Edited by Guy Longworth (University of Warwick)
About this topic
Summary Philosophers and linguists reflect in a variety of ways on the natures of words. One range of issues here concern the metaphysics of words: are words concrete items in the world, kinds of items, or elements of some other category? What are the principles for counting words? Are there ambiguous words, or are there, for example, a variety of words each spelled "bank"? Are words basic, or are they built from more basic elements, like morphemes, features, or letters? Connected with the last question, philosophers and linguists have discussed issues about the internal semantic structure of words, a version of the question whether words are definable. Sometimes this issue is pursued via the question, are there building blocks for words that can only be combined in a limited range of ways and thus make it impossible for there to be certain words, at least in normal human languages?
Key works Kaplan 1990 David Kaplan's important early discussion of the metaphysics of words. Kaplan 2011 Further, more recent discussion by Kaplan, responding to the following two pieces. Hawthorne & Lepore 2011 Important recent discussion of the metaphysics of words. Bromberger 2011 Another useful discussion of the metaphysics of words. Wetzel 2002 Useful discussion of the metaphysics of words and types more generally. Pinker manuscript Useful overview of work on the nature of words within theoretical linguistics.
Introductions Wetzel 2008
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536 found
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  1. added 2018-12-07
    On the Individuation of Words.James Miller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-10.
    The idea that two words can be instances of the same word is a central intuition in our conception of language. This fact underlies many of the claims that we make about how we communicate, and how we understand each other. Given this, irrespective of what we think words are, it is common to think that any putative ontology of words, must be able to explain this feature of language. That is, we need to provide criteria of identity for word-types (...)
  2. added 2018-10-09
    Rejoinder to Miss MacDonald.A. M. MacIver - 1936 - Analysis 4 (6):81 - 88.
  3. added 2018-10-08
    Originalism About Word Types.Luca Gasparri - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):126-133.
    According to Originalism, word types are non-eternal continuants which are individuated by their causal-historical lineage and have a unique possible time of origination. This view collides with the intuition that individual words can be added to the lexicon of a language at different times, and generates other problematic consequences. The paper shows that such undesired results can be accommodated without abandoning Originalism.
  4. added 2018-09-19
    An Ontology of Words.Nurbay Irmak - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    Words are indispensable linguistic tools for beings like us. However, there is not much philosophical work done about what words really are. In this paper, I develop a new ontology for words. I argue that words are abstract artifacts that are created to fulfill various kinds of purposes, and words are abstract in the sense that they are not located in space but they have a beginning and may have an end in time given that certain conditions are met. What (...)
  5. added 2018-05-14
    Ascetic Eros. Love and Body in Mystical Union: St Teresa of Avila and St Gregory Palamas.Anton Marczyński - manuscript
  6. added 2018-04-30
    World to Word: Nomenclature Systems of Color and Species.Tanya Kelley - 2017 - Dissertation, University Of Missouri
    As the digitization of information accelerates, the push to encode our surrounding numerically instead of linguistically increases. The role that language has traditionally played in the nomenclature of an integrative taxonomy is being replaced by the numeric identification of one or few quantitative characteristics. Nineteenth-century scientific systems of color identification divided, grouped, and named colors according to multiple characteristics. Now color identification relies on numeric values applied to spectrographic readings. This means of identification of color lacks the taxonomic rigor of (...)
  7. added 2018-02-23
    Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Mukula's “Fundamentals of the Communicative Function”.Malcolm Keating - forthcoming - New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
    his introduction brings to life the main themes in Indian philosophy of language by using an accessible translation of an Indian classical text to provide an entry into the world of Indian linguistic theories. -/- Malcolm Keating draws on Mukula's Fundamentals of the Communicative Function to show the ability of language to convey a wide range of meanings and introduce ideas about testimony, pragmatics, and religious implications. Along with a complete translation of this foundational text, Keating also provides: - Clear (...)
  8. added 2018-02-17
    Is There Such a Thing as Pragmatics?--Review of Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics 2nd Ed (2009).Michael Starks - 2016 - In Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 by Michael Starks 662p (2016). Michael Starks. pp. 381-399.
    Clearly neither I nor anyone will ever read any substantial part of this massive tome so I will discuss the one article that interests me most and which I think provides the framework necessary for the understanding of all the rest. I refer to the one on Ludwig Wittgenstein (W). Even were I to try to discuss others, we would not get past the first page as all the issues here arise immediately in any discussion of behavior. The differentiation of (...)
  9. added 2018-02-16
    Words Without Objects: Semantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity.Henry Laycock - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    A picture of the world as chiefly one of discrete objects, distributed in space and time, has sometimes seemed compelling. It is however one of the main targets of Henry Laycock's book; for it is seriously incomplete. The picture, he argues, leaves no space for "stuff" like air and water. With discrete objects, we may always ask "how many?," but with stuff the question has to be "how much?" Laycock's fascinating exploration also addresses key logical and linguistic questions about the (...)
  10. added 2017-11-06
    Chapter 6: Reifying Terms.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - In Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops a semantics for 'reifying terms' of the sort 'the proposition that S', 'the fact that S', 'the property of being P', 'the number eight', 'the concept horse', 'the truth value true', 'the kind humane being'. This semantics is developed within the broader perspective of the ontology of natural language involving abstract objects only at its periphery, not its core.
  11. added 2017-08-21
    Inflectional Identity.Asaf Bachrach & Andrew Nevins (eds.) - 2008 - Oxford University Press UK.
    A recurrent issue in linguistic theory and psychology concerns the cognitive status of memorized lists and their internal structure. In morphological theory, the collections of inflected forms of a given noun, verb, or adjective into inflectional paradigms are thought to constitute one such type of list. This book focuses on the question of which elements in a paradigm can stand in a relation of partial or total phonological identity. Leading scholars consider inflectional identity from a variety of theoretical perspectives, with (...)
  12. added 2017-07-09
    Words on Psycholinguistics.Wade Munroe - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (12):593-616.
    David Kaplan’s analysis of the factors that determine what words someone has used in a given utterance requires that a speaker can only use a word through producing an utterance performed with a particular, related intention directed at speaking that word. This account, or any that requires a speaker to have an intention to utter a specific word, proves inconsistent with models of speech planning in psycholinguistics as informed by data on slips-of-the-tongue. Kaplan explicitly aims to formulate a theory of (...)
  13. 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 (...)
  14. added 2017-03-01
    Between the Lines of Age: Reflections on the Metaphysics of Words.Peter Alward - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (2):172–187.
  15. added 2017-02-15
    Metonymy and Word-Formation Revisited.Laura A. Janda - 2014 - Cognitive Linguistics 25 (2):341-349.
  16. added 2017-02-15
    From the Viking Word-Hoard: A Dictionary of Scandinavian Words in the Languages of Britain and Ireland. [REVIEW]Paul Byrne - 2011 - The Medieval Review 6.
  17. added 2017-02-15
    Differences in Cohesiveness Among Different Types of Word-Initial Consonant Clusters.Rebecca Treiman & Carol A. Fowler - 1991 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 29 (6):492-492.
  18. added 2017-02-15
    Taking Language by the Hand-Reading Handwritten Words.G. C. Oden & J. G. Rueckl - 1986 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 24 (5):344-345.
  19. added 2017-02-15
    Words on the Air: Essays on Language, Manners, Morals, and Laws.John Sparrow - 1981 - University of Chicago Press.
    Proper words in proper places, remarked Dean Swift, make the true definition of style. According to this definition, John Sparrow fully qualifies as a stylist. His skillful compound of wit, pungency, and accurate observation, his irreverence, his ear for language and hatred of cant are unsurpassed. This book brings together pieces broadcast by the BBC, a series of lectures at the University of Chicago, and, even, a university sermon. It proves that John Sparrow is one of those rare people whose (...)
  20. added 2017-02-14
    " Imperialism": The Word and its Meaning.Harrison M. Wright - forthcoming - Social Research.
  21. added 2017-02-14
    Joint Acquisition of Word Order and Word Reference.Luke Maurits, Amy F. Perfors & Daniel J. Navarro - 2009 - In N. A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. pp. 36.
  22. added 2017-02-14
    Is Word-Formation Compositional.Emmon Bach - 2005 - In Greg N. Carlson & Francis Jeffry Pelletier (eds.), Reference and Quantification: The Partee Effect. CSLI Publications. pp. 107--112.
  23. added 2017-02-14
    Coordination in Morphology and Syntax: The Case of Copulative Compounds.Susan Olsen - 2004 - In Alice G. B. ter Meulen & Werner Abraham (eds.), The Composition of Meaning: From Lexeme to Discourse. John Benjamins. pp. 17--37.
  24. added 2017-02-14
    Word Order and (Remnant) VP Movement.Anoop Mahajan - 2003 - In Simin Karimi (ed.), Word Order and Scrambling. Blackwell. pp. 4--217.
  25. added 2017-02-14
    Word Reading.Marie-Josephe Tainturier - 2001 - In B. Rapp (ed.), The Handbook of Cognitive Neuropsychology: What Deficits Reveal About the Human Mind. Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis. pp. 233.
  26. added 2017-02-14
    Merging Phonetic and Lexical Information in Phonetic Decision-Making.D. Norris, J. M. McQueen & A. Cutler - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23:299-325.
  27. added 2017-02-14
    The Bible as the Word of God in the Words of Men.L. Nereparampil - 1982 - Journal of Dharma 7 (3):302-312.
  28. added 2017-02-14
    Part-of-the-Meaning-of-a-Word.James F. Harris - 1976 - American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (1):81-84.
  29. added 2017-02-14
    The Presentative Movement or Why the Ideal Word Order is VSOP.Robert Hetzron - 1975 - In Charles N. Li (ed.), Word Order and Word Order Change. University of Texas Press. pp. 346--388.
  30. added 2017-02-14
    An Explanation of Word Order Change SVO→ SOV.Charles N. Li & Sandra A. Thompson - 1974 - Foundations of Language 12 (2):201-214.
  31. added 2017-02-14
    The Meaning of a Word.John L. Austin - 1961 - In J. O. Urmson & G. J. Warnock (eds.), Journal of Symbolic Logic. Clarendon Press. pp. 23--43.
  32. added 2017-02-13
    Sharing of Learning Knowledge in an Information Age-A System Assisting Acquisition of Japanese Expressions Through Read-Write-Hear-Speaking and Comparing Between Use Cases of Relevant Expressions.Kohji Itoh, Hiroshi Nakamura, Shunsuke Unno & Jun'ichi Kakegawa - 2006 - In O. Stock & M. Schaerf (eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer Verlag. pp. 1071-1078.
  33. added 2017-02-13
    The Meaning of the Word'peace'.Nilotpala Gandhi - 2006 - In Yajñeśvara Sadāśiva Śāstrī, Intaj Malek & Sunanda Y. Shastri (eds.), In Quest of Peace: Indian Culture Shows the Path. Bharatiya Kala Prakashan. pp. 1--230.
  34. added 2017-02-13
    Non-Morphological Word Formation.Paula López Rúa - 2006 - In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier.
  35. added 2017-02-13
    Local Dependencies and Word‐Order Variation.Gereon Müller - 2003 - In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Nature Publishing Group.
  36. added 2017-02-13
    Gaṅgeśa on Self-Mentioning Words.Sukharanjan Saha - 1994 - In A. Chakrabarti & B. K. Matilal (eds.), Knowing From Words. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 367--384.
  37. added 2017-02-13
    Frequency of Verbal Transformations as a Function of Word-Presentation Styles.Katharine A. Snyder, Richard S. Calef, Michael C. Choban & E. Scott Geller - 1992 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 30 (5):363-364.
  38. added 2017-02-13
    Word Order Tendencies in Two Prefield Subtypes.Jan Rijkhoff - 1987 - In Jan Nuyts & G. de Schutter (eds.), Getting One's Words Into Line: On Word Order and Functional Grammar. Foris Publications. pp. 1--15.
  39. added 2017-02-13
    Visual.Vs. Phonemic Contributions to the Importance of the Initial Letter in Word Identification.Carla J. Posnansky & Keith Rayner - 1978 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 11 (3):188-190.
  40. added 2017-02-13
    Word Frequency in Problem Solving.Carl P. Duncan - 1974 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 4 (2):93-94.
  41. added 2017-02-13
    Letter Identification in Word, Nonword, and Single-Letter Displays.James F. Juola, David D. Leavitt & Chong S. Choe - 1974 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 4 (4):278-280.
  42. added 2017-02-12
    The Search for Regularity in Irregularity: Defectiveness and its Implications for Our Knowledge of Words.Marianne Mithun - 2010 - In Defective Paradigms: Missing Forms and What They Tell Us. pp. 125.
    The longstanding issue in morphological theory has been the status of inflected forms in the memory. In general, the irregular forms of words are assumed to be learned, stored, and retrieved for use. While the contention on the storage of irregular forms seemed to be clear and cohesive, the views on the nature of storage of regular words vary. For some, all inflected forms are stored while some contend that storage is not homogenous, wherein the frequently-used forms are stored and (...)
  43. added 2017-02-12
    The Poetry of Growing Up a Girl: Excerpts From a Spoken Word Performance.Sarah E. Pettigrew - 2007 - Educational Studies 41 (3):187-193.
  44. added 2017-02-12
    Corrigendum to “Generalized Periodicity and Primitivity for Words”.Masami Ito & Gerhard Lischke - 2007 - Mathematical Logic Quarterly 53 (6):642-643.
    We correct a mistake in the paper “Generalized periodicity and primitivity for words” [4] and justify the existence of regular languages all of whose roots are not even context-sensitive.
  45. added 2017-02-12
    The Word of the Cross at the Turn of the Ages.James E. Kay - 1999 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 53 (1):44-56.
    If the death of Jesus is nothing less than God's Christ hanging on a cross, we cannot speak about God—and ourselves—in any customary way. How do we preach this word of the cross as the word of life? Our answer points toward an apocalyptic homiletic.
  46. added 2017-02-11
    Anagram Solutions as a Function of Task Variables and Solution Word Models.Ernest H. LeMay - 1972 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 92 (1):65.
  47. added 2017-02-11
    Context Effects on Frequency Judgments of Words and Sentences.Larry L. Jacoby - 1972 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 94 (3):255.
  48. added 2017-02-11
    Effect of Word Frequency Restriction on Anagram Solution.Ed M. Edmonds & Marvin R. Mueller - 1969 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 79 (3p1):545.
  49. added 2017-02-11
    Anagram Solving as a Function of Bigram Rank and Word Frequency.Roger L. Dominowski - 1967 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 75 (3):299.
  50. added 2017-02-10
    Pe(I)Rceiving the Phonological Sign.Jules F. Levin - 1985 - Semiotics:560-568.
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