Why is mutual understanding between two substantially different comprehensive language communities often problematic and even unattainable? To answer this question, the author first introduces a notion of presuppositional languages. Based on the semantic structure of a presuppositional language, the author identifies a significant condition necessary for effective understanding of a language: the interpreter is able to effectively understand a language only if he/she is able to recognize and comprehend its metaphysical presuppositions. The essential role of (...) the knowledge of metaphysical presuppositions in understanding is further strengthened by developing a truth-value conditional theory of understanding. It is concluded that if the interpreter approaches an incompatible alien language from the standpoint of the interpreter's own language by projecting the metaphysical presuppositions of his/her own language upon the alien language, then the mutual understanding between the two language communities is doomed to failure. (shrink)
In this paper, after outlining the methodological role Wittgenstein's appeal to language-games is supposed to play, I examine the picture of language which his discussion of such games and their relations to what Wittgenstein calls forms of life suggests. It is a picture according to which language and its employment are inextricably connected to wider contexts—they are embedded in specific natural and social environments, they are tied to purposive activities serving provincial needs, and caught up in distinctive (...) ways of life which creatures of a certain sort enjoy. In the remainder of the paper, I consider whether Wittgenstein's emphasis on the link between language and the circumstances surrounding its use points in the direction of an influential view widespread in contemporary philosophy of language, namely, semantic contextualism. I examine carefully a number of passages which scholars have appealed to in support of the claim that Wittgenstein advances contextualism and argue that they in fact provide no such support. The connection which Wittgenstein sees between what is expressed in the use of words and the circumstances in which they are used is not the connection the contextualist insists on. (shrink)
Against the received translation-failure interpretation, this book presents a presuppositional interpretation of incommensurability, that is, the thesis of incommensurability as cross-language communication breakdown due to the incompatible metaphysical presuppositions underlying two competing presuppositional languages, such as scientific languages. This semantically sound, epistemologically well-established, and metaphysically profound interpretation not only affirms the tenability of the notion of incommensurability and confirms the reality of the phenomenon of incommensurability, but also makes some significant contributions to the discussion of many related (...) issues, such as the notion of conceptual schemes, the notion of truth-value status and truth-value conditions, and the issue of cross-language understanding and communication. (shrink)
Aim of the lectures -- Early Brahmanical literature -- Panini's grammar -- A passage from the Chandogya Upanisad -- The structures of languages -- The Buddhist contribution -- Vaisesika and language -- Verbal knowledge -- The contradictions of Nagarjuna -- The reactions of other thinkers -- Sarvastivada Samkhya -- The Agamasastra of Gaudapada -- Sankara -- Kashmiri Saivism -- Jainism -- Early Vaisesika -- Critiques of the existence of a thing before its arising -- Nyaya -- Mimamsa -- (...) The Abhidharmakosa bhasya of Vasubandhu -- The Abhidharmasamuccaya of Asanga and its bhasya -- Bhartrhari -- The problem of negation -- Dignaga and verbal knowledge -- The Bodhisattvabhumi -- Prajnakaragupta -- Indian thinkers and the correspondence principle -- Appendix. The Mahaprajnaparamitasastra and the Samkhya tanmatras. (shrink)
In this paper we study the semantic data complexity of several controlled fragments of English designed for natural language front-ends to OWL (Web Ontology Language) and description logic ontology-based systems. Controlled languages are fragments of natural languages, obtained by restricting natural language syntax, vocabulary and semantics with the goal of eliminating ambiguity. Semantic complexity arises from the formal logic modelling of meaning in natural language and fragments thereof. It can be characterized as the computational (...) complexity of the reasoning problems associated to their semantic representations. Data complexity (the complexity of answering a question over an ontology, stated in terms of the data items stored therein), in particular, provides a measure of the scalability of controlled languages to ontologies, since tractable data complexity implies scalability of data access. We present maximal tractable controlled languages and minimal intractable controlled languages. (shrink)
Serendipities is a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, a brilliant exposition of how unanticipated truths often spring from false ideas. From Leibniz's belief that the I Ching illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Umberto Eco offers a dazzling tour of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange to make sense of the world. Uncovering layers of mistakes that have shaped human history, Eco (...) offers with wit and clarity such instances as Columbus's voyage to the New World, the fictions that grew around the Rosicrucians and Knights Templar, and the linguistic endeavors to recreate the language of Babel, to show how serendipities can evolve out of mistakes. With erudition, anecdotes, and scholarly rigor, this new collection of essays is sure to entertain and enlighten any reader with a passion for the curious history of languages and ideas. (shrink)
Contents include Language as a Means of Mental Culture and International Communication (1853; 2 vols) by Claude Marcel; The Mastery of Languages, or the Art of Speaking Foreign Tongues Idiomatically (1864) by Thomas Prendergast; Introduction to the Teaching of Living Languages without Grammar or Dictionary (1874) by Lambert Sauveur; and The Art of Teaching and Studying Languages (1880; English translation 1892) by Francois Goiun.
Wilhelm von Humboldt's classic study of human language was first published in 1836, as a general introduction to his three-volume treatise on the Kawi language of Java. It is the final statement of his lifelong study of the nature of language, exploring its universal structures and its relation to mind and culture. Empirically wide-ranging - Humboldt goes far beyond the Indo-European family of languages - it remains one of the most interesting and important attempts to draw (...) philosophical conclusions from comparative linguistics. This volume presents a translation by Peter Heath, together with an introduction by Michael Losonsky that places Humboldt's work in its historical context and discusses its relevance to contemporary work in philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science, and psychology. (shrink)
This is an entirely new translation of one of the fundamental works in the development of the study of language. Published in 1836, it formed the general introduction to Wilhelm von Humboldt's three-volume treatise on the Kawi language of Java. It is the final statement of his lifelong study of the nature of language, and presents a survey of a great many languages, exploring ways in which their various grammatical structures make them more or less suitable (...) as vehicles of thought and cultural development. Empirically wide-ranging - von Humboldt goes far beyond the Indo-European family of languages - it remains one of the most interesting and important attempts to draw philosophical conclusions from comparative linguistics. (shrink)
This paper describes the linguistic description of time, the accompanying gestural system and the “mental time lines” found in the speakers of Yélî Dnye, an isolate language spoken offshore from Papua New Guinea. Like many indigenous languages, Yélî Dnye has no fixed anchoring of time and thus no calendrical time. Instead, time in Yélî Dnye linguistic description is primarily anchored to the time of speaking, with six diurnal tenses and special nominals for n days from coding time; this (...) is supplemented with special constructions for overlapping events. Consequently there is relatively little cross-over or metaphor from space to time. The gesture system, on the other hand, uses pointing to sun position to indicate time of day and may make use of systematic time lines. Experimental evidence fails to show a single robust axis used for mapping time to space. This suggests that there may not be a strong, universal tendency for systematic space-time mappings. (shrink)
A groundbreaking study of deafness, by a philosopher who combines the scientific erudition of Oliver Sacks with the historical flair of Simon Schama. There is nothing more personal than the human voice, traditionally considered the expression of the innermost self. But what of those who have no voice of their own and cannot hear the voices of others? In this tour de force of historical narrative, Jonathan Ree tells the astonishing story of the deaf, from the sixteenth century to the (...) present. Ree explores the great debates about deafness between those who believed the deaf should be made to speak and those who advocated non-oral communication. He traces the botched attempts to make language visible, through such exotic methods as picture writing, manual spellings, and vocal photography. And he charts the tortuous progress and final recognition of sign systems as natural languages in their own right. I See a Voice escorts us on a vast and eventful intellectual journey,taking in voice machines and musical scales, shorthand and phonetics, Egyptian hieroglyphs, talking parrots, and silent films. A fascinating tale of goodwill subverted by bad science, I See a Voice is as learned and informative as it is delightful to read. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Notes on ContributorsLinguistic Puzzles and Semantic Pretence--B.Armour-Garb &--J.Woodbridge Minimal Semantics and the Nature of Psychological Evidence--E.BorgA Naturalistic Approach to the Philosophy of Language--J.Collins In Praise of our Linguistic Intuitions--A.EverettPhenomenal Continua and Secondary Properties--P.Greenough Semantic Oughts in Context--A.Hattiangadi Content, Force and Semantic Norms--M.KlbelLinguistic Competence and Propositional Knowledge--G.LongworthExpressives and Beyond--S.PredelliAnalyticity in Externalist Languages--G.Russell Names as Predicates--S.SawyerThe Epistemic Reading of Counterfactual Conditionals--K.Schulz Introduction, Transmission, and the Foundations of Meaning--J.SpeaksIndex.
This book considers the relation between language and thought. Robert Wardy explores this huge topic by analyzing linguistic relativism with reference to a Chinese translation of Aristotle's Categories. He addresses some key questions, such as, do the basic structures of language shape the major thought patterns of its native speakers? Could philosophy be guided and constrained by the language in which it is done? And does Aristotle survive rendition into Chinese intact? Wardy's answers will fascinate philosophers, Sinologists, (...) classicists, linguists and anthropologists, and make a major contribution to the scholarly literature. (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)
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 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 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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
This book is an outstanding contribution to the philosophical study of language and mind, by one of the most influential thinkers of our time. In a series of penetrating essays, Chomsky cuts through the confusion and prejudice which has infected the study of language and mind, bringing new solutions to traditional philosophical puzzles and fresh perspectives on issues of general interest, ranging from the mind-body problem to the unification of science. Using a range of imaginative and deceptively simple (...) linguistic analyses, Chomsky defends the view that knowledge of language is internal to the human mind. He argues that a proper study of language must deal with this mental construct. According to Chomsky, therefore, human language is a 'biological object' and should be analyzed using the methodology of the sciences. His examples and analyses come together in this book to give a unique and compelling perspective on language and the mind. (shrink)
What is the place of language in human cognition? Do we sometimes think in natural language? Or is language for purposes of interpersonal communication only? Although these questions have been much debated in the past, they have almost dropped from sight in recent decades amongst those interested in the cognitive sciences. Language and Thought is intended to persuade such people to think again. It brings together essays by a distinguished interdisciplinary team of philosophers and psychologists, who (...) discuss various ways in which language may be implicated in human cognition. The editors have provided an introduction which lays out the basic terms and history of the debate, and a consolidated bibliography which will provide a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great interest to all researchers and students interested in language and its place in cognition. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to the understanding of Heidegger and a rare attempt to bridge the schism between traditions of analytic and Continental philosophy. Cristina Lafont applies the core methodology of analytic philosophy, language analysis, to Heidegger's work providing both a clearer exegesis and a powerful critique of his approach to the subject of language. In Part One, she explores the Heideggerean conception of language in depth. In Part Two, she draws on recent work from (...) theorists of direct reference (Putnam, Donnellan and Kripke inter alia) to reveal the limitations of Heidegger's views and to show how language shapes our understanding of the world without making learning impossible. The book first appeared in German but has been substantially revised for the English edition. (shrink)
What must linguistic knowledge be like if it is to explain our capacity to use language? All linguists and philosophers of language presuppose some answer to this critical question, but all too often the presupposition is tacit. In this collection of sixteen previously unpublished essays, a distinguished international line-up of philosophers and linguists address a variety of interconnected themes concerning our knowledge of language.
In the field of philosophy of language, is there life beyond Chomsky? Deleuze's deep distrust for, and fascination with language provide a positive answer - nothing less than a brand new philosophy of language, where pragmatics replaces structural linguistics, and where the literary text and the concept of style have pride of place. This should be good news not only for philosophers, but for linguistics and literary critics as well.
Drawing on ten years of research on the unpublished Wittgenstein papers, Stern investigates what motivated Wittgenstein's philosophical writing and casts new light on the Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations. The book is an exposition of Wittgenstein's early conception of the nature of representation and how his later revision and criticism of that work led to a radically different way of looking at mind and language. It also explains how the unpublished manuscripts and typescripts were put together and why they often (...) provide better evidence of the development of his ideas than can be found in his published writing. In doing so, the book traces the development of a number of central themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy, including his conception of philosophical method, the picture theory of meaning, the limits of language, the application of language to experience, his treatment of private language, and what he called the "flow of life." Arguing that Wittgenstein's views are often much more simple (and more radical) than we have been led to believe, Wittgenstein on Mind and Language provides an overview of the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and brings to light aspects of his philosophy that have been almost universally neglected. (shrink)
This book provides a novel interpretation of the ideas about language in Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. Travis places the "private language argument" in the context of wider themes in the Investigations, and thereby develops a picture of what it is for words to bear the meaning they do. He elaborates two versions of a private language argument, and shows the consequences of these for current trends in the philosophical theory of meaning.
In a powerful and original contribution to the history of ideas, Hannah Dawson explores the intense preoccupation with language in early-modern philosophy, and presents a groundbreaking analysis of John Locke's critique of words. By examining a broad sweep of pedagogical and philosophical material from antiquity to the late seventeenth century, Dr Dawson explains why language caused anxiety in writers such as Montaigne, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Gassendi, Nicole, Pufendorf, Boyle, Malebranche and Locke. Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy demonstrates (...) that new developments in philosophy, in conjunction with weaknesses in linguistic theory, resulted in serious concerns about the capacity of words to refer to the world, the stability of meaning, and the duplicitous power of words themselves. Dr Dawson shows that language so fixated all manner of early-modern authors because it was seen as an obstacle to both knowledge and society. She thereby uncovers a novel story about the problem of language in philosophy, and in the process reshapes our understanding of early-modern epistemology, morality and politics. (shrink)
Language, meaning, and ek-sistence, by J. J. Kockelmans.--Heidegger's conception of language in Being and time, by J. Aler.--Poetry and language in Heidegger, by W. Biemel.--Heidegger's topology of being, by O. Pöggeler.--Thinking and poetizing in Heidegger, by H. Birault.--Hermeneutic and personal structure of language, by H. Ott.--Ontological difference, hermeneutics, and language, by J. J. Kockelmans.--The world in another beginning: poetic dwelling and the role of the poet, by W. Marx.--Panel discussion.--Heidegger's language: metalogical forms of thought (...) and grammatical specialties, by E. Schöfer.--M. Heidegger's "ontological difference" and language, by J. Lohmann.--Bibliography (p. 365-368). (shrink)
The essays in this volume explore current work in central areas of philosophy, work unified by attention to salient questions of human action and human agency. They ask what it is for humans to act knowledgeably, to use language, to be friends, to act heroically, to be mortally fortunate, and to produce as well as to appreciate art. The volume is dedicated to J. O. Urmson, in recognition of his inspirational contributions to these areas. All the essays but one (...) have been specially written for this volume. (shrink)
This is a book about Aristotle's philosophy of language, interpreted in a framework that provides a comprehensive interpretation of Aristotle's metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology and science. The aims of the book are to explicate the description of meaning contained in De Interpretatione and to show the relevance of that theory of meaning to much of the rest of Arisotle's philosophy. In the process Deborah Modrak reveals how that theory of meaning has been much maligned.
Sören Stenlund's work marks a major advance in our understanding of why the philosophy of language has been so dominated over the past few decades by the so-called "creative aspect of language" -- the problem of how we are able to understand sentences that we have never heard before. Stenlund raises some fundamental philosophical objections by demonstrating, for example, how the theory distorts the flexibility and fluidity of word -- and sentence -- meaning. Although words and sentences can (...) have a remarkable number of different, sometimes extraordinarily subtle meanings, Stenlund shows how language-users can readily adapt to entirely novel uses of a word or a sentence. Language and Philosophical Problems presents the results of philosophical investigations into several connected issues of current interest within the philosophies of language, logic, mind, and mathematics. In particular it deals with our tendency to be misled by certain prevailing views and preconceptions of language. (shrink)
The late 20th century saw great movement in the philosophy of language, often critical of the fathers of the subject-Gottlieb Frege and Bertrand Russell-but sometimes supportive of (or even defensive about) the work of the fathers. Howard Wettstein's sympathies lie with the critics. But he says that they have often misconceived their critical project, treating it in ways that are technically focused and that miss the deeper implications of their revolutionary challenge. Wettstein argues that Wittgenstein-a figure with whom the (...) critics of Frege and Russell are typically unsympathetic-laid the foundation for much of what is really revolutionary in this late 20th century movement. The subject itself should be of great interest, since philosophy of language has functioned as a kind of foundation for much of 20th century philosophy. But in fact it remains a subject for specialists, since the ideas are difficult and the mode of presentation is often fairly technical. In this book, Wettstein brings the non-specialist into the conversation (especially in early chapters); he also reconceives the debate in a way that avoids technical formulation. The Magic Prism is intended for professional philosophers, graduate students, and upper division undergraduates. (shrink)
This is a study of how self-transformation may occur through the practice of reframing one's personal experience in terms of a canonical language: that is, a system of symbols that purports to explain something about human beings and the universe they live in. The Christian conversion narrative is used as the primary example here, but the approach used in this book also illuminates other practices such as psychotherapy in which people deal with emotional conflict through language.
The irreducibility of language : the history of rhetoric in the age of typewriters -- The failures of empiricism : language, science, and the philosophical tradition -- What is a trope? : the discourse of metaphor and the language of the body -- The nervous systems of modern consciousness : metaphor, physiology, and mind -- Interpretation and life : outlines of an anthropology of knowledge.