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.
The first page of Frege’s classic “Uber Sinn und Bedeutung” sets for more than a hundred years now the agenda for much of semantics and the philosophy of mind. It presents a purported puzzle whose solution is said to call upon the “entities” of semantics (meanings) and psychological explanation (Psychological states, beliefs, concepts). The paper separates three separate alleged puzzles that can be read into Frege’s data. It then argues that none are genuine puzzles. In turn, much of the Frege-driven (...) theoretical development, motivated as an inevitable “solution”, is thrown into doubt. (shrink)
In his Meditations, Rene Descartes asks, "what am I?" His initial answer is "a man." But he soon discards it: "But what is a man? Shall I say 'a rational animal'? No: for then I should inquire what an animal is, what rationality is, and in this way one question would lead down the slope to harder ones." Instead of understanding what a man is, Descartes shifts to two new questions: "What is Mind?" and "What is Body?" These questions develop (...) into Descartes's main philosophical preoccupation: the Mind-Body distinction. How can Mind and Body be independent entities, yet joined--essentially so--within a single human being? If Mind and Body are really distinct, are human beings merely a "construction"? On the other hand, if we respect the integrity of humans, are Mind and Body merely aspects of a human being and not subjects in and of themselves? For centuries, philosophers have considered this classic philosophical puzzle. Now, in this compact, engaging, and long-awaited work UCLA philosopher Joseph Almog closely decodes the French philosopher's argument for distinguishing between the human mind and body while maintaining simultaneously their essential integration in a human being. He argues that Descartes constructed a solution whereby the trio of Human Mind, Body, and Being are essentially interdependent yet remain each a genuine individual subject. Almog's reading not only steers away from the most popular interpretations of Descartes, but also represents a scholar coming to grips directly with Descartes himself. In doing so, Almog creates a work that Cartesian scholars will value, and that will also prove indispensable to philosophers of language, ontology, and the metaphysics of mind. (shrink)
It has been common in contemporary philosophical logic to separate existence, essence and logic. I would like to reverse these separative tendencies. Doing so yields two theses, one about the existential basis of truth, the other about the essentialist basis of logic. The first thesis counters the common claim that both logical and essential truths-in short, structural truths-are existence-free. It is proposed that only real existences can generate essentialist and logical predications. The second thesis counters the common assumption that logic (...) is free of essentialist involvement. I propose the contrary-logical predications are to be explained as a special kind of essentialist attributions. (shrink)
Keith Donnellan of UCLA is one of the founding fathers of contemporary philosophy of language, along with David Kaplan and Saul Kripke. Donnellan was and is an extremely creative thinker whose insights reached into metaphysics, action theory, the history of philosophy, and of course the philosophy of mind and language. This volume collects the best critical essays on Donnellan's forty-year body of work. The pieces by such noted philosophers as Tyler Burge, David Kaplan, and John Perry, discuss Donnellan's various insights (...) particularly offering new readings of his views on language and mind. (shrink)
This volume collects Keith Donnellan's key contributions dating from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, along with a substantive introduction by the editor Joseph Almog, which disseminates the work to a new audience and for posterity.