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)
Language and the birth of "literature." A preface to transgression. Language to infinity. The father's "no." Fantasia of the library.--Counter-memory: the philosophy of difference. What is an author? Nietzsche, genealogy, history. Theatrum philosophicum.--Practice: knowledge and power. History of systems of thought. Intellectuals and power. Revolutionary action: "until now.".
Many people have argued that the evolution of the human language faculty cannot be explained by Darwinian natural selection. Chomsky and Gould have suggested that language may have evolved as the by-product of selection for other abilities or as a consequence of as-yet unknown laws of growth and form. Others have argued that a biological specialization for grammar is incompatible with every tenet of Darwinian theory – that it shows no genetic variation, could not exist in any intermediate (...) forms, confers no selective advantage, and would require more evolutionary time and genomic space than is available. We examine these arguments and show that they depend on inaccurate assumptions about biology or language or both. Evolutionary theory offers clear criteria for when a trait should be attributed to natural selection: complex design for some function, and the absence of alternative processes capable of explaining such complexity. Human language meets these criteria: Grammar is a complex mechanism tailored to the transmission of propositional structures through a serial interface. Autonomous and arbitrary grammatical phenomena have been offered as counterexamples to the position that language is an adaptation, but this reasoning is unsound: Communication protocols depend on arbitrary conventions that are adaptive as long as they are shared. Consequently, language acquisition in the child should systematically differ from language evolution in the species, and attempts to analogize them are misleading. Reviewing other arguments and data, we conclude that there is every reason to believe that a specialization for grammar evolved by a conventional neo-Darwinian process. (shrink)
Introduction: How hard is the "hard core" of a scientific program? / Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini -- pt. 1. The debate: 1. Opening the debate: The psychogenesis of knowledge and its epistemological significance / Jean Piaget -- On cognitive structures and their development: a reply to Piaget / Noam Chomsky -- 2. About the fixed nucleus and its innateness: Introductory remarks / Jean Piaget -- Cognitive strategies in problem solving / Guy Cellerier -- Some clarifications on innatism and constructivism / Guy Cellerier (...) -- 3. Artificial intelligence and general development mechanisms: The role of artificial intelligence in psychology / Seymour Papert -- 4. Initial states and steady states: The linguistic approach / Noam Chomsky -- 5. Cognitive schemes and their possible relations to language acquisition: Language and knowledge in a constructivist framework / Bäé́ Thom -- Appendix C: Localist hypothesis and theory of catastrophes: note on the debate / Jean Petitot. (shrink)
Originally published in 1973, this book shows that methods developed for the semantics of systems of formal logic can be successfully applied to problems about the semantics of natural languages; and, moreover, that such methods can take account of features of natural language which have often been thought incapable of formal treatment, such as vagueness, context dependence and metaphorical meaning. Parts 1 and 2 set out a class of formal languages and their semantics. Parts 3 and 4 (...) show that these formal languages are rich enought to be used in the precise description of natural languages. Appendices describe some of the concepts discussed in the text. (shrink)
It is a near truism of philosophy of language that sentences are prior to words--that they are the only things that fundamentally have meaning. Robert's Stainton's study interrogates this idea, drawing on a wide body of evidence to argue that speakers can and do use mere words, not sentences, to communicate complex thoughts.
Truth, Language, and History is the much-anticipated final volume of Donald Davidson's philosophical writings. In four groups of essays, Davidson continues to explore the themes that occupied him for more than fifty years: the relations between language and the world; speaker intention and linguistic meaning; language and mind; mind and body; mind and world; mind and other minds. He asks: what is the role of the concept of truth in these explorations? And, can a scientific world view (...) make room for human thought without reducing it to something material and mechanistic? Including a new introduction by his widow, Marcia Cavell, this volume completes Donald Davidson's colossal intellectual legacy. (shrink)
In this book, Scott Soames argues that the revolution in the study of language and mind that has taken place since the late nineteenth century must be rethought. The central insight in the reigning tradition is that propositions are representational. To know the meaning of a sentence or the content of a belief requires knowing which things it represents as being which ways, and therefore knowing what the world must be like if it is to conform to how the (...) sentence or belief represents it. These are truth conditions of the sentence or belief. But meanings and representational contents are not truth conditions, and there is more to propositions than representational content. In addition to imposing conditions the world must satisfy if it is to be true, a proposition may also impose conditions on minds that entertain it. The study of mind and language cannot advance further without a conception of propositions that allows them to have contents of both of these sorts. Soames provides it. He does so by arguing that propositions are repeatable, purely representational cognitive acts or operations that represent the world as being a certain way, while requiring minds that perform them to satisfy certain cognitive conditions. Because they have these two types of content—one facing the world and one facing the mind—pairs of propositions can be representationally identical but cognitively distinct. Using this breakthrough, Soames offers new solutions to several of the most perplexing problems in the philosophy of language and mind. (shrink)
Disillusionment with psychology is leading more and more people to formal philosophy for clues about how to think about life. But most of us who try to grapple with concepts such as reality, truth, common sense, consciousness, and society lack the rigorous training to discuss them with any confidence. John Searle brings these notions down from their abstract heights to the terra firma of real-world understanding, so that those with no knowledge of philosophy can understand how these principles play out (...) in our everyday lives. The author stresses that there is a real world out there to deal with, and condemns the belief that the reality of our world is dependent on our perception of it. (shrink)
According to Bickerton, the behavioral sciences have failed to give an adequate account of human nature at least partly because of the conjunction and mutual reinforcement of two widespread beliefs: that language is simply a means of communication and that human intelligence is the result of the rapid growth and unusual size of human brains. Bickerton argues that each of the properties distinguishing human intelligence and consciousness from that of other animals can be shown to derive straightforwardly from properties (...) of language. In essence, language arose as a representational system, not a means of communication or a skill, and not a product of culture but an evolutionary adaptation. The author stresses the necessity of viewing intelligence in evolutionary terms, seeing it not as problem solving but as a way of maintaining homeostasis - the preservation of those conditions most favorable to an organism, the optimal achievable conditions for survival and well-being. The term protolanguage is used to describe the stringing together of symbols that prehuman hominids employed. "It did not allow them to turn today's imagination into tomorrow's fact. But it is just this power to transform imagination into fact that distinguishes human behavior from that of our ancestral species, and indeed from that of all other species. It is exactly what enables us to change our behavior, or invent vast ranges of new behavior, practically overnight, with no concomitant genetic changes." Language and Human Behavior should be of interest to anyone in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences and to all those concerned with the role of language in human behavior. (shrink)
This book offers a defense of the tensed theory of time, a critique of the New Theory of Reference, and an argument that simultaneity is absolute. Although Smith rejects ordinary language philosophy, he shows how it is possible to argue from the nature of language to the nature of reality. Specifically, he argues that semantic properties of tensed sentences are best explained by the hypothesis that they ascribe to events temporal properties of futurity, presentness, or pastness and do (...) not merely ascribe relations of earlier than or simultaneity. He criticizes the New Theory of Reference, which holds that "now" refers directly to a time and does not ascribe the property of presentness. Smith does not adopt the old or Fregean theory of reference but develops a third alternative, based on his detailed theory of de re and de dicto propositions and a theory of cognitive significance. He concludes the book with a lengthy critique of Einstein's theory of time. Smith offers a positive argument for absolute simultaneity based on his theory that all propositions exist in time. He shows how Einstein's relativist temporal concepts are reducible to a conjunction of absolutist temporal concepts and relativist nontemporal concepts of the observable behavior of light rays, rigid bodies, and the like. (shrink)
Is language understanding a special case of social cognition? To help evaluate this view, we can formalize it as the rational speech-act theory: Listeners assume that speakers choose their utterances approximately optimally, and listeners interpret an utterance by using Bayesian inference to “invert” this model of the speaker. We apply this framework to model scalar implicature (“some” implies “not all,” and “N” implies “not more than N”). This model predicts an interaction between the speaker's knowledge state and the listener's (...) interpretation. We test these predictions in two experiments and find good fit between model predictions and human judgments. (shrink)
I argue that Stroud's nonreductionism about meaning is insufficiently motivated. First, given that he rejects the assumption that grasp of an expression's meaning guides or instructs us in its use, he has no reason to accept Kripke's arguments against dispositionalism or related reductive views. Second, his argument that reductive views are impossible because they attempt to explain language “from outside” rests on an equivocation between two senses in which an explanation of language can be from outside language. (...) I offer a partially reductive account of meaning which appeals both to speakers’ dispositions to produce and respond to utterances in naturalistically specifiable ways, and to the normative attitudes they adopt, in so doing, to their own behavior. This account is supported, I argue, by Stroud's early treatment of Wittgenstein's rule-following considerations and in particular of the agreement in primitive judgments or reactions which Wittgenstein takes to be required for linguistic communication. (shrink)
Quine and Davidson are among the leading thinkers of the twentieth century. Their influence on contemporary philosophy is second to none, and their impact is also strongly felt in disciplines such as linguistics and psychology. This book is devoted to both of them, but also questions some of their basic assumptions. Hans-Johann Glock critically scrutinizes their ideas on ontology, truth, necessity, meaning and interpretation, thought and language, and shows that their attempts to accommodate meaning and thought within a naturalistic (...) framework, either by impugning them as unclear or by extracting them from physical facts, are ultimately unsuccessful. His discussion includes interesting comparisons of Quine and Davidson with other philosophers, particularly Wittgenstein, and also offers detailed accounts of central issues in contemporary analytic philosophy, such as the nature of truth and of meaning and interpretation, and the relation between thought and language. (shrink)
This book considers how language can be appropriately theorized as both a natural and cultural phenomenon. In reaching his conclusion, Pateman draws on a wide range of work in linguistics, philosophy, and social theory, and argues in defense of Chomsky and against Wittgenstein, all within the framework of a realist philosophy of science and contemporary social theory.
Learning programming is thought to be troublesome. One doable reason why students don’t do well in programming is expounded to the very fact that traditional way of learning within the lecture hall adds more stress on students in understanding the Material rather than applying the Material to a true application. For a few students, this teaching model might not catch their interest. As a result, they'll not offer their best effort to grasp the Material given. Seeing however the information is (...) applied to real issues will increase student interest in learning. As a consequence, this may increase their effort to be taught. In the current paper, we try to help students learn C# programming language using Intelligent Tutoring System. This ITS was developed using ITSB authoring tool to be able to help the student learn programming efficiently and make the learning procedure very pleasing. A knowledge base using ITSB authoring tool style was used to represent the student's work and to give customized feedback and support to students. (shrink)
During the first two years of human life a common neural substrate underlies the hierarchical organization of elements in the development of speech as well as the capacity to combine objects manually, including tool use. Subsequent cortical differentiation, beginning at age two, creates distinct, relatively modularized capacities for linguistic grammar and more complex combination of objects. An evolutionary homologue of the neural substrate for language production and manual action is hypothesized to have provided a foundation for the evolution of (...)language before the divergence of the hominids and the great apes. Support comes from the discovery of a Broca's area homologue and related neural circuits in contemporary primates. In addition, chimpanzees have an identical constraint on hierarchical complexity in both tool use and symbol combination. Their performance matches that of the two-year-old child who has not yet developed the neural circuits for complex grammar and complex manual combination of objects. (shrink)
Can what we know change what we see? Does language affect cognition and perception? The last few years have seen increased attention to these seemingly disparate questions, but with little theoretical advance. We argue that substantial clarity can be gained by considering these questions through the lens of predictive processing, a framework in which mental representations—from the perceptual to the cognitive—reflect an interplay between downward-flowing predictions and upward-flowing sensory signals. This framework provides a parsimonious account of how what we (...) know ought to change what we see and helps us understand how a putatively high-level trait such as language can impact putatively low-level processes such as perception. Within this framework, language begins to take on a surprisingly central role in cognition by providing a uniquely focused and flexible means of constructing predictions against which sensory signals can be evaluated. Predictive processing thus provides a plausible mechanism for many of the reported effects of language on perception, thought, and action, and new insights on how and when speakers of different languages construct the same “reality” in alternate ways. (shrink)
The chapters in this timely volume aim to answer the growing interest in Arthur Schopenhauer’s logic, mathematics, and philosophy of language by comprehensively exploring his work on mathematical evidence, logic diagrams, and problems of semantics. Thus, this work addresses the lack of research on these subjects in the context of Schopenhauer’s oeuvre by exposing their links to modern research areas, such as the “proof without words” movement, analytic philosophy and diagrammatic reasoning, demonstrating its continued relevance to current discourse on (...) logic. -/- Beginning with Schopenhauer’s philosophy of language, the chapters examine the individual aspects of his semantics, semiotics, translation theory, language criticism, and communication theory. Additionally, Schopenhauer’s anticipation of modern contextualism is analyzed. The second section then addresses his logic, examining proof theory, metalogic, system of natural deduction, conversion theory, logical geometry, and the history of logic. Special focus is given to the role of the Euler diagrams used frequently in his lectures and their significance to broader context of his logic. In the final section, chapters discuss Schopenhauer’s philosophy of mathematics while synthesizing all topics from the previous sections, emphasizing the relationship between intuition and concept. -/- Aimed at a variety of academics, including researchers of Schopenhauer, philosophers, historians, logicians, mathematicians, and linguists, this title serves as a unique and vital resource for those interested in expanding their knowledge of Schopenhauer’s work as it relates to modern mathematical and logical study. (shrink)
Berkeley's philosophy is meant to be a defense of commonsense. However, Berkeley's claim that the ultimate constituents of physical reality are fleeting, causally passive ideas appears to be radically at odds with commonsense. In particular, such a theory seems unable to account for the robust structure which commonsense (and Newtonian physics) takes the world to exhibit. The problem of structure, as I understand it, includes the problem of how qualities can be grouped by their co-occurrence in a single enduring object (...) and how these enduring objects can bear spatiotemporal, causal, and other relations to one another. I argue that Berkeley's solution to these problems lies in his views about language. At one level, human language allows us to exploit patterns in our perceptions to construct a highly structured representation of the physical world which allows us to make accurate predictions at minimal cognitive expense. At a deeper level, these patterns occur in perception because our perceptions themselves form a language in which God speaks to us. (shrink)
Formal languages are widely regarded as being above all mathematical objects and as producing a greater level of precision and technical complexity in logical investigations because of this. Yet defining formal languages exclusively in this way offers only a partial and limited explanation of the impact which their use actually has. In this book, Catarina Dutilh Novaes adopts a much wider conception of formal languages so as to investigate more broadly what exactly is going on when theorists (...) put these tools to use. She looks at the history and philosophy of formal languages and focuses on the cognitive impact of formal languages on human reasoning, drawing on their historical development, psychology, cognitive science and philosophy. Her wide-ranging study will be valuable for both students and researchers in philosophy, logic, psychology and cognitive and computer science. (shrink)
Fundamental to spatial knowledge in all species are the representations underlying object recognition, object search, and navigation through space. But what sets humans apart from other species is our ability to express spatial experience through language. This target article explores the language ofobjectsandplaces, asking what geometric properties are preserved in the representations underlying object nouns and spatial prepositions in English. Evidence from these two aspects of language suggests there are significant differences in the geometric richness with which (...) objects and places are encoded. When an object is named, detailed geometric properties – principally the object's shape – are represented. In contrast, when an object plays the role of either “figure” or “ground” in a locational expression, only very coarse geometric object properties are represented, primarily the main axes. In addition, the spatial functions encoded by spatial prepositions tend to be nonmetric and relatively coarse, for example, “containment,” “contact,” “relative distance,” and “relative direction.” These properties are representative of other languages as well. The striking differences in the way language encodes objects versus places lead us to suggest two explanations: First, there is a tendency for languages to level out geometric detail from both object and place representations. Second, a nonlinguistic disparity between the representations of “what” and “where” underlies how language represents objects and places. The language of objects and places converges with and enriches our understanding of corresponding spatial representations. (shrink)
Thomas Sattig develops a comprehensive framework for doing philosophy of time, and offers an original three-dimensionalist picture of the material world. He brings together a variety of different perspectives, linking our ordinary conception of time with the physicist's conception, and linking metaphysical questions about time with questions in the philosophy of language.
_Language, Names, and Information_ is an important contribution to philosophy of language by one of its foremost scholars, challenging the pervasive view that the description theory of proper names is dead in the water, and defending a version of the description theory from a perspective on language that sees words as a wonderful source of information about the nature of the world we live in. Challenges current pervasive view that the description theory of reference for proper names has (...) been refuted Discusses several topics at the center of current debates, including representation and information, two-dimensionalism, possible worlds, and broad vs. narrow content Maintains the conversational and somewhat informal tone of the original lectures upon which the book is based. (shrink)
What is philosophy about and what are its methods? _Philosophy and Ordinary Language_ is a defence of the view that philosophy is largely about questions of language, which to a large extent means _ordinary_ language. Some people argue that if philosophy is about ordinary language, then it is necessarily less deep and difficult than it is usually taken to be but Oswald Hanfling shows us that this isn't true. Hanfling, a leading expert in the development of analytic (...) philosophy, covers a wide range of topics, including scepticism and the definition of knowledge, free will, empiricism, folk psychology, ordinary versus artificial logic, and philosophy versus science. Drawing on philosophers such as Austin, Wittgenstein, and Quine, this book explores the nature of ordinary language in philosophy. (shrink)
Do we think in natural language? Or is language only for communication? Much recent work in philosophy and cognitive science assumes the latter. In contrast, Peter Carruthers argues that much of human conscious thinking is conducted in the medium of natural language sentences. However, this does not commit him to any sort of Whorfian linguistic relativism, and the view is developed within a framework that is broadly nativist and modularist. His study will be essential reading for all (...) those interested in the nature and significance of natural language, whether they come from philosophy, psychology or linguistics. (shrink)
One of the most important and influential philosophers of the last 30 years, John Searle has been concerned throughout his career with a single overarching question: how can we have a unified and theoretically satisfactory account of ourselves and of our relations to other people and to the natural world? In other words, how can we reconcile our common-sense conception of ourselves as conscious, free, mindful, rational agents in a world that we believe comprises brute, unconscious, mindless, meaningless, mute physical (...) particles in fields of force? The essays in this collection are all related to the broad overarching issue that unites the diverse strands of Searle's work. Gathering in an accessible manner essays available only in relatively obscure books and journals, this collection will be of particular value to professionals and upper-level students in philosophy as well as to Searle's more extended audience in such fields as psychology and linguistics. (shrink)
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, (...) in particular the reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Music and language are universal human abilities with many apparent similarities relating to their acoustics, structure, and frequent use in social situations. We might therefore expect them to be understood and processed similarly, and indeed an emerging body of research suggests that this is the case. But the focus has historically been on the individual, looking at the passive listener or the isolated speaker or performer, even though social interaction is the primary site of use for both domains. Nonetheless, (...) an important goal of emerging research is to compare music and language in terms of acoustics and structure, social interaction, and functional origins to develop parallel accounts across the two domains. Indeed, a central aim of both of evolutionary musicology and language evolution research is to understand the adaptive significance or functional origin of human music and language. An influential proposal to emerge in recent years has been referred to as the social bonding hypothesis. Here, within a comparative approach to animal communication systems, I review empirical studies in support of the social bonding hypothesis in humans, non-human primates, songbirds, and various other mammals. In support of this hypothesis, I review six research fields: (i) the functional origins of music; (ii) the functional origins of language; (iii) mechanisms of social synchrony for human social bonding; (iv) language and social bonding in humans; (v) music and social bonding in humans; and (vi) pitch, tone and emotional expression in human speech and music. I conclude that the comparative study of complex vocalizations and behaviors in various extant species can provide important insights into the adaptive function(s) of these traits in these species, as well as offer evidence-based speculations for the existence of “musilanguage” in our primate ancestors, and thus inform our understanding of the biology and evolution of human music and language. (shrink)
The twenty-first century will witness an unprecedented decline in the diversity of the world’s languages. While most philosophers will likely agree that this decline is lamentable, the question of what exactly is lost with a language has not been systematically explored in the philosophical literature. In this paper, I address this lacuna by arguing that language loss constitutes a problematic form of illocutionary silencing. When a language disappears, past and present speakers lose the ability to realize (...) a range of speech acts that can only be realized in that language. With that ability, speakers lose something in which they have a fundamental interest: their standing as fully empowered members of a linguistic community. (shrink)
This book takes concepts developed by researchers in theoretical computer science and adapts and applies them to the study of natural language meaning. Summarizing over a decade of research, Chris Barker and Chung-chieh Shan put forward the Continuation Hypothesis: that the meaning of a natural language expression can depend on its own continuation.
Our self-conception derives mostly from our own experience. We believe ourselves to be conscious, rational, social, ethical, language-using, political agents who possess free will. Yet we know we exist in a universe that consists of mindless, meaningless, unfree, nonrational, brute physical particles. How can we resolve the conflict between these two visions? In _Freedom and Neurobiology_, the philosopher John Searle discusses the possibility of free will within the context of contemporary neurobiology. He begins by explaining the relationship between human (...) reality and the more fundamental reality as described by physics and chemistry. Then he proposes a neurobiological resolution to the problem by demonstrating how various conceptions of free will have different consequences for the neurobiology of consciousness. In the second half of the book, Searle applies his theory of social reality to the problem of political power, explaining the role of language in the formation of our political reality. The institutional structures that organize, empower, and regulate our lives-money, property, marriage, government-consist in the assignment and collective acceptance of certain statuses to objects and people. Whether it is the president of the United States, a twenty-dollar bill, or private property, these entities perform functions as determined by their status in our institutional reality. Searle focuses on the political powers that exist within these systems of status functions and the way in which language constitutes them. Searle argues that consciousness and rationality are crucial to our existence and that they are the result of the biological evolution of our species. He addresses the problem of free will within the context of a neurobiological conception of consciousness and rationality, and he addresses the problem of political power within the context of this analysis. A clear and concise contribution to the free-will debate and the study of cognition, _Freedom and Neurobiology_ is essential reading for students and scholars of the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy of technology after the empirical turn has surprisingly little to say on the relation between language and technology. This essay describes this gap, offers a preliminary discussion of how language and technology may be related to show that there is a rich conceptual space to be gained, and begins to explore some ways in which the gap could be bridged by starting from within specific philosophical subfields and traditions. One route starts from philosophy of language (...) (both ‘‘analytic’’ and ‘‘continental’’: Searle and Heidegger) and discusses some potential implications for thinking about technology; another starts from artefact-oriented approaches in philosophy of technology and STS and shows that these approaches might helpfully be extended by theorizing relationships between language and techno- logical artefacts. The essay concludes by suggesting a research agenda, which invites more work on the relation between language and technology. (shrink)