In what follows, we first provide and develop an example of a grammatical investigation. We then provide a short account of what a grammatical investigation is and is not. The example is not intended to typify the form such an investigation may take, but rather to give one form it may take; the account, short as it is, is not meant to exhaust all that could or even needs to be said about such investigations.
A grammatical investigation
At Zettel §504, Wittgenstein observes that “Love is not a feeling. Love is put to the test, pain not. One does not say: That was not true pain or it would not have gone off so quickly.” We like to think of this remark as a cloud of soap operas reduced to a drop of grammar.
What is Wittgenstein doing here? He is investigating the grammar of “love”. He is also contesting an assimilation of its grammar to the grammar of “pain”. Pain, Wittgenstein implies, is a feeling. Since it is a feeling, we do not typically put it to the test. We do not challenge someone when he reports being in pain. – “Ouch! That hurts.” – “No, it doesn't.” We can make sense of such an exchange, but not readily as a challenge to the report of pain. We can make sense of such an exchange, say, as occurring between a father and his young son, where the father is trying to encourage his son to gain a certain kind of control over his response to pain, teaching him how to bear pain manfully.