forms of life

forms of life

the multiplicity of circumscribed language-embedded social practices which, according to WITTGENSTEIN (1953), characterize social life. The socially-located and conventional character of all languages is emphasized by Wittgenstein. In this interpretation of the nature and limits of language, all ‘descriptions’ and accounts, and hence all SOCIAL ACTION, are relative to language and to the social contexts in which a particular language is used. In a strict sense, there is nothing that can be said outside the language and context, hence translations are problematic.

One consequence of Wittgensteins view has been to encourage those forms of philosophy and social science which tend towards a ‘relativistic’ conception of social studies. It also had a seminal influence on the construction of modern LINGUISTIC PHILOSOPHY, which has emphasized the need for analysis of the many particular uses of language (see also SPEECH ACTS).

In sociology, the concept lends support to the notion that the main task of the discipline should be the MEANINGFUL UNDERSTANDING AND EXPLANATION of the distinctive beliefs and practices of particular societies or social movements (see WINCH), and an ‘empathic’ understanding of historical societies (compare COLLINGWOOD).

Related to the above, the concept has also been important in arguments for a ‘discontinuous’ view of scientific change. Thus both KUHN's and FEYERABEND's conception of SCIENTIFIC PARADIGM, and associated conceptions such as INCOMMENSURABILITY, draw explicitly on Wittgensteins notion of forms of life. One of the best ways of describing what a scientific paradigm involves is that it is a ‘form of life’. See also TRUTH, RELATIVISM; compare GADAMER, HERMENEUTICS, FUSION OF HORIZONS.

References in periodicals archive ?
Forms of life emerge, evolve, and ultimately dissipate (albeit perhaps always partially) in constant interaction and hybridization with other forms of life, and with the desire and will that fuel the latter.
Set on the Great Barrier Reef, Zobi and the Zoox is a story of symbiosis between microbes and larger forms of life.
It is not a question of thinking a better or more authentic form of life, a superior principle or an elsewhere, which arrives from outside the forms of life and the factical vocations to revoke and render them inoperative.
Other parts of the project are "revisions life situations" and"Revision forms of life situations.
of Leeds) presents a comparative examination of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Dewi Zephaniah Phillips, focusing on their work about religious forms of life.
Looking at the human and non-human forms of life relations from this perspective, the current environmental crisis may be seen as a theological problem.
If power consists in an "interaction between two living entities" (106), the relationships constituted by the power of life will no longer give rise to the hierarchical structure of the State, but lead to a network without a center, to a "rhizomatic configuration" of forms of life that are "virtually ungovernable" (107).
The second question is whether conditions exist on exoplanets that suggest the possibility of other forms of life, whether known to us or not," he stated.
A PIONEERING mission to a buried lake deep under the Antarctic could uncover unknown forms of life.
They were working with normal bacteria, the simplest known cellular forms of life.
inclining the two forms of life to the one end, through the bare trees
Each ocean zone contains an estimated 33,000 known forms of life, ranging from algae and single-celled protozoa to whales and sea birds.