This book by one of the world's foremost philosophers in the fields of epistemology and logic offers an account of suppositional reasoning relevant to practical deliberation, explanation, prediction and hypothesis testing. Suppositions made 'for the sake of argument' sometimes conflict with our beliefs, and when they do, some beliefs are rejected and others retained. Thanks to such belief contravention, adding content to a supposition can undermine conclusions reached without it. Subversion can also arise because suppositional reasoning is ampliative. These two (...) types of nonmonotonic logic are the focus of this book. A detailed comparison of nonmonotonicity appropriate to both belief contravening and ampliative suppositional reasoning reveals important differences that have been overlooked. (shrink)
This book argues that correspondence theories of truth fail because the relation that holds between a true thought and a fact is that of identity, not correspondence. Facts are not complexes of worldly entities which make thoughts true they are merely true thoughts. According to Julian Dodd, the resulting modest identity theory , while not defining truth, correctly diagnoses the failure of correspondence theories, and thereby prepares the ground for a defensible deflation of the concept of truth.
This book analyzes--in terms of branching--the pervasive reorganization of Latin syntactic and morphological structures: in the development from Latin to French, a shift can be observed from the archaic, left-branching structures (which Latin inherited from Proto-Indo-European) to modern right-branching equivalents. Brigitte Bauer presents a detailed analysis of this development based on the theoretical discussion and definition of "branching" and "head." Subsequently she relates the diachronic shift to psycholinguistic evidence, arguing that the difficuly of LB complex structures as reflected in their (...) painstaking and delayed acquisition accounts for the extensive typological shift from left to right branching that took place in Latin/French and the other Indo-European languages. (shrink)
Theoretical and Applied Issues Edited by Andrew Ortony Jon Slack Oliviero Stock NATO ASI Series Series F: Computer and Systems Sciences, Vol. 100 Communication from an Artificial Intelligence Perspective NATO ASI Series Advanced ...
This is a volume of specially commissioned essays of analytical philosophy, on topics of current interest in ethics and the philosophy of logic and language. Among the topics discussed are the making of wicked promises, G. E. Moore's early ethical views, as well as indexicals, tense, indeterminism, conventionalism in mathematics, and identity and necessity. The essays are all by former students of Casimir Lewy, until recently Reader in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and an exponent of a particularly thoroughgoing (...) form of philosophical analysis. Together, they represent some of the best work in these areas at present, and express what may be described as a characteristic 'Cambridge' voice. (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)
The ability to produce and understand referring expressions is basic to human language use and human cognition. Reference comprises the ability to think of and represent objects (both real and imagined/fictional), to indicate to others which of these objects we are talking about, and to determine what others are talking about when they use a nominal expression. The articles in this volume are concerned with some of the central themes and challenges in research on reference within the cognitive sciences - (...) philosophy (including philosophy of language and mind, logic, and formal semantics), theoretical and computational linguistics, and cognitive psychology. The papers address four basic questions: What is reference? What is the appropriate analysis of different referring forms, such as definite descriptions? How is reference resolved? and How do speaker/writers select appropriate referring forms, such as pronouns vs. full noun phrases, demonstrative vs. personal pronouns, and overt vs. null/zero pronominal forms? Some of the papers assume and build on existing theories, such as Centering Theory and the Givenness Hierarchy framework; others propose their own models of reference understanding or production. The essays examine reference from a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, informed by different research traditions and employing different methodologies. While the contributors to the volume were primarily trained in one of the four represented disciplines-computer science, linguistics, philosophy and psychology, and use methodologies typical of that discipline, each of them bridges more than one discipline in their methodology and/or their approach. (shrink)
Semantics is a bridge discipline between linguistics and philosophy; but linguistics student are rarely able to reach that bridge, let alone cross it to inspect and assess the activity on the other side. Professor Kempson's textbook seeks particularly to encourage such exchanges. She deals with the standard linguistic topics like componential analysis, semantic universals and the syntax-semantics controversy. But she also provides for students with no training in philosophy or logic an introduction to such central topics in the philosophy of (...) language as logical form, truth, speech acts, analyticity, entailment and presupposition. The exposition throughout is deliberately argumentative rather than descriptive, introducing the student step by step to the major problems in theoretical semantics. Special emphasis is placed on the need to consider individual arguments within the overall perspective of semantics as an integral part of general linguistic theory. Written primarily as a textbook for undergraduates and graduates in linguistics departments, this book will also be useful to undergraduates in philosophy and in psychology where linguistics is a part of their course. (shrink)
Meaning seems to shift from context to context; how do we know when someone says "grab a chair" that an ottoman or orange crate will do, but when someone says "let's buy a chair," they won't? In Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers, Kronenfeld offers a theory that explains both the usefulness of language's variability of reference and the mechanisms which enable us to understand each other in spite of the variability. Kronenfeld's theory, rooted in the tradition of ethnoscience (or cognitive (...) anthropology), accomplishes three things. First, it distinguishes prototypic referents from extended referents. Second, it describes the various bases of semantic extensions. Finally it details how we use the situational context of usage, the linguistic context of opposition and inclusion, and the conceptual context of knowledge about the world to interpret communicative events. (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.
The author of the highly popular book Think, which Time magazine hailed as "the one book every smart person should read to understand, and even enjoy, the key questions of philosophy," Simon Blackburn is that rara avis--an eminent thinker who is able to explain philosophy to the general reader. Now Blackburn offers a tour de force exploration of what he calls "the most exciting and engaging issue in the whole of philosophy"--the age-old war over truth. The front lines of this (...) war are well defined. On one side are those who believe in plain, unvarnished facts, rock-solid truths that can be found through reason and objectivity--that science leads to truth, for instance. Their opponents mock this idea. They see the dark forces of language, culture, power, gender, class, ideology and desire--all subverting our perceptions of the world, and clouding our judgement with false notions of absolute truth. Beginning with an early skirmish in the war--when Socrates confronted the sophists in ancient Athens--Blackburn offers a penetrating look at the longstanding battle these two groups have waged, examining the philosophical battles fought by Plato, Protagoras, William James, David Hume, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, and many others, with a particularly fascinating look at Nietzsche. Among the questions Blackburn considers are: is science mere opinion, can historians understand another historical period, and indeed can one culture ever truly understand another. Blackburn concludes that both sides have merit, and that neither has exclusive ownership of truth. What is important is that, whichever side we embrace, we should know where we stand and what is to be said for our opponents. (shrink)
Ambiguity, vagueness and metaphor are pervasive features of language, deserving of systematic study in their own right. Yet they have frequently been considered mere deviations from ideal language or obstacles to be avoided in the construction of scientific systems. First published in 1979, Beyond the Letter offers a consecutive study of these features from a philosphical point of view, providing analyses of each and treating their relations to one another. Addressed to the fundamental task of logical and semantic explanation, the (...) book employs an inscriptional methodology in the attempt to avoid prevalent forms of question-begging, and, further, in the conviction that sparseness of assumption often reveals points of theoretical interest irrespective of methodolgical preference. The author distinguishes and analyses several varieties of ambiguity, developing new semantic notions in the process; recasts the philosophical treatment of vagueness in the light of recent criticisms of analyticity; discusses the bearing of vagueness on logic; and provides a systematic critique of major recent interpretations of metaphor, developing a revised version of contextualism. (shrink)
Semantic Analysis is a lively and clearly written introduction to the study of meaning in language and to the language-culture connection. Goddard covers traditional and contemporary issues and approaches with the relationship between semantics, conceptualization, and culture as a key theme. He also details a number of case studies that draw on a wide range of material from non-Indo-European languages, particularly Australian Aboriginal languages and Malay, on which the author is an authority.
Charles Travis presents a series of essays in which he has developed his distinctive view of the relation of thought to language. The key idea is "occasion-sensitivity": what it is for words to express a given concept is for them to be apt for contributing to any of many different conditions of correctness (notably truth conditions). Since words mean what they do by expressing a given concept, it follows that meaning does not determine truth conditions. This view ties thoughts less (...) tightly to the linguistic forms which express them than traditional views of the matter, and in two directions: a given linguistic form, meaning fixed, may express an indefinite variety of thoughts; one thought can be expressed in an indefinite number of syntactically and semantically distinct ways. Travis highlights the importance of this view for linguistic theory, and shows how it gives new form to a variety of traditional philosophical problems. (shrink)
How do we refer to people in everyday conversation? No matter the language or culture, we must choose from a range of options: full name ('Robert Smith'), reduced name ('Bob'), description ('tall guy'), kin term ('my son') etc. Our choices reflect how we know that person in context, and allow us to take a particular perspective on them. This book brings together a team of leading linguists, sociologists and anthropologists to show that there is more to person reference than meets (...) the eye. Drawing on video-recorded, everyday interactions in nine languages, it examines the fascinating ways in which we exploit person reference for social and cultural purposes, and reveals the underlying principles of person reference across cultures from the Americas to Asia to the South Pacific. Combining rich ethnographic detail with cross-linguistic generalizations, it will be welcomed by researchers and graduate students interested in the relationship between language and culture. (shrink)
There is an important family of semantic notions that are applied to thoughts and to the conceptual constituents of thoughts--as when one says that the thought that the Universe is expanding is true. Christopher Hill presents a theory of the content of such notions. That theory is largely deflationary in spirit. It represents a broad range of semantic notions free from substantive metaphysical and empirical presuppositions. He also explains the relationship of mirroring or semantic correspondence linking thoughts to reality.
In her signature style, revolutionary Mary Daly takes you on a Quantum leap into a joyous future of victory for women. Daly, the groundbreaking author of such classics as Beyond God the Father and The Church and the Second Sex , explores the visions of Matilda Joslyn Gage, the great nineteenth-century philosopher, and reveals that her insights are stunningly helpful to twenty-first-century Voyagers seeking to overcome the fascism and life-hating fundamentalism that has infused current power structures. Daly shows us once (...) again that Wild, Wise Women can learn to take charge of the current destructive patriarchal forces and use this as an Outlandish opportunity for change. (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)
Focusing on Truth explores the question of what truth is, balancing historical with issue-orientated discussion. The book offers a comprehensive survey of all the major theories of truth. Lawrence Johnson investigates a number of closely related matters of truth in his inquiry, such as: What sorts of things are true or false? What is attributed to them when they are said to be true or false? What do facts have to do with truth? What can we learn from previous theories? (...) The book opens with an analysis of the coherence theory of truth and then the correspondence theory of truth, as developed by Moore, Russell and Wittgenstein. Through a study of the semantic conceptions of truth, the author reveals that an adequate theory of truth must take account of the pragmatics of person, purpose, and circumstance. A full understanding of facts and truth bearers is considered central to Johnson's criticism of the opposing truth theories of J. L. Austin and P. F. Strawson. Drawing on the merits of these theories and others, while identifying their deficiencies, Johnson presents a new account of truth, based on the correlation of referential foci and the use of linguistic conventions. This account is defended as being adequate to meet the legitimate demands made on a theory of truth. Johnson argues that the account leaves scope for statements of many different sorts to be true in their own widely varying ways, without the existence of a need to posit fundamentally different kinds of truth. (shrink)
The material elements of writing have long been undervalued, and have been dismissed by recent historicising trends of criticism; but analysis of these elements - sound, signature, letters - can transform our understanding of literary texts. In this book Tom Cohen shows how, in an era of representational criticism and cultural studies, the role of close reading has been overlooked. Arguing that much recent criticism has been caught in potentially regressive models of representation, Professor Cohen undertakes to counter this by (...) rethinking the 'materiality' of the text itself. Through a series of revealing new readings of the work of writers including Plato, Bakhtin, Poe, Whitman and Conrad, Professor Cohen exposes the limitations of new historicism and neo-pragmatism, and demonstrates how 'the materiality of language' operates to undo the representational models of meaning imposed by the literary canon. (shrink)
Vagueness provides the first comprehensive examination of a topic of increasing importance in metaphysics and the philosophy of logic and language. Timothy Williamson traces the history of this philosophical problem from discussions of the heap paradox in classical Greece to modern formal approaches such as fuzzy logic. He illustrates the problems with views which have taken the position that standard logic and formal semantics do not apply to vague language, and defends the controversial realistic view that vagueness is a kind (...) of ignorance--that there really is a grain of sand whose removal turns a heap into a non-heap, but we cannot know which one it is. (shrink)
This is a collection of eleven original essays in analytical philosophy by British and American philosophers, centering on the connection between mind and language. Two themes predominate: how it is that thoughts and sentences can represent the world; and what having a thought - a belief, for instance - involves. Developing from these themes are the questions: what does having a belief require of the believer, and of the way he or she relates to the environment? In particular, does having (...) a belief require speaking a language? The volume concludes the informal series stemming from the meetings sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation. (shrink)
Split constructions are widespread in natural languages. The separation of the semantic restriction of a quantifier from that quantifier is a typical example of such a construction. This study addresses the problem that such discontinuous strings exhibit--namely, a number of locality constraints, including intervention effects. These are shown to follow from the interaction of a minimalist syntax with a semantics that directly assigns a model-theoretic interpretation to syntactic logical forms. The approach is shown to have wide empirical coverage and a (...) conceptual simplicity. The book will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of syntax and semantics. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege has exerted an enormous influence on the evolution of twentieth-century philosophy, yet the real significance of that influence is still very much a matter of debate. This book provides a completely new and systematic account of Frege's philosophy by focusing on its cornerstone: the theory of sense and reference. Two features distinguish this study from other books on Frege. First, sense and reference are placed absolutely at the core of Frege's work; the author shows that no adequate account (...) of the theory can avoid analysing the notion of thought that underpins it, or explaining how it has clarified our concept of judgement. Second, the theory is situated within the development of Frege's thought; the author reveals how the theory caused Frege to alter many of his fundamental views. In doing so the author presents a clearer picture of the problems the theory was intended to solve, and delineates more sharply the characteristic features of Frege's philosophy. (shrink)