The increasingly common use of inclusive language (e.g., "he or she") in representing past philosophers' views is often inappropriate. Using Immanuel Kant's work as an example, I compare his use of terms such as "human race" and "human being" with his views on women to show that his use of generic terms does not prove that he includes women. I then discuss three different approaches to this issue, found in recent Kant-literature, and show why each of them is insufficient. (...) I conclude that the tension between gender-neutral and gender-specific views in Kant's work should be made explicit, and I offer several strategies for doing so. (shrink)
Though many have recently attempted either to locate Arendt within feminism or feminism within the great body of Arendt's work, these efforts have proven only modestly successful. Even a cursory examination of Arendt's work should suggest that these efforts would prove frustrating. None of her voluminous writings deal specifically with gender, though some of her work certainly deals with notable women. Her interest is not in gender as such, but in woman as assimilated Jew or woman as social and political (...) revolutionary. In this paper, I argue that Arendt recognized that what frequently passes for a gender question is not essentially a matter of gender at all, but rather an idiosyncratic form of loneliness that typically affects, though is by no means limited to, women. In her work one finds the conceptual tools necessary to understand the “woman problem” rather than an explicit argument or a solution to it. (shrink)
: Drawing Wittgenstein's and Irigaray's philosophies into conversation might help resolve certain misunderstandings that have so far hampered both the reception of Irigaray's work and the development of feminist praxis in general. A Wittgensteinian reading of Irigaray can furnish an anti-essentialist conception of "woman" that retains the theoretical and political specificity feminism requires while dispelling charges that Irigaray's attempt to delineate a "feminine" language is either groundlessly utopian or entails a biological essentialism.
Drawing Wittgenstein's and Irigaray's philosophies into conversation might help resolve certain misunderstandings that have so far hampered both the reception of Irigaray's work and the development of feminist praxis in general. A Wittgensteinian reading of Irigaray can furnish an anti-essentialist conception of "woman" that retains the theoretical and political specificity feminism requires while dispelling charges that Irigaray's attempt to delineate a "feminine" language is either groundlessly utopian or entails a biological essentialism.
This article examines the nature of rationality. The domain of rationality is customarily divided into the theoretical and the practical. Whereas theoretical or epistemic rationality is concerned with what it is rational to believe, and sometimes with rational degrees of belief, practical rationality is concerned with what it is rational to do, or intend or desire to do. This article raises some of the main issues relevant to philosophical discussion of the nature of rationality. Discussions of the nature of practical (...) rationality and reason concern norms of choice, and it seems that if such norms are not arbitrary, arguments over what those norms are must ultimately be a theoretical matter. Furthermore, this article explores rationality's role in and relation to other domains of inquiry: psychology, gender, personhood, language, science, economics, law, and evolution. (shrink)
A welcome addition to the Routledge Critical Thinkers series, Judith Butler is the first guidebook on this renowned feminist and queer theory scholar, which will help not only students of literary criticism but also students of law, sociology, philosophy, film and cultural studies. Examining Butler's work through a variety of contexts, including the formation of gender performativity, identity and subjecthood, Sarah Salih address Butler's crucial ideas on the gender agenda, the body, pornography, race, gay self-expression and power and psychoanalysis. Concluding (...) with an annotated bibliography, this book will be the ideal starting point for all new to Butler. (shrink)
(Series copy) The new Oxford Readings in Feminism series maps the dramatic influence of feminist theory on every branch of academic knowledge. Offering feminist perspectives on disciplines from history to science, each book assembles the most important articles written on its field in the last ten to fifteen years. Old stereotypes are challenged and traditional attitudes upset in these lively-- and sometimes controversial--volumes, all of which are edited by feminists prominent in their particular field. Comprehensive, accessible, and intellectually daring, the (...) Oxford Readings in Feminism series is vital reading for anyone interested in the effects of feminist ideas within the academy. Can science be gender-neutral? In recent years, feminist critics have raised troubling questions about the practice and goals of traditional science, demonstrating the existence of a pervasive bias in the ways in which scientists conduct and discuss their work. This exciting volume gathers seventeen essays--by sociologists, scientists, historians, and philosophers--of seminal significance in the emerging field of feminist science studies. Analyzing topics from the stereotype of the "Man of Reason" to the "romantic" language of reproductive biology, these fascinating essays challenge readers to take a fresh look at the limitations--and possibilities--of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
This essay argues that ideals of cooperation or adversariality in argumentation are not equally attainable for women. Women in argumentation contexts face oppressive limitations undermining argument success because their authority is undermined by gendered norms of politeness. Women endorsing or, alternatively, transgressing feminine norms of politeness typically defend their authority in argumentation contexts. And yet, defending authority renders it less legitimate. My argument focuses on women in philosophy but bears the implication that other masculine dis- course contexts present similar double (...) binds that urge social and political change. (shrink)
This dissertation explores the life and work of a philosophy of education and multicultural education teacher, through the use of narrative inquiry. As a Palestinian/Lebanese Canadian researcher, teacher, mother, activist and writer, I present the journey of freeing myself from colonial grand narratives through the construction of my personal, practical knowledge and values, while providing an answer to the question: “What does it mean to be situated on the boundary between the English West and the Middle Eastern Arab world?” I (...) demonstrate how the Orientalist tradition, as defined by Edward Said (1978), served to confuse, frustrate, and alienate me as an embodied person situated within a web of historical, ethnic, linguistic, social, and cultural tensions. I describe how, having been educated in an English missionary school in the context of a Palestinian culture of dispossession and Diaspora, this education served to paradoxically both estrange and enrich me. I demonstrate how narrative inquiry, modeled after Clandinin and Connelly (1995, 2000), has enabled me to understand and communicate who I really am as an educator in the multiple social contexts I have known. Through story-ing my epistemology, I illustrate how the Canon in philosophy and the grand meta-narratives underpinning it served to oppress and alienate me over the years. I emphasize that education is not value-neutral. My autobiographical writing in this dissertation explores how the constructs of ethnicity, gender, religion, culture, language, and class serve to shape thinking and values. [...]. (shrink)
Preface and acknowledgments -- Prelude -- 1. Gender, sexuality, and meaning: An overview -- Part I. Politics and scholarship: 2. Language and gender -- 3. Feminism in linguistics -- 4. Difference and language: A linguist's perspective -- Part II. Social practice, social meanings, and selves: 5. Communities of practice: Where language, gender, and power all live -- 6. Intonation in a man's world -- 7. Constructing meaning, constructing selves: Snapshots of language, gender, and class from Belten (...) High -- Part III. Constructing content in discourse: 8. The sexual reproduction of meaning: A discourse-based theory -- 9. Prototypes, pronouns, and persons -- 10. What's in a name?: Social labeling and gender practices -- 11. Queering semantics: Definitional struggles -- Coda: 12. Breaking through the 'glass ceiling': Can linguistic awareness help? (shrink)
The recent case of the UK woman who lost her legal struggle to be impregnated with her own frozen embryos, raises critical issues about the meaning of reproductive autonomy and the scope of regulatory practices. I revisit this case within the context of contemporary debate about the moral and legal dimensions of assisted reproduction. I argue that the gender neutral context that frames discussion of regulatory practices is unjust unless it gives appropriate consideration to the different positions women and men (...) occupy in relation to reproductive processes and their options for autonomous choice. First, I consider relevant legal rulings, media debate, and scholarly commentary. Then I discuss the concept of reproductive autonomy imbedded in this debate. I argue that this concept conflates informed consent and reproductive autonomy, thereby providing an excessively narrow reading of autonomy that fails to give due regard to relations among individuals or the social, political and economic environment that shapes their options. I contrast this notion of autonomy with feminist formulations that seek to preserve respect for the agency of individuals without severing them from the conditions of their embodiment, their surrounding social relationships, or the political contexts that shape their options. Taking these considerations into account I weigh the advantages of regulation over the commercial market arrangement that prevails in some countries and suggest general guidelines for a regulatory policy that would more equitably resolve conflicting claims to reproductive autonomy. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that there are moral reasons to embrace the construction of self-designing and sex/gender-neutral cyborg athletes. In fact, with the prospect of advanced genetic and cyborg technology, we may face a future where sport (as we know it) occurs in its purest form; that is, where athletes get evaluated by athletic performance only and not by their gender, and where it becomes impossible to discriminate athletes based on their body constitution and gender identity. The gender (...) constructions within sports and sports culture are solid, however. Here, I argue that the rough distinctions we use to define people in terms of sex/gender tend to create and recreate old-fashioned and discriminatory sex/gender-boundaries. A morally reasonable way of meeting this issue, is to say that the problem is not the individuals who (for one reason or another) transcend certain gender categories, but the categories in themselves. (shrink)
In this article I examine how reforming our international tax regime could be an important vehicle for realizing key aspects of global gender justice. Ensuring all,including and especially multinationals, pay their fair share of taxes is crucial to ensuring that all countries, especially developing countries, are able to fund education, job training, infrastructural development, programs which promote gender equity, and so forth, thereby enabling all countries to help themselves better. I discuss various positive proposals for levying global taxes. I review (...) why overtly gender-neutral taxes can sometimes have unintended gendered consequences, disproportionately burdening or benefiting individuals, according to their gender. Any endorsement of global taxes must take this concern into account. Fortunately there is good fit between the rationale for the Tobin tax and the way in which it can be harnessed to promote gender equity, so of the taxes discussed here, it emerges as one of the most promising. However, as I also argue, eliminating tax havens and blocking avenues that currently facilitate tax escape must also be part of the agenda to promote gender equity, given the vast amounts of revenue that currently escape taxation. In a context of globalization, fiscal policies cannot achieve equity (including gender equity) at national levels alone. Many concerns, such as clamping down on tax evasion and harmonizing corporate tax rates, can only effectively be tackled at a global level. As I also discuss, feasible arrangements for tackling such issues are available, as are mechanisms for collecting and disbursing funds in ways that promote accountability and compliance. Failing to reform our tax arrangements means that the basic institutional structure of the global economy is unjust and also involves gender injustice. Gender consciousness is indispensable for developing an adequate account of taxation justice and therefore a global institutional structure that is gender just. (shrink)
This book makes a vigorous reassessment of the moral dimension in Chaucer's writings. For the Middle Ages, the study of human behavior generally signified the study of the morality of attitudes, choices, and actions. Moreover, moral analysis was not gender neutral: it presupposed that certain virtues and certain failings were largely gender-specific. Alcuin Blamires, mainly concentrating on The Canterbury Tales, discloses how Chaucer adapts the composite inherited traditions of moral literature to shape the significance and the gender implications of his (...) narratives. Chaucer, Ethics, and Gender is therefore not a theorization of ethical reading but a discussion of Chaucer's engagement with the literature of practical ethical advice. Working with the commonplace primary sources of the period, Blamires demonstrates that Stoic ideals, somewhat uncomfortably absorbed within medieval Christian moral codes as Chaucer realized, penetrate the poet's constructions of how women and men behave in matters (for instance) of friendship and anger, sexuality and chastity, protest and sufferance, generosity and greed, credulity and foresight. The book will be absorbing for all serious readers or teachers of Chaucer because it is packed with commanding new insights. It offers illuminating explanations concerning topics that have often eluded critics in the past: the flood-forecast in The Miller's Tale, for example; or the status of emotion and equanimity in The Franklin's Tale; the "unethical" sexual trading in the Shipman's Tale; the contemporary moral force of a widow's curse in The Friar's Tale; and the quizzical moral link between the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale. There is even a new hypothesis about the conceptual design of The Canterbury Tales as a whole. Deeply informed and historically alert, this is a book that engages its reader in the vital role played by ethical assumptions (with their attendant gender assumptions) in Chaucer's major poetry. (shrink)
For political reasons, the social control functions of psychiatry are not openly recognized as such but are disguised as benevolent medical treatment. The roots of this disguise may be traced to the political revolutions in which the rule of man was replaced by the rule of law. This transformation generated a conflict between the desire for freedom under law and the desire for a greater degree of social control than is provided by law. Involuntary mental hospitalization is the neurotic resolution (...) of this conflict by society. The social control functions of psychiatry are disguised and justified by the medical model which describes the moral action of both psychiatrist and patient in the ostensibly value neutral language of science and medicine. The cost of this disguise is great. It negates individuals as moral agents and obscures the moral nature of the problems that psychiatrists seek to understand which, in turn, handicaps them in helping the persons they seek to assist. The task of the philosopher in this situation is honestly and critically to analyze and evaluate psychiatric language, psychiatric practices and the moral issues involved. (shrink)
In this paper, we discuss the ethical responsibility of the Information Technology (IT) industry towards its female workforce. Although the growing IT industry experiences skills shortages, there is a declining trend in the representation of women. The paper presents evidence that the IT industry is not gender-neutral and that it does little to promote or retain its female workforce. We urge that professional codes of ethics in IT should be revised to take into account the diverse needs of its (...) staff. (shrink)
Do we conduct our conscious propositional thinking in natural language? Or is such language only peripherally related to human conscious thought-processes? In this paper I shall present a partial defence of the former view, by arguing that the only real alternative is eliminativism about conscious propositional thinking. Following some introductory remarks, I shall state the argument for this conclusion, and show how that conclusion can be true. Thereafter I shall defend each of the three main premises in turn.
EVERY speaker of a language knows a bewildering variety of linguistic facts, and will come to know many more. It is knowledge that connects sound and meaning. Questions about the nature of this knowledge cannot be separated from fundamental questions about the nature of language. The conception of language we should adopt depends on the part it plays in explaining our knowledge of language. This chapter explores options in accounting for language, and our knowledge of (...)language, and defends the view that individuals’ languages are constituted by the standing knowledge they carry from one speech situation to another. (shrink)
In his recent book Slaves of the Passions , Mark Schroeder defends a Humean account of practical reasons ( hypotheticalism ). He argues that it is compatible with 'genuinely agent-neutral reasons'. These are reasons that any agent whatsoever has. According to Schroeder, they may well include moral reasons. Furthermore, he proposes a novel account of a reason's weight, which is supposed to vindicate the claim that agent-neutral reasons ( if they exist), would be weighty irrespective of anyone's desires. If the (...) argument is successful, it could help avoid an error-theory of moral language. I argue that it isn't, and that we should reject a Humean approach to reasons. (shrink)
Metaethics is the study of metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, insofar as they relate to the subject matter of moral or, more broadly, normative discourse – the subject matter of what is good, bad, right or wrong, just, reasonable, rational, what we must or ought to do, or otherwise. But out of these four ‘core’ areas of philosophy, it is plausibly the philosophy of language that is most central to metaethics – and (...) not simply because ‘metaethics’ was for a long time construed more narrowly as a name for the study of moral language. The philosophy of language is central to metaethics because both the advantages of and the open problems facing different metaethical theories differ sharply over the answers those theories give to central questions in the philosophy of language. In fact, among the open problems over which such theories differ, are included particularly further problems in the philosophy of language. This article briefly surveys a range of broad categories of views in metaethics and both catalogues some of the principal issues faced by each in the philosophy of language, as well as how those arise out of their answers to more basic questions in the philosophy of language. I make no claim to completeness, only to raising a variety of important issues. (shrink)
Feminist approaches to art are extremely influential and widely studied across a variety of disciplines, including art theory, cultural and visual studies, and philosophy. Gender and Aesthetics is an introduction to the major theories and thinkers within art and aesthetics from a philosophical perspective, carefully introducing and examining the role that gender plays in forming ideas about art. It is ideal for anyone coming to the topic for the first time. Organized thematically, the book introduces in clear language the (...) most important topics within feminist aesthetics: * Who is an artist and why are there so few women painters? * Art, pleasure and beauty * Music, literature and painting * The role of gender in taste and food * What is art and who is an artist? * Disgust and the sublime Each chapter discusses important topics and thinkers within art and examines the role gender plays in our understanding of them. These topics include creativity, genius and the appreciation of art, and thinkers from Plato, Kant, and Hume to Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva. Also included in the book are illustrations from Gauguin and Hogarth to Cindy Sherman and Nancy Spero to clarify and help introduce often difficult concepts. Each chapter concludes with a summary and further reading and there is an extensive annotated bibliography. Carolyn Korsmeyer's style is refreshing and accessible, making the book suitable for students of philosophy, gender studies, visual studies and art theory, as well as anyone interested in the impact of gender on theories of art. (shrink)
Feminism is the movement to end women’s oppression. One possible way to understand ‘woman’ in this claim is to take it as a sex term: ‘woman’ picks out human females and being a human female depends on various anatomical features (like genitalia). Historically many feminists have understood ‘woman’ differently: not as a sex term, but as a gender term that depends on social and cultural factors (like social position). In so doing, they distinguished sex (being female or male) from gender (...) (being a woman or a man), although most ordinary language users appear to treat the two interchangeably. More recently this distinction has come under sustained attack and many view it nowadays with (at least some) suspicion. This entry (around 12 000 words in length) outlines and discusses distinctly feminist debates on sex and gender. (shrink)
Jerry Fodor's argument for an innate language of thought continues to be a hurdle for researchers arguing that natural languages provide us with richer conceptual systems than our innate cognitive resources. I argue that because the logical/formal terms of natural languages are given a usetheory of meaning, unlike predicates, logical/formal terms might be learned without a mediating internal representation. In that case, our innate representational system might have less logical structure than a natural language, making it possible that (...) we augment our innate representational system and improve our ability to think by learning a natural language. (shrink)
The second-language teacher education community has become increasingly interested in the moral dimensions of teaching. Herein ELT practitioners? ?moral knowledge base?, as a window into their mental lives, has not received the attention it deserves. The present study was conducted to document likely differences between the frequencies of pedagogical and moral thought units of male and female, experienced and less experienced teachers, and to look deeply into participants? moral thought categories. Forty teachers participated in the project. Data were collected (...) through the use of stimulated recall protocol. The analyses of the data show that there are differences in the number of pedagogical and moral thoughts teachers recall. As to teachers? moral knowledge base, seven moral categories emerged with ?Teachers as Moral Agents? being the most frequently recalled category. Gender and experience were found to affect the order and the frequency of the thought categories teachers produced in different groups. The top thought categories for experienced and less experienced, female and male teachers were identified to be Student Problem, Teachers as Moral Agents, Student Problem and Student Manner respectively. (shrink)
Could it ever be right to say that a language—as opposed to a speaker of the language—makes, or presupposes or somehow commits itself to certain claims? Such as that certain kinds of objects exist, or that things are a certain way? It can be tempting to think not, to think that languages are just the neutral media through which speakers make claims. Yet certain, surprisingly diverse, phenomena—analyticity, racial epithets, object-involving direct reference, arithmetic, and semantic paradoxes like the Liar—have (...) pushed philosophers towards views according to which languages can have presuppositions or commitments of their own—to things like the existence of numbers, the marital status of bachelors, the existence of water, and even to contradictions or morally abhorrent views. In this paper I want to present some recent data from linguistics that supports a less commonly discussed, and rather surprising version of this idea: namely that English presupposes the existence of locations or places. In section one I do some work to clarify what this claim could possibly mean by identifying some central ways in which languages have been thought to presuppose various things about the world. In section two I present the core of the linguistic data and theory from the work of Susan Rothstein. In section three I compare it to some older work by David Kaplan, arguing that the significance of the new results is greater for the issue at hand, and then in the final section I examine the philosophical significance of this work. One might attempt to draw quite impressive conclusions: such as that the existence of space is analytic, and hence a priori. I will argue that such a conclusion here would be over hasty, and that what we really have is just a surprising fact about our not-so-neutral natural language. (shrink)
This paper suggests that Lenski's classification of agrarian societies into simple versus advanced, based on the use of iron in the latter, obscures important variations in the gender division of labor and the level of gender stratification. In particular, his categories lump the gender egalitarian irrigated rice societies of Southeast Asia with the great majority of agrarian societies, which are strongly patriarchal. Based on my general theory of gender stratification and experience coding and analyzing gender stratification in the ethnographic databases (...) and fieldwork in 39 countries worldwide, I propose a three-category alternative. First, agrarian societies are divided according to the technological criterion of irrigation into dry (rain-fed) and wet (irrigated rice) categories. This distinguishes two gender divisions of labor: a male farming system in dry agrarian and an "everybody works" system in labor-intensive rice cultivation, in which women are important in production. Second, irrigated rice societies are divided into patri-oriented-male advantage and those neutral to positive for women, based on the nature of the kinship system. This distinguishes the gender egalitarian Southeast Asian wet rice societies from the highly gender stratified majority of irrigated rice societies. Furthermore, these distinctions in gender equality are predicted by my gender stratification theory. (shrink)
This paper contributes to the debate about ‘tenseless languages’ by defending a tensed analysis of a superficially tenseless language. The language investigated is St’át’imcets (Lillooet Salish). I argue that although St’át’imcets lacks overt tense morphology, every finite clause in the language possesses a phonologically covert tense morpheme; this tense morpheme restricts the reference time to being non-future. Future interpretations, as well as ‘past future’ would-readings, are obtained by the combination of covert tense with an operator analogous to (...) Abusch’s (1985) WOLL. I offer St’át’imcets-internal evidence (of a kind not previously adduced) that the WOLL-like operator is modal in nature. It follows from the analysis presented here that there are only two (probably related) differences between St’át’imcets and English in the area of tense. The first is that St’át’imcets lacks tense morphemes which are pronounced. The second is that the St’át’imcets tense morpheme is semantically underspecified compared to English ones. In each of these respects, the St’át’imcets tense morpheme displays similar properties to pronouns, which may be covert and which may fail to distinguish person, number or gender. Along the way, I point out several striking and subtle similarities in the interpretive possibilities of St’át’imcets and English. I suggest that these similarities may reveal non-accidental properties of tense systems in natural language. I conclude with discussion of the implications of the analysis for cross-linguistic variation, learnability and the possible existence of tenseless languages. (shrink)
Most of the estimated 855 million people in the world (one sixth of the population) without access to schooling are women and girls. Two thirds of the 110 million school age children not in school are girls (UNGEI, 2002). This injustice has been a focus of attempts at coordinated international policy interventions since the 1990s, sometimes loosely referred to as the Education for All (EFA) movement. The first of the millennium development targets - gender equity in education - is supposed (...) to be reached by 2005, but it is widely acknowledged that it will be missed. A number of different social theories underpin the EFA policies. By the late 1990s a widespread consensus was emerging that the concept of rights provided a fruitful theoretical, political and policy way forward on this issues. Policy documents and declarations took on a language of rights, which supplanted earlier ideas of basic needs and gender interests. In these documents rights appeared isomorphic with the more philosophically developed versions of basic needs and gender interests in the work on capabilities undertaken by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. (shrink)
: The author investigates the notion of linguistic meaning in gender research. She approaches this basic problem by drawing upon two very different conceptions of language and meaning: (1) that of the logician Gottlob Frege and (2) that of the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. Motivated by the controversial response the Anglo-American sex/gender debate received within the German context, the author focuses on the connection between this epistemological controversy among feminists and two discursive traditions of linguistic meaning (analytic philosophy and (...) poststructuralism), to show how philosophy of language can contribute to current feminist debates. (shrink)
Function refers to a broad family of concepts of varying abstractness and range of application, from a many-one mathematical relation of great generality to, for example, highly specialized roles of designed elements in complex machines such as degaussing in a television set, or contributory processes to control mechanisms in complex metabolic pathways, such as the inhibitory function of the appropriate part of the lac-operon on the production of lactase through its action on the genome in the absence of lactose. We (...) would like a language broad enough, neutral enough, but yet powerful enough to cover all such cases, and at the same time to give a framework form explanation both of the family resemblances and differences. General logic and mathematics are too abstract, but more importantly, too broad, whereas other discourses of function, such as the biological and teleological contexts, are too narrow. Information is especially suited since it is mathematically grounded, but also has a wellknown physical interpretation through the Schr dinger/Brillouin Negentropy Principle of Information, and an engineering or design interpretation through Shannon's communication theory. My main focus will be on the functions of autonomous anticipatory systems, but I will try to demonstrate both the connections between this notion of function and the others, especially to dynamical systems with a physical interpretation on the one side and intentional systems on the other. The former are based in concepts like force, energy and work, while the latter involve notions like representation, control and purpose, traditionally, at least in Modern times, on opposite sides of the Cartesian divide. In principle, information can be reduced to energy, but it has the advantage of being more flexible, and easier to apply to higher level phenomena. (shrink)
Judith Butler reflects upon the relationship between women and materiality in the context of the history of philosophy. She points to the presumption of the material irreducibility of sex as the ground of feminist epistemology and ethics and analyses of gender. She also finds a similarity between Aristotle's principles of formativity and intelligibility and Foucault's discussion of how discourse materializes bodies. While Butler's analysis reveals much about the history of philosophy with regard to the discourse on matter and women, nonetheless, (...) she appears to begin with the notion of bodies as largely passive, even negative entities. Addition ally, her analysis also implies that principles of formativity and intel ligibility are historically contingent. This essay seeks to undermine those two positions in preparation for inaugurating a positive theory of fluid structures. Key Words: Aristotle Butler contingency feminism Foucault history language materiality power. (shrink)
Many critics have attempted to give an account of a gendered incarnation of Dasein in response to Heidegger’s “neutral” or “asexual” interpretation. In this paper,I suggest gendered readings of Dasein are potentially misleading. I argue Dasein is gendered only to the extent that “the Anyone” (das Man)—understood as relational background of social practices, institutions, and languages—constitutes the space or “clearing” (Lichtung) of intelligibility. However, this reading misrepresents the core motivation of Heidegger’s early project, namely to arrive at “temporality” (Zeitlichkeit) as (...) the original source of any intelligibility whatsoever. For Heidegger, Dasein is to be understood in terms of the twofold movement of being “thrown” into the Past (Vergangenheit) and “projecting” into the Future (Zukunft). It is only the basis of the neutral temporal structures of “thrown projection” that beings can emerge-into-presence as such, enabling us to make sense of our Present (Gegenwart) gendered practices in the first place. (shrink)
In previous analyses of the influence of language on cognition, speech has been the main channel examined. In studies conducted among Yucatec Mayas, efforts to determine the preferred frame of reference in use in this community have failed to reach an agreement (Bohnemeyer & Stolz, 2006; Levinson, 2003 vs. Le Guen, 2006, 2009). This paper argues for a multimodal analysis of language that encompasses gesture as well as speech, and shows that the preferred frame of reference in Yucatec (...) Maya is only detectable through the analysis of co-speech gesture and not through speech alone. A series of experiments compares knowledge of the semantics of spatial terms, performance on nonlinguistic tasks and gestures produced by men and women. The results show a striking gender difference in the knowledge of the semantics of spatial terms, but an equal preference for a geocentric frame of reference in nonverbal tasks. In a localization task, participants used a variety of strategies in their speech, but they all exhibited a systematic preference for a geocentric frame of reference in their gestures. (shrink)
Although there is a deep channel dividing British philosophy of religion from French thought associated with poststructuralism, much is to be gained from communication between the two. In this paper I explore three central areas of difference: the understanding of the subject, of language, and of God/religion. In each case I show that continental philosophy pursues these areas in ways which make issues of gender central to their understanding; and suggest that, while continental thought is neither monolithic nor beyond (...) criticism, its understandings of difference are of great value to religious thought. (shrink)
Suppose that a physical duplicate of me, right down to the arrangements of subatomic particles, comes into existence at the time at which I finish this sentence. Suppose that it comes into existence by chance, or at least by a causal process entirely unconnected with me. It might be so situated that it, too, is seated in front of a computer, and finishes this paragraph and paper, or a corresponding one, just as I do. (i) Would it have the same (...) thoughts I do? (ii) Would it speak my language? (iii) Would my duplicate have any thoughts or (iv) speak any language at all? To fix the interpretation of these questions, I will take ‘thought’ to cover any mental state which has a representational content, where ‘representational content’ is intended to be neutral with respect to psychological mode. By 'psychological mode' I mean what distinguishes kinds of thoughts, such as belief, visual perceptual experience, desire, etc. Representational content, or thought content, as I will also say, determines the conditions under which a thought is true or false, veridical or non-veridical, or, more broadly, is satisfied or fails to be satisfied, independently of relativization to circumstances, possible worlds, or the like. Beliefs, desires, hopes, intentions, and perceptual experiences will all count as thoughts on this usage. The question whether one person has the same (type of) thought as another is the question whether both have a mental state with the same representational content in the same psychological mode. I will not count epistemic verbs, however, as picking out or expressing a (pure) psychological mode. Thus, although knowing that the time is ripe, seeing that there is a goldfinch in the garden, and remembering that my wife’s birthday is next Tuesday are all thoughts, they do not pick out the thoughts by using a verb that expresses a psychological mode. Therefore knowing, seeing or remembering the same things is not a requirement on having the same thoughts.. (shrink)
By a fragment of a natural language we mean a subset of thatlanguage equipped with semantics which translate its sentences intosome formal system such as first-order logic. The familiar conceptsof satisfiability and entailment can be defined for anysuch fragment in a natural way. The question therefore arises, for anygiven fragment of a natural language, as to the computational complexityof determining satisfiability and entailment within that fragment. Wepresent a series of fragments of English for which the satisfiabilityproblem is polynomial, (...) NP-complete, EXPTIME-complete,NEXPTIME-complete and undecidable. Thus, this paper represents a casestudy in how to approach the problem of determining the logicalcomplexity of various natural language constructions. In addition, wedraw some general conclusions about the relationship between naturallanguage and formal logic. (shrink)
The use of “inclusive language” in Christian discourse poses the question of whether gender is theologically salient in the sense of either revealing theologically significant differences between men and women or prescribing different roles for them.
We examined the role of ﬁtness, commonly assumed without proof to be conferred by the mastery of language, in shaping the dynamics of language evolution. To that end, we introduced island migration (a concept borrowed from population genetics) into the shared lexicon model of communication (Nowak et al., 1999). The effect of ﬁtness linear in language coherence was compared to a control condition of neutral drift. We found that in the neutral condition (no coherence-dependent ﬁtness) even a (...) small migration rate – less than 1% – sufﬁces for one language to become dominant, albeit after a long time. In comparison, when ﬁtness-based selection is introduced, the subpopulations stabilize quite rapidly to form several distinct languages. Our ﬁndings support the notion that language confers increased ﬁtness. The possibility that a shared language evolved as a result of neutral drift appears less likely, unless migration rates over evolutionary times were extremely small. (shrink)
In German, nouns are assigned to one of the three gender classes. For most animal names, however, the assignment is independent of the referent’s biological sex. We examined whether German-speaking children understand this independence of grammar from semantics or whether they assume that grammatical gender is mapped onto biological sex when drawing inferences about sex-specific biological properties of animals. Two cross-linguistic studies comparing German-speaking and Japanese-speaking preschoolers were conducted. The results suggest that German-speaking children utilize grammatical gender as a cue (...) for inferences about sex-specific properties of animals. Further, we found that Japanese- and German-speaking children recruit different resources when drawing inferences about sex-specific properties: Whereas Japanese children paralleled their pattern of inference about properties common to all animals, German children relied on the grammatical gender class of the animal. Implications of these findings for studying the relation between language and thought are discussed. (shrink)
To clarify Wittgenstein's status as an analytic philosopher, we must study his use of the expressions 'language', 'grammar', etc. We tend to take 'language' as an abstract mass-noun and to generalize quite specific remarks. We overlook the possibility of taking 'our grammar' to refer to our particular description of the use of words rather than to what we describe. Preserving the ambiguity of 'Sprache' between language and speech calls for a neutral translation, e.g. 'what we say'. Wittgenstein's (...) 'descriptions of the grammar of our language' are more varied and purpose-specific than usually recognized. (shrink)
The relationship between constitutional secularism and gender equality acquires peculiar dimensions in the context of the laïcité project in republican France – particularly, in the contemporary conflict between a laïcité interpreted as a politics of emancipatory social transformation, and the more minimalist liberal conception prevailing in French law. The dominant narrative in the republican establishment, shared between left and right, has been that laïcité will lead to gender emancipation not only by dissolving any sectarian dimensions of women’s citizenship – that (...) is, by sustaining a religiously neutral public sphere – but also, by preventing the domination as well as the coercion of religious choice in the intimate and private spheres of family and community. In this narrative, laïcité represents a more ambitious project of gender emancipation than that promised by the liberalisms more redolent of the Anglo-American world. The apogee of this expansionary interpretation of constitutional secularism is expressed in the 2004 prohibition on conspicuous markers of religious affiliation in the public schools, and the recent debate on the ‘full’ Islamic veil. This article considers the relationship of laïcité to gender equality through the lens of the broader theoretical debate surrounding the relationship of political liberalism to the politics of non-domination. The elusive challenge is to craft a constitutional secularism that can sustain a viable politics of non-domination – going beyond the formalist voluntarism redolent of classical liberalisms, offering undominated as well as uncoerced religious choice – yet also avoiding an overzealous emancipatory stance that itself assumes a regulative role for women’s religious choices. (shrink)
For a long time the human sciences have debated the relationship between social structures--the group, and subjectivity--the individual, with much of the debate centering round areas such as identity, (gender, race, sexuality), discourse, (talk, conversation, the limits of language), and therapy. This book, by a well-known and highly respected academic in the cross-cutting fields of gender studies, therapy, and psychoanalysis, brings together important material on these debates, and provides a substantial contribution to theory on the relationships between psychology, psychotherapy, (...) and social theory. (shrink)
I offer a synoptic account of some chief parameters of language and its relationship to communication and to thought, distinguishing in the process between semantical and pragmatic dimensions of utterance.
On ethics and gender -- Feminism as an ethics of gender -- Is ethics a man's subject? -- The matter of bodies -- The subject of language -- The power of agency -- Engendering ethics -- Conceiving of difference -- Subjected in hope -- For love of God.
EVERY speaker of a language knows a bewildering variety of linguistic facts, and will come to know many more. It is knowledge that connects sound and meaning. Questions about the nature of this knowledge cannot be separated from fundamental questions about the nature of language. The conception of language we should adopt depends on the part it plays in explaining our knowledge of language. This chapter explores options in accounting for language, and our knowledge of (...)language, and defends the view that individuals’ languages are constituted by the standing knowledge they carry from one speech situation to another. (shrink)
Neutral monism is a position in metaphysics defended by Mach, James, and Russell in the early twentieth century. It holds that minds and physical objects are essentially two different orderings of the same underlying neutral elements of nature. This paper sets out some of the central concepts, theses and the historical background of ideas that inform this doctrine of elements. The discussion begins with the classic neutral monism of Mach, James, and Russell in the first part of the paper, then (...) considers recent neo-Russellian versions in the second half. The chances for a revival of neutral monism are probably slight; its key ideas and starting points lie far from those in contemporary philosophy of mind. A better route might be through the philosophy of science and a deeper understanding of causation. (shrink)
This English translation of Vom Wesen der Sprache, volume 85 of Martin Heidegger's Gesamtausgabe, contains fascinating discussions of language that are important both for those interested in Heidegger's thought and for those who wish to ...
Philosophy of Language introduces the non-specialist to the main issues and theories in twentieth-century philosophy of language, focusing specifically on linguistic phenomena. Part I explores several theories of how proper names, descriptions, and other terms bear a referential relation to non-linguistic objects. Part II surveys competing theories of linguistic meaning and compares their various advantages and liabilities. Part III introduces the basic concepts of linguistic pragmatics, includes a detailed discussion of the problems of indirect force, and Part IV (...) examines linguistic theories of metaphor. (shrink)
Professor Hilary Putnam has been one of the most influential and sharply original of recent American philosophers in a whole range of fields. His most important published work is collected here, together with several new and substantial studies, in two volumes. The first deals with the philosophy of mathematics and of science and the nature of philosophical and scientific enquiry; the second deals with the philosophy of language and mind. Volume one is now issued in a new edition, including (...) an essay on the philosophy of logic first published in 1971. (shrink)
Language of thought theories fall primarily into two views. The first view sees the language of thought as an innate language known as mentalese, which is hypothesized to operate at a level below conscious awareness while at the same time operating at a higher level than the neural events in the brain. The second view supposes that the language of thought is not innate. Rather, the language of thought is natural language. So, as an (...) English speaker, my language of thought would be English. My goal is to defend the second view. My methodology will see the project broken down into three major areas. First I will show that human thinking requires a language of thought, after which I will highlight some problems with assuming that this language is innate and hidden. Included in this section will be a small introduction to the compatibility problem. The compatibility problem offers some obvious difficulties for mentalese theories and these will be discussed. The next stage of the project will focus on evidence that can be put forward in support of the claim that natural language is the language of thought. Our most direct source of evidence comes from introspection, and this will play a dominant role in the discussion. The final part of the thesis will involve an examination of the principle arguments that have been put forward against the idea that natural language is the language of thought. My goal will be to show that these arguments do not entail the existence of mentalese, nor do they show that natural language is not the language of thought. I will provide answers to the arguments, and will explain the phenomena they point to in terms of natural language being the language of thought. (shrink)
The new Chomskian orthodoxy denies that our linguistic competence gives us knowledge *of* a language, and that the representations in the language faculty are representations *of* anything. In reply, I have argued that through their intuitions speaker/hearers, (but not their language faculties) have knowledge of language, though not of any externally existing language. In order to count as knowledge, these intuitions must track linguistic facts represented in the language faculty. I defend this idea against (...) the objections Collins has raised to such an account. (shrink)
Donald Davidson's account of interpretation purports to be a priori , though I argue that the empirical facts about interpretation, theory of mind, and autism must be considered when examining the merits of Davidson's view. Developmental psychologists have made plausible claims about the existence of some people with autism who use language but who are unable to interpret the minds of others. This empirical claim undermines Davidson's theoretical claims that all speakers must be interpreters of other speakers and that (...) one need not be a speaker in order to be a thinker. The falsity of these theses has consequences for other parts of Davidson's world-view; for example, it undermines his argument against animal thought. (shrink)
It is often observed in metaethics that moral language displays a certain duality in as much as it seems to concern both objective facts in the world and subjective attitudes that move to action. In this paper, I defend The Dual Aspect Account which is intended to capture this duality: A person’s utterance of a sentence according to which φing has a moral characteristic, such as “φing is wrong,” conveys two things: The sentence expresses, in virtue of its conventional (...) meaning, the belief that φing has a moral property, and the utterance of the sentence carries a generalized conversational implicature to the effect that the person in question has an action-guiding attitude in relation to φing. This account has significant advantages over competing views: (i) As it is purely cognitivist, it does not have the difficulties of expressivism and various ecumenical positions. (ii) Yet, in spite of this, it can explain the close, “meaning-like,” connection between moral language and attitudes. (iii) In contrast to other pragmatic accounts, it is compatible with any relevant cognitivist view. (iv) It does not rest on a contentious pragmatic notion, such as conventional implicature. (v) It does not imply that utterances of complex moral sentences, such as conditionals, convey attitudes. In addition, the generalized implicature in question is fully calculable and cancellable. (shrink)
Arguments from the Logical Problem of Language Acquisition suggest that since linguistic experience provides few negative data that would falsify overgeneral grammatical hypotheses, innate knowledge of the principles of Universal Grammar must constrain learners hypothesis formulation. Although this argument indicates a need for domain-specific constraints, it does not support their innateness. Learning from mostly positive data proceeds unproblematically in virtually all domains. Since not every domain can plausibly be accorded its own special faculty, the probative value of the argument (...) in the linguistic case is dubious. In ignoring the holistic and probablistic nature of theory construction, the argument underestimates the extent to which positive data can supply negative evidence and hence overestimates the intractability of language learning in the absence of a dedicated faculty. While nativism about language remains compelling, the alleged Logical Problem contributes nothing to its plausibility and the emphasis on the Problem in the recent acquisition literature has been a mistake. (shrink)
Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...) motivations for, and central assumptions of, social objectivism. I then propose that gender is better understood as a real kind with a historical essence, analogous to the biologist’s claim that species are historical entities. I argue that this proposal achieves a better solution to the problems that motivate social objectivism. Moreover, the account is consistent with a post-positivist understanding of the classificatory practices employed within the natural and social sciences. (shrink)
In his latest book, Michael Devitt rejects Chomsky’s mentalist conception of linguistics. The case against Chomsky is based on two principal claims. First, that we can separate the study of linguistic competence from the study of its outputs: only the latter belongs to linguistic inquiry. Second, Chomsky’s account of a speaker’s competence as consisiting in the mental representation of rules of a grammar for his language is mistaken. I shall argue, fi rst, that Devitt fails to make a case (...) for separating the study of outputs from the study of competence, and second, that Devitt mis-characterises Chomsky’s account of competence, and so his objections miss their target. Chomsky’s own views come close to a denial that speaker’s have knowledge of their language. But a satisfactory account of what speakers are able to do will need to ascribe them linguistic knowledge that they use to speak and understand. I shall explore a conception of speaker’s knowledge of language that confi rms Chomsky’s mentalist view of linguistics but which is immune to Devitt’s criticisms. (shrink)
This paper discusses Wittgenstein's ideas about the relation between thought, neurophysiology and language, and about the mental capacities of non-linguistic animals. It deals with his initial espousal and later rejection of a 'language of thought', his arguments against the idea that thought requires a medium of images or words, his reasons for resisting the encephalocentric conception of the mind which dominates contemporary philosophy of mind, his mature views about the connection between thought and language, and his remarks (...) about animals. The aim is not just to get a clear picture of Wittgenstein's position, but also to contrast it with contemporary approaches such as those of Fodor and Searle. While rejecting some of Wittgenstein's claims about the role of the brain, I defend his basic idea, namely that the capacity for entertaining a thought is conceptually tied to the capacity for displaying that thought in behaviour, rather than to the possession of language as such or to the occurrence of specific neurophysiological phenomena. (shrink)
recent cognitive theories into two antagonistic groups. Sententialists claim that we think in some language, while advocates of non-linguistic views of cognition deny this claim. The Introspective Argument for Sententialism is one of the most appealing arguments for sententialism. In substance, it claims that the introspective fact of inner speech provides strong evidence that our thoughts are linguistic. This article challenges this argument. I claim that the Introspective Argument for Sententialism confuses the content of our thoughts with their vehicles: (...) while sententialism is a thesis about the vehicles of our thoughts, inner speech sentences are the content of auditory or articulatory images. The rebuttal of the introspective argument for sententialism is shown to have a general significance in cognitive science: introspection does not tell us how we think. The problem The introspective argument for sententialism The argument for the blindness of introspection thesis Objections and replies Conclusion. (shrink)
Ever since Chomsky, language has become the paradigmatic example of an innate capacity. Infants of only a few months old are aware of the phonetic structure of their mother tongue, such as stress-patterns and phonemes. They can already discriminate words from non-words and acquire a feel for the grammatical structure months before they voice their first word. Language reliably develops not only in the face of poor linguistic input, but even without it. In recent years, several scholars have (...) extended this uncontroversial view into the stronger claim that natural language is a human-speciﬁc adaptation. As I shall point out, this position is more problematic because of a lack of conceptual clarity over what human-specific cognitive adaptations are, and how they relate to modularity, the notion that mental phenomena arise from several domain-speciﬁc cognitive structures. The main aim of this paper is not to discuss whether or not language is an adaptation, but rather, to examine the concept of modularity with respect to the evolution and development of natural language. . (shrink)
In this textbook, Michael Morris offers a critical introduction to the central issues of the philosophy of language. Each chapter focusses on one or two texts which have had a seminal influence on work in the subject, and uses these as a way of approaching both the central topics and the various traditions of dealing with them. Texts include classic writings by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Quine, Davidson, Austin, Grice and Wittgenstein. Theoretical jargon is kept to a minimum and is (...) fully explained whenever it is introduced. The range of topics covered includes sense and reference, definite descriptions, proper names, natural-kind terms, de re and de dicto necessity, propositional attitudes, truth-theoretical approaches to meaning, radical interpretation, indeterminacy of translation, speech acts, intentional theories of meaning, and scepticism about meaning. The book will be invaluable to students and to all readers who are interested in the nature of linguistic meaning. (shrink)
The construction and analysis of arguments supposedly are a philosopher's main business, the demonstration of truth or refutation of falsehood his principal aim. In Sense and Sensibilia, J.L. Austin does something entirely different: He discusses the sense-datum doctrine of perception, with the aim not of refuting it but of 'dissolving' the 'philosophical worry' it induces in its champions. To this end, he 'exposes' their 'concealed motives', without addressing their stated reasons. The paper explains where and why this at first sight (...) outrageous aim and approach are perfectly sensible, how exactly Austin proceeds, and how his approach can be taken further. This shows Austin to be a pioneer of the currently much discussed notion of philosophy as therapy, reveals a subtle and unfamiliar use of linguistic analysis that is not open to the standard objections to ordinary language philosophy, and yields a novel and forceful treatment of the sense-datum doctrine. (shrink)
The relationship of words to the things they represent and to the mind that forms them has long been the subject of linguistic enquiry. Joseph Graham's challenging book takes this debate into the field of literary theory, making a searching enquiry into the nature of literary representation. It reviews the arguments of Plato's Cratylus on how words signify things, and of Chomsky's theory of the innate "natural" status of language (contrasted with Saussure's notion of its essential arbitrariness). In the (...) process, Graham explores the issues of meaning and intentionality in representation, and questions of how the mind represents the world. Graham's use of linguistic theories and models leads him to a new response to Wimsatt's notion of the verbal icon, Stanley Fish's concept of literature as self-consuming artifact, and de Man's idea of its function as an allegory of reading. In showing them in fact to be complementary, he transcends the current controversies among literary theorists, arguing that the solution lies not in epistemology or philosophy, but in psychology and the study of how literature teaches and why humans learn best by example. (shrink)
Recent philosophy of mind has had a mistaken conception of the nature of psychological concepts. It has assumed too much similarity between psychological judgments and those of natural science and has thus overlooked the fact that other people are not just objects whose thoughts we may try to predict and control but fellow creatures with whom we talk and co-operate. In this collection of essays, Jane Heal argues that central to our ability to arrive at views about others' thoughts is (...) not knowledge of some theory of the mind but rather an ability to imagine alternative worlds and how things appear from another person's point of view. She then applies this view to questions of how we represent others' thoughts, the shape of psychological concepts, the nature of rationality and the possibility of first person authority. This book should appeal to students and professionals in philosophy of mind and language. (shrink)
Draft for Martinich and Hoekstra (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Hobbes. -/- Language was central to Hobbes's understanding of human beings and their mental abilities, and criticism of other philosophers' uses of language became a favorite critical tool for him. This paper connects Hobbes's theories about language to his criticisms of others' language, examining Hobbes's theories of propositions and truth, and how they relate to his claims that various sorts of proposition are absurd. It considers whether Hobbes (...) in fact means anything more by 'absurd' than 'false'. And it pays particular attention to Hobbes's categorization of causes of absurdity and of types of incoherent proposition, arguing that Hobbes's approach is only loosely related to later discussions of category mistakes. (shrink)
We human beings may not be the most admirable species on the planet, or the most likely to survive for another millennium, but we are without any doubt at all the most intelligent. We are also the only species with language. What is the relation between these two obvious facts?
Fodor and Pylyshyn's critique of connectionism has posed a challenge to connectionists: Adequately explain such nomological regularities as systematicity and productivity without postulating a "language of thought" (LOT). Some connectionists like Smolensky took the challenge very seriously, and attempted to meet it by developing models that were supposed to be non-classical. At the core of these attempts lies the claim that connectionist models can provide a representational system with a combinatorial syntax and processes sensitive to syntactic structure. They are (...) not implementation models because, it is claimed, the way they obtain syntax and structure sensitivity is not "concatenative," hence "radically different" from the way classicists handle them. In this paper, I offer an analysis of what it is to physically satisfy/realize a formal system. In this context, I examine the minimal truth-conditions of LOT Hypothesis. From my analysis it will follow that concatenative realization of formal systems is irrelevant to LOTH since the very notion of LOT is indifferent to such an implementation level issue as concatenation. I will conclude that to the extent to which they can explain the law-like cognitive regularities, a certain class of connectionist models proposed as radical alternatives to the classical LOT paradigm will in fact turn out to be LOT models, even though new and potentially very exciting ones. (shrink)
On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. (...) Recently, though, the canon’s neat story has come under attack. The challenge cases involve the epistemic use of a modal sentence for which no single resolution of the contextual parameter appears capable of accommodating all our intuitions.3 According to these revisionaries, such cases show that the canonical story needs to be amended in some way that makes multiple bodies of information relevant to the assessment of such statements. Here I show that how the right canonical, flexibly contextualist account of modals can accommodate the full range of challenge cases. The key will be to extend Kratzer’s formal semantic account with an account of how context selects values for a modal’s.. (shrink)
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, (...) in particular the reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophy and Ordinary Language is a defense of the view that philosophy is largely about questions of language, which to a large extent means ordinary language. Oswald Hanfling, a leading expert in the development of analytic philosophy, covers a wide range of topics, including scepticism and the definition of "knowledge," free will, empiricism, "folk psychology," ordinary versus artificial logic, and philosophy versus science. He also draws on philosophers such as Austin, Wittgenstein, and Quine to explore the nature (...) of ordinary language in philosophy. (shrink)
Many people find themselves dissatisfied with recent linguistic philosophy, and yet know that language has always mattered deeply to philosophy and must in some sense continue to do so. Ian Hacking considers here some dozen case studies in the history of philosophy to show the different ways in which language has been important, and the consequences for the development of the subject. There are chapters on, among others, Hobbes, Berkeley, Russell, Ayer, Wittgenstein, Chomsky, Feyerabend and Davidson. Dr (...)Hacking ends by speculating about the directions in which philosophy and the study of language seem likely to go. The book will provide students with a stimulating, broad survey of problems in the theory of meaning and the development of philosophy, particularly in this century. The topics treated in the philosophy of language are among the central, current concerns of philosophers, and the historical framework makes it possible to introduce concretely and intelligibly all the main theoretical issues. (shrink)
Designed for readers new to the subject, Reading Philosophy of Language presents key texts in the philosophy of language together with helpful editorial guidance. A concise collection of key texts in the philosophy of language Ideal for readers new to the subject. Features seminal texts by leading figures in the field, such as Austin, Chomsky, Davidson, Dummett and Searle. Presents three texts on each of five key topics: speech and performance; meaning and truth; knowledge of language; (...) meaning and compositionality; and non-literal meaning. A volume introduction from the editors outlines the subject’s principal concerns. Introductions to each chapter locate the pieces in context and explain relevant terminology and theories. Interactive commentaries help readers to engage with the texts. (shrink)
The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Language is a collection of twenty new essays in a cutting-edge and wide-ranging field. Surveys central issues in contemporary philosophy of language while examining foundational topics Provides pedagogical tools such as abstracts and suggestions for further readings Topics addressed include the nature of meaning, speech acts and pragmatics, figurative language, and naturalistic theories of reference.
....a notion of 'common, public language' that remains mysterious...useless for any form of theoretical explanation....There is simply no way of making sense of this prong of the externalist theory of meaning and language, as far as I can see, or of any of the work in theory of meaning and philosophy of language that relies on such notions, a statement that is intended to cut rather a large swath. (Chomsky 1995, pp. 48-9) It is a striking fact (...) that despite the constant reliance on some notion of 'community language' or 'abstract language,' there is virtually no attempt to explain what it might be. (Chomsky 1993, p. 39) ....either we must deprive the notion communication of all significance, or else we must reject the view that the purpose of language is communication. ...It is difficult to say what 'the purpose' of language is, except, perhaps, the expression of thought, a rather empty formulation. The functions of language are various. (Chomsky 1980, p. 230) I have yet to see a formulation that makes any sense of the position that "the essence of language is communication." (Chomsky 1980, p. 80; see also 1992b, p 215). (shrink)
According to the “Textbook View,” there is an extensional dispute between consequentialists and deontologists, in virtue of the fact that only the latter defend “agent-relative” principles—principles that require an agent to have a special concern with making sure that she does not perform certain types of action. I argue that, contra the Textbook View, there are agent-neutral versions of deontology. I also argue that there need be no extensional disagreement between the deontologist and consequentialist, as characterized by the Textbook View.
Quine and Davidson are among the leading thinkers of the twentieth century. Their influence on contemporary philosophy is second to none, and their impact is also strongly felt in disciplines such as linguistics and psychology. This is the first book devoted to both of them, but also the first to question some of their basic assumptions. Hans-Johann Glock critically scrutinizes their ideas on ontology, truth, necessity, meaning and interpretation, thought, and language, and shows that their attempts to accommodate meaning (...) and thought within a naturalistic framework, either by impugning them as unclear or by extracting them from physical facts, are ultimately unsuccessful. His discussion includes interesting comparisons of Quine and Davidson with other philosophers, particularly Wittgenstein, and also offers detailed accounts of central issues in contemporary analytic philosophy, such as the nature of truth and of meaning and interpretation, and the relation between thought and language. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan is well known for having developed a strikingly original way for philosophers to seek understanding of mind and language, which she sees as biological phenomena. She now draws together a series of groundbreaking essays which set out her approach to language. Guiding the work of most linguists and philosophers of language today is the assumption that language is governed by prescriptive normative rules. Millikan offers a fundamentally different way of viewing the partial regularities that (...)language displays, comparing them to biological norms that emerge from natural selection. This yields novel and quite radical consequences for our understanding of the nature of public linguistic meaning, the process of language understanding, how children learn language, and the semantics/pragmatics distinction. (shrink)
We rely on language to know the minds of others, but does language have a role to play in knowing our own minds? To suppose it does is to look for a connection between mastery of a language and the epistemic relation we bear to our inner lives. What could such a connection consist in? To explore this, I shall examine strategies for explaining self-knowledge in terms of the use we make of language to express and (...) report our mental states. Success in these strategies will depend on the view we take of speakers' understanding of the words they use to speak their minds. The key is to avoid circularity in the account of how they know what they mean; for if knowing what one is saying in speaking a language provides a means of knowing one's own mind, it cannot simply be a part of it. I shall look at ways in which we might proceed here, and examine whether the strategy can make room for a genuinely first-person point of view. But first let me try to motivate the problem of self-knowledge. (shrink)
The phenomena of human consciousness and subjectivity are explored from the perspective of affect-logic, a comprehensive meta-theory of the interactions between emotion and cognition based mainly on cognitive and social psychology, psychopathology, neurobiology Piaget?s genetic epistemology, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary science. According to this theory, overt or covert affective-cognitive interactions are obligatorily present in all mental activity, seemingly ?neutral? thinking included. Emotions continually exert numerous so-called operator-effects, both linear and nonlinear, on attention, on memory and on comprehensive thought, or logic in (...) a broad sense. They deeply ?affect? also consciousness and subjectivity, as showed by the analysis of four crucially involved phenomena, namely (1) attention, (2) abstraction, (3) language, and (4) the prevailing affective state. The conclusion is that neither consciousness nor subjectiovity can be adequately understood without fully considering their emotional aspects. (shrink)
What language allows us to do is to "steal" categories quickly and effortlessly through hearsay instead of having to earn them the hard way, through risky and time-consuming sensorimotor "toil" (trial-and-error learning, guided by corrective feedback from the consequences of miscategorisation). To make such linguistic "theft" possible, however, some, at least, of the denoting symbols of language must first be grounded in categories that have been earned through sensorimotor toil (or else in categories that have already been "prepared" (...) for us through Darwinian theft by the genes of our ancestors); it cannot be linguistic theft all the way down. The symbols that denote categories must be grounded in the capacity to sort, label and interact with the proximal sensorimotor projections of their distal category-members in a way that coheres systematically with their semantic interpretations, both for individual symbols, and for symbols strung together to express truth-value-bearing propositions. (shrink)
We consider the notion of everyday language. We claim that everyday language is semantically bounded by the properties expressible in the existential fragment of second–order logic. Two arguments for this thesis are formulated. Firstly, we show that so–called Barwise's test of negation normality works properly only when assuming our main thesis. Secondly, we discuss the argument from practical computability for finite universes. Everyday language sentences are directly or indirectly verifiable. We show that in both cases they are (...) bounded by second–order existential properties. Moreover, there are known examples of everyday language sentences which are the most difficult in this class (NPTIME–complete). (shrink)
"Fortune is a woman, and if you want to keep her under, you've got to knock her around some."--Niccolò Machiavelli Hanna Pitkin's provocative and enduring study of Machiavelli was the first to systematically place gender at the center of its exploration of his political thought. In this edition, Pitkin adds a new afterword, in which she discusses the book's critical reception and situates the book's arguments in the context of recent interpretations of Machiavelli's thought. "A close and often brilliant exegesis (...) of Machiavelli's writings."-- The American Political Science Review. (shrink)
The ‘Ordinary Language’ philosophy of the early 20th century is widely thought to have failed. It is identified with the broader so-called ‘linguistic turn’, a common criticism of which is captured by Devitt and Sterelny (1999), who quip: “When the naturalistic philosopher points his finger at reality, the linguistic philosopher discusses the finger.” (p 280) The implication is that according to ‘linguistic’ philosophy, we are not to study reality or truth or morality etc, but the meaning of the words (...) ‘reality’, ‘truth’, ‘morality’ etc. Ordinary Language philosophy has fallen so thoroughly into disrepute because it is supposed to advocate that not only are we to study words and meanings rather than the phenomena themselves (which is apparently bad enough), but we must restrict that study to words and meanings as they occur in the language used by the ordinary speaker. A number of preposterous corollaries have been taken to follow from this view. Most seriously, perhaps, and irritatingly, is that any theory which contains ‘non-ordinary’ uses of expressions is thereby ‘meaningless’ or simply false – which is clearly absurd. In this paper I show that this is a completely inaccurate picture of Ordinary Language philosophy. My aim is to correct these persistent misinterpretations, and make possible a more sensible reassessment of the philosophy. (shrink)
The Chomskian revolution in linguistics gave rise to a new orthodoxy about mind and language. Michael Devitt throws down a provocative challenge to that orthodoxy. What is linguistics about? What role should linguistic intuitions play in constructing grammars? What is innate about language? Is there a 'language faculty'? These questions are crucial to our developing understanding of ourselves; Michael Devitt offers refreshingly original answers. He argues that linguistics is about linguistic reality and is not part of psychology; (...) that linguistic rules are not represented in the mind; that speakers are largely ignorant of their language; that speakers' intuitions do not reflect information supplied by the language faculty and are not the main evidence for grammars; that the rules of 'Universal Grammar' are largely, if not entirely, innate structure rules of thought; indeed, that there is little or nothing to the language faculty. Devitt's controversial theses will prove highly stimulating to anyone working on language and the mind. (shrink)
In an influential critique, Jerry Fodor and Zenon Pylyshyn point to the existence of a potentially devastating dilemma for connectionism (Fodor and Pylyshyn ). Either connectionist models consist in mere associations of unstructured representations, or they consist in processes involving complex representations. If the former, connectionism is mere associationism, and will not be capable of accounting for very much of cognition. If the latter, then connectionist models concern only the implementation of cognitive processes, and are, therefore, not informative at the (...) level of cognition. I shall argue that Fodor and Pylyshyn's argument is based on a crucial misunderstanding, the same misunderstanding which motivates the entire language of thought hypothesis. (shrink)
This paper attempts to explain why Heidegger's thought has evoked both positive and negative reactions of such an extreme nature by focussing on his answer to the central methodological question “What is Philosophy?” After briefly setting forth Heidegger‟s answer in terms of attunement to Being, the centrality to it of his view of language and by focussing on his relationship with the word "philosophy‟ and with the history of philosophy, the author shows how it has led Heidegger to construct (...) his own work, itself linguistic, as a self-referential union of form and meaning. It is suggested that, from a Heideggerian perspective, this gives his work added argumentative force but, conversely, allows the critic no point of entry into his hermeneutical circle – hence the extreme reactions. This observation is then applied to address a related critical question; it is used to make sense of the apparent distinction, in Heidegger's work, between talking about attunement to Being and actually effecting such an attunement. The author argues that, for Heidegger, there is actually no distinction and that his apparent descriptions of attunement to Being at once describe and effect such an attunement. This union can therefore be conceived as one dimension of the intimacy, previously observed, between form and content and which is recognised to be a feature of Heidegger‟s work by both the acolyte and the critic. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a _prima facie_ tension between our commonsense conception of ourselves as thinkers and the connectionist programme for modelling cognitive processes. The language of thought hypothesis plays a pivotal role. The connectionist paradigm is opposed to the language of thought; and there is an argument for the language of thought that draws on features of the commonsense scheme of thoughts, concepts, and inference. Most of the paper (Sections 3-7) is taken (...) up with the argument for the language of thought hypothesis. The argument for an opposition between connectionism and the language of thought comes towards the end (Section 8), along with some discussion of the potential eliminativist consequences (Sections 9 and. (shrink)
In this chapter I shall examine some of Johann Georg Hamann’s claims about how philosophers misuse, misunderstand, and are misled by language. I will then examine how he anticipates things that Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig Wittgenstein say on this topic.
Evolutionary psychology purports to explain human capacities as adaptations to an ancestral environment. A complete explanation of human language or human reasoning as adaptations depends on assessing an historical claim, that these capacities evolved under the pressure of natural selection and are prevalent because they provided systematic advantages to our ancestors. An outline of the character of the information needed in order to offer complete adaptation explanations is drawn from Robert Brandon (1990), and explanations offered for the evolution of (...)language and reasoning within evolutionary psychology are evaluated. Pinker and Bloom's (1992) defense of human language as an adaptation for verbal communication, Robert Nozick's (1993) account of the evolutionary origin of rationality, and Cosmides and Tooby's (1992) explanation of human reasoning as an adaptation for social exchange, are discussed in light of what is known, and what is not known, about the history of human evolution. In each case, though a plausible case is made that these capacities are adaptations, there is not enough known to offer even a semblance of an explanation of the origin of these capacities. These explanations of the origin of human thought and language are simply speculations lacking the kind of detailed historical information required for an evolutionary explanation of an adaptation. (shrink)