Research Article

Rule and Point: What function does the concept of “meaning” serve?

Yuki Tanida [PDF]

Article information
Vol 3, No 1
RAP0019 – Research Article
Recieved: June 27, 2023
Accepted: December 28, 2023
Online Published: January 19, 2024
DOI: 10.18494/SAM.RAP.2023.0019
Cite this article
Tanida, Y. (2023). Rule and Point: What function does the concept of “meaning” serve?. The Review of Analytic Philosophy, 3(1), 43-62. Japan: MYU.


To the later Wittgenstein, the meaning of a word was its use in a language. On the other hand, Wittgenstein also wrote, “The meaning: the point of words” (MS 130 43). The purpose of this paper is to present an interpretation of these two seemingly contradictory claims—that the meaning of a word is both the rules and the point (Witz)—in a consistent manner. We respond to this question by clarifying what Wittgenstein considers to be the function of the concept of “meaning.” “Meaning,” Wittgenstein believes, is precisely what is given through the explanation of meaning. By extracting the general features of the game of the explanation of meaning, in this paper, we show that the concept of “meaning” serves to distinguish between the uses of words. We argue that the concept of “meaning” has two aspects, rule and point, depending on how we distinguish between the uses of words.


Wittgenstein, Language-game, Rule, Point, Explanation of meaning


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