This Independent Study is concerned with developing a theory of language and meaning in the textual form. Strucutralist, Sartrean, and Wittgenstenian thought on language, meaning, and literature on are employed in order to ascertain a theoryof textual meaning that is not bound to the speech act, logical positivists notions of language, or the model of authorial intent prescribed by language. The text is broken up into five chapters .

Chapter one serves as an introduction to how a theory of authorship pertains to meaning , Wittgenstein’s models of language, and why we need a more universal textual understanding of meaning. Chapter one outlines the argument structure and progression of thought to come and develops a framework on how to treat meaning philosophically.

Chapter two provides a series of Structuralist literary critical perspectives on authorship in literature. These are taken up individually and on their own terms to illuminate the correlation between their methods and theories of meaning in relation to the framework Wittgensteins helps construct.

Chapter three looks towards Sartre’s perspective on the matter of authorship and structural methods. Sartre’s work responds to those works dealt with in chapter two and provides a basis for making the argument about how meaning in the text functions.

Chapter four responds to the critique that the literary-critical texts on authorship in a literary form cannot be taken as pertaining to philosophy or other kinds of texts. This brings about an argument about the relationship between philosophy and literature and their textual commonalities.

Chapter five concludes the project by advocating for a more holistic and structured cross-disciplinary understanding of meaning, and interpreting meaning, in the textual form academic fields are required to engage in.


Prendergast, Thomas

Second Advisor

Rudisill, John


English; Philosophy


Philosophy of Language


logical positivism, Wittgenstein

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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