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What is it? Test your knowledge of words related to the season of longer days and vacations. Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way. Definition of family resemblance. Learn More about family resemblance. Share family resemblance Post the Definition of family resemblance to Facebook Share the Definition of family resemblance on Twitter. Resources for family resemblance Time Traveler: Explore other words from the year family resemblance first appeared Time Traveler!

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Explore the year a word first appeared. Dictionary Entries near family resemblance family planning family practice family practitioner family resemblance family reunion family romance family room. Statistics for family resemblance Look-up Popularity.

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Test Your Vocabulary. Old Norse Greek Swedish Portuguese. Love words? Need even more definitions? Abstraction is the procedure which acknowledges this necessity and derives essences , but in the absence of a single common feature, it is bound to fail. The term "Family resemblance" as feature of Wittgenstein's philosophy owes much to its translation in English. The Blue Book , p. The German family-word is common and it is found in Grimm's dictionary ; a rare occurrence of 'family likeness' has been noted in a lecture by J. Moulton in Games are the main example considered by Wittgenstein in his text where he also mentions numbers and makes an analogy with a thread.

He develops his argument further by insisting that in such cases there is not a clear cut boundary but there arises some ambiguity if this indefiniteness can be separated from the main point.

Miss Constable, also known as Family Likeness (Getty Museum)

The section mentions card games, board games, ball games, games like ring-a-ring-a-roses and concludes:. And we can go through the many, many other groups of games in the same way; we can see how similarities crop up and disappear. And the result of this examination is: we see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities. I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than " family resemblances "; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc.

Why do we call something a "number"? Well, perhaps because it has a direct relationship with several things that have hitherto been called number; and this can be said to give it an indirect relationship to other things we call the same name. And we extend our concept of number as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres. I can give the concept 'number' rigid limits And this is how we do use the word "game".

For how is the concept of a game bounded? What still counts as a game and what no longer does? Can you give the boundary? You can draw one; for none has so far been drawn. But that never troubled you before when you used the word "game". The most simple one, which fits Wittgenstein's exposition, seems to be the sorites type.

In this example, which presents an indefinitely extended ordered family, resemblance is seen in shared features: each item shares three features with his neighbors e. Obviously what we call 'resemblance' involves different aspects in each particular case.

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Wittgenstein rejects the disjunction of features or 'properties', i. He admits that a 'sharing' is common to all but deems that it is only verbal:. One might as well say: "Something runs through the whole thread — namely the continuous overlapping of those fibres".

One possible solution is to point out that Wittgenstein merely acts out his failing attempt to define the concept of game, because he wanted to demonstrate a mechanism of language. He wasn't particularly concerned about games, nor about the concept of 'game', but he was interested in the consequence of a definitory failure.

The demonstration aims to show, that there is no reason to search for real definitions, which describe essential attributes of things, but rather nominal definitions, which describe the use of the term in a community. He connected this idea to language games — lingual expressions combined with action — as a more adequate alternative to explain the function of language. Wittgenstein wasn't interested in games but in language, therefore his theories and examples are only superficially related to academic disciplines with games as subject matter.

Philosophical Investigations is the primary text used in discussing family resemblances, even though the topic appears also in other works by Wittgenstein, notably The Brown Book. The first is the vocabulary of kinship, of descent, of some sort of real and causal connection.. The main focus for criticism is [ citation needed ] the notion of similarity, which is instrumental for family resemblance.


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A similarity is always found for two arbitrarily selected objects, or a series of intermediaries can link them into a family. This problem has been known as underdeterminacy or open ended texture. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the term as used in anthropology, see Family resemblance anthropology.

Family Likeness

Early philosophy. Picture theory of language Truth tables Truth conditions Truth functions State of affairs Logical necessity. Later philosophy. Analytic philosophy Linguistic turn Ideal language philosophy Logical atomism Logical positivism Ordinary language philosophy Fideism Quietism Therapeutic approach.

Bertrand Russell G.