Philosophy of Language


Search forums
Subscribe to this forum      feed for this page

 1 - 20 / 39 
I have a following trouble.

If I want to defining some word, and I want that my definition will be correct in the meaning of Semantical Conception of Truth or Classical, I have to know something about object, attribute or relation that I want to define. In other words: If I wand define "wisdom" I have to know what the wisdom is. If I don't know what the wisdom is, my definition will be arbitrary and could be incorrect (not in logical meaning but in ontological meaning), it would be fake definition.

The question is: How would I know about the subject, object, relation, attribute to give its proper definition ?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Such person would consider the meaning of all words to be vague(including the meaning of the word "vague") and think that actually we do not know what we are talking about(including this sentence itself) even though we feel that we know very well about what we are talking about. Therefore all of our knowledge presented in the form of language is nonsense(including this sentence itself).

For example:
A: Truth is any statement that corresponds to the reality.
B: What does "correspond" mean? What does "reality" mean? What does "statement" mean?
A: "Correspond" means XXX, "reality" means XXX, and "statement" means XXX.
B: Then what does XXX mean?
A: ...
(And B would even question the meaning of his own sentences.)

It seems to me that such absolute-skepticism is invincivle. Any argument against it would be considered nonsense according to this theory. We might well ask, in what situation can the meaning of a word be "clear"? Philosophy is not as exact and accurate as math (perhaps math is ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


Tarski’s convention T: condition beta. South American Journal of Logic. 1, 3–32.

John Corcoran and Leonardo Weber


HISTORICAL NOTE: This paper is the culmination of a years-long joint effort by the two authors. A preliminary report appeared in 2013: Corcoran-Weber, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 19 (2013) 510–11. Their co-operative work was conducted by email dialogue in which each author’s work was developed and corrected by the other. Each section went through several iterations. The final version was the result of dozens of reciprocal exchanges; it is impossible to allocate credit. Each author learned from and taught the other. During this time they consulted several other scholars including the Tarski experts David Hitchcock, James Smith, and Albert Visser.

The senior author expresses his deep gratitude to the junior author. Moreover the senior author acknowledges publicly what he has already said privately, viz. that without the junior author’s help and mastery of ... (read more)

Hi Jack,

Nice paper!. However, if I may, I wasn't convinced by your response to objection five. The objection, I take it, is that the intuitions you are marshaling about incoherence derive from a non-moral standpoint, that is, they are intuitions that arise when one is doing metaethics and not when one is actually moralizing.  And it seems undeniable that Moore paradoxical sentences are straightforwardly bizarre when uttered by persons in the context of actual moralizing (just imagine actually having the relevant conversation). At the outset of your paper, you correctly note that expressivism is a theory about actual moralizing, so it seems like this is one objection to which you should be very sensitive.  You respond:

This is not really a rejection of C3, but a rejection of C1, since it admits that it is not always the case that affective or conative attitudes are expressed by moral assertions. If non-cognitive mental states are only sometimes expressed by moral assertions, then the clai ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


Methodologically speaking, I wonder why Matilal and S's article has not been enough for  further studies of this sort to be the rule on Mind (and other philosophical journals). Does this failure depend on their style? (Or should we just start working as a task-force and submit many articles of this kind?)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


Can there be linguistics without ontology?

The context principle and some Indian controversies over Meaning is a milestone in Indian studies, and in the history of their interaction with mainstream (i.e. Western) philosophy. Since it was published in 1988 on Mind (one of the top-5 journals in Philosophy, inaccessible for most authors), virtually everyone (in Indian philosophy) has read it.

Have you also re-read it?

I re-read it after some years this Summer and I have to admit that it was again a surprise. The article starts with a discussion of the Context principle in Frege and Quine (does the principle mean that words HAVE no meaning outside a sentence, or that their meaning can only be UNDERSTOOD within a sentence?). In this connection, Matilal and Sen discuss a strong and a weak interpretation of the Context principle (according to whether it should answer the first or the second question). They end up saying that the strong interpretation clashes with Frege's later work (see belo ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Currently developing my work at Comparing the work of Wittgenstein and St Augustine on language one is aware of 

a startling dichotomy, are these two theses mutually exclusive? On the one hand we have the Augustinian theory, put simply, that language enables 

the individual to articulate ever deeper layers of his soul. On the other hand we have Wittgenstein, put simply again, language and its continued 

development IS the soul. Language gives the child (and the adult for that matter) the power to articulate, and through articulation to control, his 

feelings and by extension his environment. He can distance himself from his self, gain perspectives which are truly awesome in their power. 
Clearly such differing theses have profound consequences in many areas of study, not least that of religion.
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

I am a graduate student at the University of Ghana, West Africa. I am currently undertaking a study on Causative constructions in Ewe, a Kwa language from the Niger-Congo family and using Cognitive Linguistics as a theoretical framework. I find it very difficult to establish a link between the theory and the work. Can I have advice how I can use the theory to analyze causative constructions in the language and achieve my research objectives?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply


I wonder if anyone knows of useful recent discussions of Tyler Burge on Frege's hierarchy of senses (in 'Frege and the Hierarchy')? And I would be interested in anyone's comments on the extended Postscript to the reprint of the paper in Burge's 'Truth, Structure, and Method', or especially interested in hearing of anyone's thoughts on the section in the Postscript that discusses his 'Principle for Canonical Names of Senses'. Does anyone think the discussion demode?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Redundancy theory of truth has been regarded one (may the most) powerful objection to Realism, new truth theorist, articulating rather different notion of truth claim that the semantic thesis of Realism must be rejected - and hence the whole project of realism - i think there is something wrong with - for example - Gary Kemps article and reasoning for redundancy theory of truth.
there could two problems be differed
1) the redundancy argument for redundancy of SEMANTIC content of truth;
2) the redundancy argument for redundancy of ASSERTION that notion;
arguments - as far as i have seen - are related to the second but not the first ( see for example Ramsey truism and Strawson's "Truth" and Gary Kemp's article "Meaning and truth conditions").
 that seems to be about the redundancy argument for ASSERTION of truth predicate, but the reasoning does not entail that "truth" does not have any genuine semantic content. i think the very problem could be found in Tarski's "Sem ... (read more)

Hi all, 
In the PI Wittgenstein remarks that "The common behaviour of mankind is the system of reference by means of which we interpret an unknown language". My question is, what exactly does W. means by 'the common behaviour of mankind'? I guess it has to do with the human "form of life", but again, if so, what does W. mean by this? 

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

I couldn't find Tim's email so am instead posting here a link to my critical discussion of his paper (which may also be of interest to other readers):
Moral Judgments, 2Dism, and Attitudinal Commitments.


This is awesome. Tractatus power!
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

I fairly recently read a paper, which I now can't find, which complained that much of the discussion relating to content, given in that-clauses, missed the point that these were clauses (perhaps essentially incomplete). I think I recall Stephen Schiffer on something like that, but I'm not sure. Does anyone know this, or some connected relevant handling of clauses?

Where should one begin if one is looking to start reading their work?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

In "On Denoting" (1905), Russell presents a theory of denotation which relies on the notion of a variable.  Russell says very little about variables in this paper.  He says only that they are "fundamental," and that they are "essentially and wholly undetermined" constituents of propositional functions.  I think I understand the role of this notion in Russell's theory, and why Russell says what he does about it,  He appeals to non-denoting elements in propositions in order to avoid having to interpret "a=b" as "a=a."  By using variables, he can claim that no elements in a propositional function serve the role of the denoting phrase.  For example, in the fully explicit presentation of "Scott is the author of Waverley," we do not find anything for which we could substitute the phrase "the author of Waverley."  The meaning of the denoting phrase is only found when we interpret the proposition as a whole, and cannot be found in any of its parts. 

My problem is, I don't know what it means to say ... (read more)
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

In 1976 Fitch proposed a tight argument against Kripkean a posteriori necessary truths. He argued that if 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus' are rigid designators with no descriptive content, then 'Hesperus is Phosphorus' and 'Phosphorus is Phosphorus' express the same proposition, one we can know a priori.

In this 2004 paper he tries to rescue Kripke's position by adding a new kind of entities in addition to sentences and propositions, namely, statements. He writes on p. 302:

"A statement is an interpreted sentence (type). The difference, for example, between the sentence “You are a philosopher” and the statement that you are a philosopher is that the former is uninterpreted and could mean (in some language) any number of things. The statement expressed by our use of the sentence given our interpretation according to the rules of our language is something like the indicated person has the property of being a philosopher. The proposition asserted by the utterance of the sentence in a given cont ... (read more)

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

Hi, I'm writing an essay on whether George Bealer gives a good deductive argument for the existence of universals in this paper. I was wondering if any one has any thoughts on this?
Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

This is by a wide margin my most-downloaded paper on PhilPapers. Why is this? I don't think it's my /best/ paper -- 'Multidisjunctive' and 'Externalist's guide' are more interesting, in my view; and 'Noise' is (IMHO!) the final word on its subject-matter (if sort of hard to read).
  1. High-profile forum? (But 'Noise', in /Mind/, has way fewer downloads)
  2. Critical? (But this paper has more than twice as many downloads as the paper it criticizes)
  3. On the rarely discussed topic of the language of experience reports? (But see the previous)
  4. Feet in several categories? 
Somewhat inclined to think it's all of these working together: it's the most-downloaded paper in Pronouns and Anaphora, and the fourth most-downloaded paper in What is it Like?; also there's stuff in there for the active HOT community; and there's the imprimatur of /Phil Review/; and it opens a can of, ah, criticism of Lormand's weird view, for fun.

Latest replies: Permanent link: Reply

When we say that "P" is possible iff there is a possible world where "P" is true, we can continue and say that there is a possible world where "P" is true iff "A" is true, and "A" is not something about a non-actual possible world. Such an approach would allow us to use the vocabulary of possible worlds, while sustaining an agnostic or an anti-realist position about the the existence of non-actual possible worlds. Can such a reductive approach to possible worlds solve the problem of ontological commitmentt to the existence of non-actual possible worlds? And what do you think that "A" must be as non-actual possible worlds dont get implicated?

 1 - 20 / 39