July 6, 2015
This paper discusses Wittgenstein’s conception of grammatical investigations and shows how such an investigation, rightly understood, can elucidate the concept of pain. Philosophical attention to the concept of pain tends to lead philosophers in very different directions. A certain set of examples of uses of the concept might lead your thinking “outwards” towards behaviourism, whereas another set of examples might lead you inwards. I develop an understanding of grammatical investigations that does not hide complexities of language, arguing that grammar is as complex as the phenomenon of pain is. In divergence with e.g. Peter Hacker, I try to show how “grammatical investigations” cannot result in rules for the correct uses of language. The formulation of such rules tends to come together with a ‘one-sided diet’ (PI § 593). In contrast, I argue that what pain can teach us about grammar is that grammar, in Wittgenstein’s sense, is not, and cannot be, regulatory, and that it is the elasticity of a concept, if anything, that is its essence.