Between Action and Language: Processes of Wittgensteinian Linguistic Learning in the light of Tomasello’s Evolutional Studies on Collective Intentionality

  • Marco Gigante
Keywords: Wittgenstein, Tomasello, language acquisition, joint attention, cooperative communication


This article focuses on the critical comparison between some of Wittgenstein’s intuitions on language acquisition and Tomasello’s theory of the human joint attentional processes in early childhood. Firstly, this essay will explore the problematic nature of the relations between pre-verbal behavior and linguistic games, which Wittgenstein analyses in the late phase of his philosophical study. The second part of this essay will shift attention onto Tomasello’s assumptions about the pre-modern Homo and his social-cognitive abilities, in the attempt to reveal their dependence on the interaction with the surrounding environment. Overall, this essay sets itself to achieve a double goal: on the one hand, that of illustrating how some aspects of Wittgenstein’s philosophical theory converge with Tomasello’s elaboration of the early human cooperative communication processes; on the other, that of showing the potential contribution of Tomasello’s work to the development of Wittgenstein’s insights on the process of language acquisition.


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How to Cite
Gigante, M. (1) “Between Action and Language: Processes of Wittgensteinian Linguistic Learning in the light of Tomasello’s Evolutional Studies on Collective Intentionality”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 12(2). Available at: (Accessed: 29September2023).