more from Thomas Mautner

Single Idea 9957

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 11. Ostensive Definition]

Full Idea

Ostensive definitions explain what an expression means by pointing to an object, action, event, etc. denoted by the expression.

Gist of Idea

Ostensive definitions point to an object which an expression denotes


Thomas Mautner (Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy [1996], 'definition')

Book Reference

Mautner,Thomas: 'Dictionary of Philosophy' [Penguin 1997], p.126

A Reaction

These will need some context. If I define 'red' simply by pointing to a red square, you might conclude that 'red' means square. If I point to five varied red objects, you have to do the work of spotting the common ingredient. I can't mention 'colour'.