About this topic
Summary It seems obvious that the connection between, on one hand, the sounds, shapes, movements and the like that underwrite language use and, on the other hand, core linguistic properties, like grammatical properties and meanings, is fairly arbitrary. The same sounds, shapes, movements, etc., that are used in English to say that the cat is on the mat could easily have been used to say that the ship is sinking. And other sounds, shapes, movements, etc., could easily have been used to say that the cat is on the mat. The general question that accounts of linguistic convention aim to answer is, how are the connections here instituted? Sometimes 'conventional' is used to indicate the type of connection in question here, in which case it is assumed that the relevant connections are conventional, and the difficulty is to explain in detail the nature of the relevant conventions. Other times, specific accounts are given of what conventions are, and the difficulty is to demonstrate, or explain, whether, and if so how, those accounts apply to the institution of connections in the sphere of language. Taking the latter route, some philosophers have provided detailed accounts of convention on which participation in a convention seems to require mutual knowledge that others are so participating. Other philosophers have argued that such accounts are too demanding, and that less is required to participate in, for example, the use of a language.
Key works Lewis 1969 Important general account of convention including an attempt to apply the account to language. Lewis 1975 Another attempt to explain how the relation between speakers and languages is conventional. Schiffer 1972 Another important attempt to account for language use by appeal to speakers' intentions and forms of convention. Burge 1975 Presents important objections to the above accounts. Davidson 1984 Argues that appeal to convention is not required in accounting for speakers' relations to languages. Gilbert 1983 Useful discussion of the nature of convention and its role in accounting for language. Schiffer 1993 Engages critically with the above accounts of the relation between speakers and their languages (the actual-language relation) and argues for a more minimal account. Davis 1998 Useful book length treatment of issues about linguistic convention and intention.
Introductions Avramides 1997 Rescorla 2008
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239 found
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  1. added 2020-05-17
    Against Conventional Wisdom.Alexander W. Kocurek, Ethan Jerzak & Rachel Etta Rudolph - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    Conventional wisdom has it that truth is always evaluated using our actual linguistic conventions, even when considering counterfactual scenarios in which different conventions are adopted. This principle has been invoked in a number of philosophical arguments, including Kripke’s defense of the necessity of identity and Lewy’s objection to modal conventionalism. But it is false. It fails in the presence of what Einheuser (2006) calls c-monsters, or convention-shifting expressions (on analogy with Kaplan’s monsters, or context-shifting expressions). We show that c-monsters naturally (...)
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  2. added 2020-04-09
    Contested Slurs.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (1):11-30.
    Sometimes speakers within a linguistic community use a term that they do not conceptualize as a slur, but which other members of that community do. Sometimes these speakers are ignorant or naïve, but not always. This article explores a puzzle raised when some speakers stubbornly maintain that a contested term t is not derogatory. Because the semantic content of a term depends on the language, to say that their use of t is semantically derogatory despite their claims and intentions, we (...)
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  3. added 2019-10-30
    Behavioral Foundations for Expression Meaning.Megan Henricks Stotts - forthcoming - Topoi:1-16.
    According to a well-established tradition in the philosophy of language, we can understand what makes an arbitrary sound, gesture, or marking into a meaningful linguistic expression only by appealing to mental states, such as beliefs and intentions. In this paper, I explore the contrasting possibility of understanding the meaningfulness of linguistic expressions just in terms of observable linguistic behavior. Specifically, I explore the view that a type of sound becomes a meaningful linguistic expression within a group in virtue of the (...)
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  4. added 2019-09-25
    Natural Conventions and Indirect Speech Arts.Mandy Simons & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    In this paper, we develop the notion of a natural convention, and illustrate its usefulness in a detailed examination of indirect requests in English. Our treatment of convention is grounded in Lewis’s seminal account; we do not here redefine convention, but rather explore the space of possibilities within Lewis’s definition, highlighting certain types of variation that Lewis de-emphasized. Applied to the case of indirect requests, which we view through a Searlean lens, the notion of natural convention allows us to give (...)
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  5. added 2019-06-06
    Ambivalent Conventions: Formula and Parody in Old French.Anne Elizabeth Cobby.Kathryn Gravdal - 1998 - Speculum 73 (3):824-825.
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    Turning Tricks with Convention T: Lessons Tarski Taught Me.Martin A. Rice - 1990 - Southwest Philosophy Review 6 (1):123-131.
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    Convention, Translation, and Understanding: Philosophical Problems In the Comparative Study of Culture. [REVIEW]Roger F. Gibson - 1989 - Southwest Philosophy Review 5 (2):83-90.
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  8. added 2019-06-06
    Regelbrauch Und Übereinkunft.Von Rudolf Haller - 1987 - Dialectica 41 (1-2):117-128.
    ZusammenfassungIn der Antike wie in der zeitgenassischen Philosophie wird die Frage diskutiert, ob sprachli‐che Bedeutungen auf Übereinkunft beruhen. In unserer Zeit heisst die Frage, inwieweit sprachliche Verständigung durch Konventionen bestimmt ist. Ich versuche zu zeigen, dass in den Regelbrauch, der sprachliches Verhalten teitet, zwar übereinkünfte eingehen können, ihn aber nicht wesentlich auszeichnen. Von da her erhält auch die Behandlung der Frage im Kratylos neue Aspekte: Der Regelbrauch, in den die ursprüngliche Übereinkunft zwar einge‐gangen ist, garantiert den Bezug der Narnen, aber (...)
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    Poetic Conventions in Thai Chǎn MetersPoetic Conventions in Thai Chan Meters.Thomas John Hudak - 1985 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 105 (1):107.
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    Semantic Intentions and Linguistic Structure: Comments on Schiffer's Paper: ``Intention-Based Semantics''.Richard E. Grandy - 1982 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 23:327-332.
  11. added 2019-06-06
    XIII—Nature and Convention.Peter Winch - 1959 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 60 (1):231-252.
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    X.—The Conventional Basis of Meaning.Reginald Jackson - 1932 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 33 (1):203-236.
  13. added 2019-05-17
    Lewis, Language, Lust and Lies.Max Kolbel - 1998 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 41 (3):301-315.
    David Lewis has tried to explain what it is for a possible language to be the actual language of a population in terms of his game-theoretical notion of a convention. This explanation of the actual language relation is re-evaluated in the light of some typical episodes of linguistic communication, and it is argued that speakers of a language do not generally stand in the actual language relation to that language if the actual language relation is explicated in Lewis's way. In (...)
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  14. added 2018-10-08
    A Defense of Semantic Conventionalism.Nancy Davies - unknown
    The purpose of this dissertation is to argue that semantic conventionalism of a, more or less, Dummettian variety is unjustly neglected in contemporary philosophy. The strategy for arguing this is to make a conjecture about why people ignore it; there seem to be two plausible reasons: 1) there are obviously preferable candidates on offer; 2) there are knock-down arguments against semantic conventionalism. In response to 1), I consider intentionalist Gricean semantics, and argue it is at least no better off than (...)
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  15. added 2018-07-02
    Linguistic Conventions and the Role of Pragmatics.Robyn Carston - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (5):612-624.
  16. added 2018-05-14
    Plato's Cratylus.David Sedley - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.
    Plato's Cratylus is a brilliant but enigmatic dialogue. It bears on a topic, the relation of language to knowledge, which has never ceased to be of central philosophical importance, but tackles it in ways which at times look alien to us. In this reappraisal of the dialogue, Professor Sedley argues that the etymologies which take up well over half of it are not an embarrassing lapse or semi-private joke on Plato's part. On the contrary, if taken seriously as they should (...)
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  17. added 2018-04-04
    Linguistic Convention and Worldly Fact: Prospects for a Naturalist Theory of the a Priori.Brett Topey - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1725-1752.
    Truth by convention, once thought to be the foundation of a uniquely promising approach to explaining our access to the truth in nonempirical domains, is nowadays widely considered an absurdity. Its fall from grace has been due largely to the influence of an argument that can be sketched as follows: our linguistic conventions have the power to make it the case that a sentence expresses a particular proposition, but they can’t by themselves generate truth; whether a given proposition is true—and (...)
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  18. added 2018-03-12
    Seguire una regola.Andrea Guardo - 2018 - Milano-Udine: Mimesis.
    An introduction to the debate on Kripke's Wittgenstein's rule-following paradox.
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  19. added 2018-02-17
    Intentions and Compositionality.Steffen Borge - 2009 - SATS 10 (1):100-106.
    It has been argued that philosophers that base their theories of meaning on communicative intentions and language conventions cannot accommodate the fact that natural languages are compositional. In this paper I show that if we pay careful attention to Grice's notion of “resultant procedures” we see that this is not the case. The argument, if we leave out all the technicalities, is fairly simple. Resultant procedures tell you how to combine utterance parts, like words, into larger units, like sentences. You (...)
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  20. added 2018-02-16
    The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language.Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    The Oxford Handbooks series is a major new initiative in academic publishing. Each volume offers an authoritative and up-to-date survey of original research in a particular subject area. Specially commissioned essays from leading figures in the discipline give critical examinations of the progress and direction of debates. Oxford Handbooks provide scholars and graduate students with compelling new perspectives upon a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. Ernie Lepore and Barry Smith present the definitive reference work for (...)
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  21. added 2018-02-04
    Yet Another Skeptical Solution.Andrea Guardo - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (1):117-129.
    The paper puts forward a new skeptical solution to Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s rule-following paradox, a solution which revolves around the idea that human communication does not require meaning facts - at least as defined by Kripke. After a brief discussion of the paradox, I explain why I think that Kripkenstein’s solution needs revision and argue that the main goal of a skeptical solution to the rule-following paradox should be that of showing that communication does not require meaning. After that, I offer (...)
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  22. added 2017-07-05
    Making New Ideophones in Siwu: Creative Depiction in Conversation.Mark Dingemanse - 2014 - Pragmatics and Society 5 (3):384-405.
    Ideophones are found in many of the world’s languages. Though they are a major word class on a par with nouns and verbs, their origins are ill-understood, and the question of ideophone creation has been a source of controversy. This paper studies ideophone creation in naturally occurring speech. New, unconventionalised ideophones are identified using native speaker judgements, and are studied in context to understand the rules and regularities underlying their production and interpretation. People produce and interpret new ideophones with the (...)
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  23. added 2017-04-23
    Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Definite Descriptions: An Examination.Mostofa N. Mansur - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
    Despite its enormous popularity, Russell’s theory of definite descriptions has received various criticisms. Two of the most important objections against this theory are those arising from the Argument from Incompleteness and the Argument from Donnellan’s Distinction. According to the former although a speaker may say something true by assertively uttering a sentence containing an incomplete description , on the Russellian analysis such a sentence expresses a false proposition; so, Russell’s theory cannot adequately deal with such sentences. According to the latter (...)
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  24. added 2017-02-16
    Andrei Marmor, Social Conventions.Jaroslav Peregrin - 2011 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 18 (1):123-127.
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  25. added 2017-02-15
    Division 24 Convention Program 1994.Jeffrey P. Lindstrom, Stephen C. Yanchar, Beyond Complementarity, Lisa M. Osbeck, Brent D. Slife, Adelbert H. Jenkins, Free Will & George S. Howard - 1994 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology: Journal of Division 24 14 (1):107.
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  26. added 2017-02-15
    Discussion: Physics by Convention.Clark Glymour - unknown
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  27. added 2017-02-14
    Convention and Necessity.Kathy Emmett Bohstedt - 2000 - Essays in Philosophy 1 (2):6.
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  28. added 2017-02-14
    Mette Hjort, Ed., Rules and Conventions: Literature, Philosophy, Social Theory Reviewed By.Alexander Miller - 1994 - Philosophy in Review 14 (4):267-269.
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  29. added 2017-02-14
    Morality and Convention.Stuart Hampshire - 1982 - In Amartya Kumar Sen & Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (eds.), Utilitarianism and Beyond. Cambridge University Press. pp. 145--158.
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  30. added 2017-02-13
    Convention as Commentary in Edward Ravenscroft's The Careless Lovers.Robert Eggleston - 2006 - Lumen: Selected Proceedings From the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 25:133.
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  31. added 2017-02-13
    Disrupted Conventions or Diseased Selves: The Relationship Between Philosophical and Psychotherapeutic Forms of Questioning.Steven Segal - 2006 - Philosophical Practice: Journal of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association 2 (1):41-55.
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  32. added 2017-02-13
    La Convention Belorgey : Deux Ans Après..J. M. Belorgey - 2003 - Médecine et Droit 2003 (61):103-104.
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  33. added 2017-02-13
    Convention as Intention – The Institution in All of Us.Richard Foley - 2002 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 15 (4):431-434.
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  34. added 2017-02-13
    The Position of the Glycosidic Bond in Purine Nucleosides: The Conservative Influence of a Convention of Chemical Nomenclature.J. Frank Henderson - 1978 - Annals of Science 35 (3):299-323.
    Determination of the structure of the nucleic acids involved inter alia identification of the ring atom of the purines to which ribose or deoxyribose was attached. This in turn depended on knowledge of the ring atoms that could be so substituted and hence that were bonded to replaceable hydrogens. In 1897 E. Fischer adopted a convention of depicting this hydrogen at position 7 of the purine ring, although he was aware that it was equally correct to depict it at position (...)
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  35. added 2017-02-13
    The Development of Social Concepts: Mores, Customs, and Conventions.Elliot Turiel - 1975 - In David J. DePalma & Jeanne M. Foley (eds.), Moral Development: Current Theory and Research. Halsted Press. pp. 7--38.
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  36. added 2017-02-13
    L'organisation des conquêtes artistiques de la Convention en Belgique.Ferdinand Boyer - 1971 - Revue Belge de Philologie Et D’Histoire 49 (2):490-500.
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  37. added 2017-02-13
    Note Sur la Convention Delphes-Skiathos.Pierre Amandry - 1944 - Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 68 (1):411-416.
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  38. added 2017-02-13
    Inscription de Phocide. Convention Entre la Ville de Drymaea Et la Confédération des Oetéens.Mondry Beaudouin - 1881 - Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 5 (1):137-145.
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  39. added 2017-02-13
    Convention Entre Trois Villes Crétoises.Théophile Homolle - 1879 - Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 3 (1):290-315.
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  40. added 2017-02-12
    How Much Rationality Do We Need to Explain Conventions?Simon M. Huttegger - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (1):11-21.
    This article surveys the main philosophical and formal ideas revolving around language as being conventional from the perspective of game theory. For very basic situations, this leads to a coherent view of conventions that offers interesting insights. Although there exist many open problems, this article will argue by outlining partial solution attempts that there is no principled reason for not applying methods from game theory to them.
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  41. added 2017-02-10
    Who’s Where?John A. Scott - 2012 - Environment, Space, Place 4 (2):7-24.
    Central to several current philosophical projects is determining which conversational conventions will best locate and accommodate all the required participants. This article follows Troy Paddock’s lead in exploring a number of conventions currently on offer, particularly Heidegger’s aesthetic nearness-to-hand and Latour’s scientific Actor-Network-Theory. This article also introduces Donald Davidson’s social triangulation as a complementary model of approach: one thatimplicates propositional agents in potentially revealing relations. It concludes that a close study of implicational, as distinct from inferential, argument and judgment may (...)
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  42. added 2017-02-10
    A Synergetic View of Institutions.Peter Weise & Wolfgang Brandes - 1990 - Theory and Decision 28 (2):173-187.
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  43. added 2017-02-10
    The German Philosophical Convention in Mainz.Walter Brugger - 1948 - Modern Schoolman 26 (1):41-43.
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  44. added 2017-02-09
    Strategy & Justice and the Concept of Convention.Daniel R. Gilbert - 1992 - The Ruffin Series in Business Ethics:169-171.
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  45. added 2017-02-09
    Philosophy and the Future of Man: The 1968 Convention.Robert J. Kreyche - 1967 - New Scholasticism 41 (3):367-370.
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  46. added 2017-02-09
    Nature and Convention in Morality.R. Peters - 1950 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 51:223 - 253.
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  47. added 2017-02-09
    Descartes a la Convention Et aux Cinq-Cents.Henri Gouhier - 1922 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 29 (2):243 - 251.
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  48. added 2017-02-09
    A Roman Stage Convention.R. H. Malden - 1903 - The Classical Review 17 (03):160-161.
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  49. added 2017-02-08
    Plenitude, Convention, and Ontology.John Hawthorne - 2006 - In Metaphysical Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 53--69.
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  50. added 2017-02-08
    Conventions and Rules in Literature.Stein Haugom Olsen - 2000 - Metaphilosophy 31 (1-2):25-42.
    Views of what role convention plays in the creation and appreciation of art works gravitate towards two extremes. One view holds that works of art can be apprehended and appreciated as well as created with no reference to convention. The other claims that conventions fully determine how works of art are apprehended and are therefore necessary conditions for the creation of works of art as well as constitutive of appreciation. The former is a version of the Romantic view of art (...)
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