistic definition of a term by pointing at something to which it applies. Although useful enough for some primitive purposes, ostensive definitions are systematically ambiguous, since they poorly discriminate among things and their temporal features. Recommended Reading: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Blue and Brown Books (HarperCollins, 1986); Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and the Philosophical Investigations, ed. by Marie McGinn (Routledge, 1997); Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophy and Language, ed. by Alice Ambrose and Morris Lazerowitz (St. Augustine, 1996); and William H. Brenner, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (SUNY, 1999).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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