This anthology of essays on the work of David Kaplan, a leading contemporary philosopher of language, sprang from a conference, "Themes from Kaplan," organized by the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.
A distinction is developed between two uses of definite descriptions, the "attributive" and the "referential." the distinction exists even in the same sentence. several criteria are given for making the distinction. it is suggested that both russell's and strawson's theories fail to deal with this distinction, although some of the things russell says about genuine proper names can be said about the referential use of definite descriptions. it is argued that the presupposition or implication that something fits the description, present (...) in both uses, has a different genesis depending upon whether the description is used referentially or attributively. this distinction in use seems not to depend upon any syntactic or semantic ambiguity. it is also suggested that there is a distinction between what is here called "referring" and what russell defines as denoting. definite descriptions may denote something, according to his definition, whether used attributively or referentially. (shrink)
In this volume of essays, Howard Wettstein explores the foundations of religious commitment. His orientation is broadly naturalistic, but not in the mode of reductionism or eliminativism. This collection explores questions of broad religious interest, but does so through a focus on the author's religious tradition, Judaism. Among the issues explored are the nature and role of awe, ritual, doctrine, religious experience; the distinction between belief and faith; problems of evil and suffering with special attention to the Book of Job (...) and to the Akedah, the biblical story of the binding of Isaac; the virtue of forgiveness. One of the book's highlights is its literary approach to theology that at the same time makes room for philosophical exploration of religion. Another is Wettstein's rejection of the usual picture that sees religious life as sitting atop a distinctive metaphysical foundation, one that stands in need of epistemological justification. (shrink)
The late 20th century saw great movement in the philosophy of language, often critical of the fathers of the subject-Gottlieb Frege and Bertrand Russell-but sometimes supportive of (or even defensive about) the work of the fathers. Howard Wettstein's sympathies lie with the critics. But he says that they have often misconceived their critical project, treating it in ways that are technically focused and that miss the deeper implications of their revolutionary challenge. Wettstein argues that Wittgenstein-a figure with whom the critics (...) of Frege and Russell are typically unsympathetic-laid the foundation for much of what is really revolutionary in this late 20th century movement. The subject itself should be of great interest, since philosophy of language has functioned as a kind of foundation for much of 20th century philosophy. But in fact it remains a subject for specialists, since the ideas are difficult and the mode of presentation is often fairly technical. In this book, Wettstein brings the non-specialist into the conversation (especially in early chapters); he also reconceives the debate in a way that avoids technical formulation. The Magic Prism is intended for professional philosophers, graduate students, and upper division undergraduates. (shrink)
The nature of reference, or the relation of a word to the object to which it refers, has been perhaps the dominant concern of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. Extremely influential arguments by Gottlob Frege around the turn of the century convinced the large majority of philosophers that the meaning of a word must be distinguished from its referent, the former only providing some kind of direction for reaching the latter. In the last twenty years, this Fregean orthodoxy has been vigorously challenged (...) by those who argue that certain important kinds of words, at least, refer directly without need of an intermediate meaning or sense. The essays in this volume record how a long-term study of Frege has persuaded the author that Frege's pivotal distinction between sense and reference, and his attendant philosophical views about language and thought, are unsatisfactory. Frege's perspective, he argues, imposes a distinctive way of thinking about semantics, specifically about the centrality of cognitive significance puzzles for semantics. Freed from Frege's perspective, we will no longer find it natural to think about semantics in this way. (shrink)
Charles Griswold’s seminal work, Forgiveness, is the focus of the present essay. Following Griswold, I distinguish the relevant virtue of character from something that is more like an act or process. The paper discusses a number of hesitations I have about Griswold’s analysis, at the level both of detail and of underlying conception.
This collection of essays focuses on a current issue of central important in contemporary philosophy, the relationship between philosophy and empirical studies. Explores in detail a range of examples which demonstrate how the older paradigm – philosophy as conceptual analysis – is giving way to a more varied set of models of philosophical work Each of the featured papers is a previously unpublished contribution by a major scholar.
Contemporary semantical discussions make mention of the traditional approach to semantics represented by Frege and/or Russell--even sometimes by Frege-Russell. Is there a Frege-Russell view in the philosophy of language? How much of a common semantical perspective did Frege and Russell share? The matter bears exploration. I begin with Frege and Russell on propositions.
I have long felt that graduate education in philosophy, when successful, produces in its beneficiaries a strong antipathy, almost an allergic reaction, to “ism” words. “Naturalism,” nevertheless, is not one that is easy to eschew. This is not because of anything like a widely shared or especially intuitive doctrine associated with the term. The numerous doctrines offered by way of characterization often seem either suspicious because of their strength, or else platitudinous, too easy and not sufficiently restrictive. The appeal of (...) naturalism is rather a matter of a tendency of thought, a powerful one despite its lack of easy definition. (shrink)
Analytic philosophy was born from philosophic reflection on logic and mathematics. It has been at its strongest in these and related domains of reflection, domains that are friendly to definition and analytic clarity. From time to time, analytic philosophers, some very distinguished, have produced fine work on literature and the arts. But these areas remain underexplored in the analytic tradition. This volume is focused upon language that does not fit within the usual analytic paradigms. It's highlights include two pieces of (...) original poetry on philosophic subjects (by philosophers who are also published poets), and philosophic reflection on poetry, literature more generally, metaphor, and related subjects. (shrink)
Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Volume XXIV, Life and Death: Metaphysics and Ethics is an important contribution to the literature on the intersection of issues of metaphysics and issues of ethics. In the Midwest Studies tradition, twenty of the more important philosophers writing in this area have contributed original papers that extend the boundaries of philosophical discussion of issues that are of both theoretical and practical concern to a wide-ranging audience. Topics considered include the concept of human life, the relationship between (...) the concept of personal identity and the understanding of death, normative appraisals of death, capital punishment, euthanasia, the postponement of death and the impact of a theory of death and afterlife on one's ethical perspective. (shrink)
Philosophy and Poetry is the 33rd volume in the Midwest Studies in Philosophy series. It begins with contributions in verse from two world class poets, JohnAshbery and Stephen Dunn, and an article by Dunn on the creative processthat issued in his poem. The volume features new work from an internationalcollection of philosophers exploring central philosophical issues pertinent topoetry as well as the connections between the two domains.
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