"The Fitting Word"


  • Ondřej Beran Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice




language, fitting word, Wittgenstein


In his post-war writings, Wittgenstein makes several comments on particularly “fitting” (treffende) words. However, the nature of this quality remains unclear and elusive. In this paper, I present some suggestions about what one might learn from Wittgenstein’s comments, though my purpose is not primarily exegetical, but rather simply to reflect upon what makes a word “fitting”. I discuss several options; first that it is the context what makes the word fitting, then that it is an “imponderable” quality it has. Eventually, I opt for the explanation that the fittingness has (at least often) to do with the enthusiastic feeling the word can give rise to. The feeling should not be construed as a mental event of a private kind, though; rather, we can describe in these terms the dynamics of conversational situations that feature “fitting” words.

Author Biography

Ondřej Beran, Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice

Ondřej Beran is based at the Centre for Ethics as Study in Human Value (Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies), University of Pardubice. He writes about various topics. His recent publications include Examples and Their Role in Our Thinking (Routledge 2021) and Ethical Inquiries after Wittgenstein (co-edited with Salla Aldrin Salskov and Nora Hämäläinen; Springer 2022).


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RPP I: Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology I. Oxford: Blackwell, 1980.

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Beran, O. 2021. Examples and Their Role in Our Thinking. New York: Routledge.

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Winch, P. 1972. “Moral Integrity”. In: P. Winch, Ethics and Action. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 171–192.

Winch, P. 1996. “Doing Justice or Giving the Devil His Due”. In: D. Z. Phillips, ed., Can Religion Be Explained Away? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 161–174.

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2023-04-27 — Updated on 2023-04-27