The Meaning Of Language, Second Edition

Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press (2020)
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Abstract

A new edition of a comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of language, substantially updated and reorganized. The philosophy of language aims to answer a broad range of questions about the nature of language, including “what is a language?” and “what is the source of meaning?” This accessible comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of language begins with the most basic properties of language and only then proceeds to the phenomenon of meaning. The second edition has been significantly expanded and reorganized, putting the original content in a contemporary context and offering substantial new material, with extended discussions and entirely new chapters. After establishing the basics, the book discusses general criteria for an adequate theory of meaning, takes a first pass at describing meaning at an abstract level, and distinguishes between meaning and other related phenomena. Building on this, the book then addresses various specific theories of meaning, beginning with early foundational theories and proceeding to more contemporary ones. New to this edition are expanded discussions of Chomsky's work and compositional semantics, among other topics, and new chapters on such subjects as propositions, Montague grammar, and contemporary theories of language. Each chapter has technical terms in bold, followed by definitions, and offers a list of main points and suggested further readings. The book is suitable for use in undergraduate courses in philosophy and linguistics. Some background in philosophy is assumed, but knowledge of philosophy of language is not necessary.

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Melissa Ebbers
University of Maryland, College Park (PhD)

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