No letters: Hobbes and 20th-century philosophy of language

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 38 (4):486-512 (2008)

Abstract
The author argues that Thomas Hobbes anticipates a set of questions about meaning and semantic order that come to fuller expression in the 20th century, in the writings of W.V.O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Donald Davidson, Jacques Derrida, and Richard Rorty. Despite their different points of departure, these 20th-century writers pose a number of profound questions about the conditions for the stability of meaning, and about the conditions that govern the use of the term “language” itself. Though the more recent debate benefits from a set of philosophical tools unavailable in the seventeenth century, the author further argues that Hobbes performs a number of maneuvers in his texts from which his 20th-century successors would profit
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DOI 10.1177/0048393108323862
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How to Do Things with Words.John L. Austin - 1962 - Mind 75 (298):262-285.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.
Of Grammatology.Jacques Derrida - 1982 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 15 (1):66-70.
Utterer’s Meaning and Intentions.H. Paul Grice - 1969 - Philosophical Review 78 (2):147-177.
Two Treatises of Government.John Locke - 1966 - Philosophical Quarterly 16 (65):365.

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