In this book one of the world's foremost philosophers of language presents his unifying vision of the field--its principal achievements, its most pressing current questions, and its most promising future directions. In addition to explaining the progress philosophers have made toward creating a theoretical framework for the study of language, Scott Soames investigates foundational concepts--such as truth, reference, and meaning--that are central to the philosophy of language and important to philosophy as a whole. The first (...) part of the book describes how philosophers from Frege, Russell, Tarski, and Carnap to Kripke, Kaplan, and Montague developed precise techniques for understanding the languages of logic and mathematics, and how these techniques have been refined and extended to the study of natural human languages. The book then builds on this account, exploring new thinking about propositions, possibility, and the relationship between meaning, assertion, and other aspects of language use. An invaluable overview of the philosophy of language by one of its most important practitioners, this book will be essential reading for all serious students of philosophy. (shrink)
What do ‘meaning’ and ‘truth’ mean? And how are they situated in the concrete practices of linguistic communication? What is the relationship between words and the world? How—with words—can people do such varied things as marry, inaugurate a president, and declare a country’s independence? How is language able to express knowledge, belief, and other mental states? What are metaphors and how do they work? Is a mathematically rigorous account of language possible? Does language make women invisible and (...) encode a male worldview? These are the kind of questions that have been addressed by philosophers of language since ancient times. Interest in the subject stretches back to the beginnings of western philosophy . Interest in the philosophy of language has also been enduring—and has blossomed anew in the past century. This new title in the Routledge series, Critical Concepts in Philosophy, meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of the subject’s vast literature and the continuing explosion in research output. Edited by A. P. Martinich, one of the subdiscipline’s leading scholars, this collection brings together in four volumes the canonical and the very best cutting-edge scholarship in the field to provide a synoptic view of all the key issues, figures, concepts, and current debates. With comprehensive introductions to each volume, newly written by the editor, which place the collected material in its historical and intellectual context, Philosophy of Language is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by philosophers and linguists—as well as psychologists and cognitive scientists working on language—as a vital research resource. (shrink)
This book is an introduction to and interpretation of the philosophy of language devised by Donald Davidson over the past 25 years. The guiding intuition is that Davidson's work is best understood as an ongoing attempt to purge semantics of theoretical reifications. Seen in this light the recent attack on the notion of language itself emerges as a natural development of his Quinian scepticism towards "meanings" and his rejections of reference-based semantic theories. Linguistic understanding is, for Davidson, (...) essentially dynamic, arising only through a continuous process of theory construction and reconstruction. The result is a conception of semantics in which the notion of interpretation and not the notion of knowing a language is fundamental. In the course of his book Bjorn Ramberg provides a critical discussion of reference-based semantic theories, challenging the standard accounts of the principle of charity and elucidating the notion of radical interpretation. The final chapter on incommensurability ties in with the discussions of Kuhn's work in the philosophy of science and suggests certain links between Davidson's analytic semantics and hermeneutic theory. (shrink)
_Philosophy of Language_ introduces the student to the main issues and theories in twentieth-century philosophy of language. Topics are structured in three parts in the book. Part I, Reference and Referring Expressions, includes topics such as Russell's Theory of Desciptions, Donnellan's distinction, problems of anaphora, the description theory of proper names, Searle's cluster theory, and the causal-historical theory. Part II, Theories of Meaning, surveys the competing theories of linguistic meaning and compares their various advantages and liabilities. Part III, (...) Pragmatics and Speech Acts, introduces the basic concepts of linguistic pragmatics, includes a detailed discussion of the problem of indirect force and surveys approaches to metaphor. Unique features of the text: * chapter overviews and summaries * clear supportive examples * study questions * annotated further reading * glossary. (shrink)
This collection of classic and contemporary essays in philosophy of language offers a concise introduction to the field for students in graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses. It includes some of the most important basic sources in philosophy of language, as well as new essays by scholars on the leading edge of innovation in this increasingly influential area of philosophy. Each chapter is preceded the editors' introduction.
Philosophy of language explores some of the fundamental yet most technical problems in philosophy, such as meaning and reference, semantics, and propositional attitudes. Some of its greatest exponents, including Gottlob Frege, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell are amongst the major figures in the history of philosophy. In this clear and carefully structured introduction to the subject Gary Kemp explains the following key topics: the basic nature of philosophy of language and its historical development early (...) arguments concerning the role of meaning, including cognitive meaning vs expressivism, context and compositionality Frege’s arguments concerning sense and reference; non-existent objects Russell and the theory of definite descriptions modern theories including Kripke and Putnam; arguments concerning necessity, analyticity and natural kind terms indexicality, context and modality. What are indexicals? Davidson’s theory of language and the ‘principle of charity’ propositional attitudes Quine’s naturalism and its consequences for philosophy of language. Chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of language and will be particularly useful for students coming to the subject for the first time. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy of language uses experimental methods developed in the cognitive sciences to investigate topics of interest to philosophers of language. This article describes the methodological background for the development of experimental approaches to topics in philosophy of language, distinguishes negative and positive projects in experimental philosophy of language, and evaluates experimental work on the reference of proper names and natural kind terms. The reliability of expert judgments vs. the judgments of ordinary speakers, (...) the role that ambiguity plays in influencing responses to experiments, and the reliability of metalinguistic judgments are also assessed. (shrink)
This engaging and accessible introduction to the philosophy of language provides an important guide to one of the liveliest and most challenging areas of study in philosophy. Interweaving the historical development of the subject with a thematic overview of the different approaches to meaning, the book provides students with the tools necessary to understand contemporary analytical philosophy. The second edition includes new material on: Chomsky, Wittgenstein and Davidson as well as new chapters on the causal theory (...) of reference, possible worlds semantics and semantic externalism. (shrink)
A typical device in film is to have a character narrating what is going on, but this narration is not always a reliable guide to the events. According to Maier, distortions may be caused by the narrator’s intent, naivety, use of drugs, and/or cognitive disorder/illness. What is common to these various causes, he argues, is the presence of a point of view, which appears in a movie as shots. While this perspective-based account of unreliability covers most cases, I unpack its (...) methodological consequences and gesture at a possibility that Maier’s analysis overlooks. A narration, I suggest, can be unreliable simply because it is ill-timed with the events shown on screen. In such a case, the distortion is not due to any character’s point of view; rather, it comes from the film medium’s ability to divorce what is seen and what is heard. As a consequence of this mismatch, it is possible to have a reliable narrator but an unreliable narration. Since voice and context of utterance usually match in ordinary speech, I conclude that philosophy of language may be ill-suited to properly understand this particular phenomenon. (shrink)
This collection of fourteen original essays addresses the seminal contribution of Franz Brentano and his heirs, to philosophy of language. Despite the great interest provoked by the Brentanian tradition and its multiple connections with early analytic philosophy, precious little is known about the Brentanian contribution to philosophy of language. The aim of this new collection is to fill this gap by providing the reader with a more thorough understanding of the legacy of Brentano and his (...) school, in their pursuit of a unique research programme according to which the analysis of meaning is inseparable from philosophical inquiries into what goes on in the mind and what there is in the world. In three parts, the volume first reconstructs Brentano’s pathbreaking thoughts on meaning and grammatical illusions, exploring their strong connections with the Austro-German tradition and analytic philosophy. It then addresses the multifaceted debates on the objectivity of meaning in the Brentano School and its aftermath. Finally, part three explores Brentano’s wider legacy, namely: Husserl’s theory of modification and typicality, Bühler’s theory of linguistic and non-linguistic expressions, and Wittgenstein’s thoughts on guidance and rule-following. The result is a unique collection of essays which shows the significance, originality and timely character of the Brentanian philosophy of language. (shrink)
Starting with Gottlob Frege's foundational theories of sense and reference, Miller provides a useful introduction to the formal logic used in all subsequent philosophy of language. He communicates a sense of active philosophical debate by confronting the views of the early theorists concerned with building systematic theories - such as Frege, Bertrand Russell, and the logical positivists - with the attacks mounted by sceptics - such as W.O. Quine, Saul Kripke, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This leads to important excursions (...) into related areas of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science that present the more recent attempts to save the notions of sense and meaning by philosophers such as Paul Grice, John Searle, Jerry Fodor, Colin McGinn, and Crispin Wright. Miller then returns to the systematic program by examining the formal theories of Donald Davidson, concluding with a chapter surveying the relevance of philosophy of language to the broader metaphysical debates between realists and anti-realists. Miller's clear, engaged, and coherently structured approach makes Philosophy of Language an ideal text for undergraduate courses. The guides to further reading provided in each chapter help the reader pursue interesting topics further and facilitate using the book in conjunction with primary sources. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy of language uses experimental methods developed in the cognitive sciences to investigate topics of interest to philosophers of language. This article describes the methodological background for the development of experimental approaches to topics in philosophy of language, distinguishes negative and positive projects in experimental philosophy of language, and evaluates experimental work on the reference of proper names and natural kind terms. The reliability of expert judgments vs. the judgments of ordinary speakers, (...) the role that ambiguity plays in influencing responses to experiments, and the reliability of meta-linguistic judgments are also assessed. (shrink)
Philosophy of language deals with questions that arise from our ordinary, everyday conception of language. (Philosophy of linguistics, in contrast, follows up questions that arise from the scientific study of language.) But saying this does not yet give a clear idea of the sorts of questions that belong distinctively in philosophy of language. Wittgenstein said (1953, §119), ‘The results of philosophy are the uncovering of one or another piece of plain nonsense and (...) of bumps that the understanding has got by running its head up against the limits of language.’ On this conception, philosophy is about the ways in which we understand and misunderstand language, about how we come to mistake plain nonsense for something that is intelligible, and about what cannot be expressed in language. So, on this view, virtually all of philosophy is concerned with questions about language. It is, indeed, true that language has loomed large in the philosophy of the last hundred years or so. But there is still a specific, recognizable area of the discipline that is philosophy of language. It begins from one absolutely basic fact about language, namely, that expressions of a language have meaning, and can be used to talk about objects and events in the world. For philosophy of language, the central phenomenon to be studied is linguistic meaning. This chapter introduces some of the ways in which that study proceeds. Readers might also like to look at the closely related chapters on PHILOSOPHY.. (shrink)
One of the most important students of Franz Brentano was Anton Marty, who made it his task to develop a philosophy of language on the basis of Brentano’s analysis of mind. It is most unfortunate that Marty does not receive the attention he deserves, primarily due to his detailed and distracting polemics. In the analysis presented here his philosophy of language and other aspects of his thought, such as his ontology , are examined first and foremost (...) in their positive rather than critical character. The analysis is moreover supplemented by translations of four important works by Marty, including his entire work On the Origin of Language. These are in fact the first English translations of any substantial writings by him. The resulting picture that emerges from the analysis and translations is that Marty has much to say that proves to be of enduring interest for the philosophy of language on a range of topics, especially the meanings of statements, of emotive expressions, and of names as regards both their communicative and their ontological aspects. The volume will be of interest not only to philosophers and historians of philosophy, but also to historians of linguistics and psychology. (shrink)
This engaging and accessible introduction to the philosophy of language provides an important guide to one of the liveliest and most challenging areas of study in philosophy. Interweaving the historical development of the subject with a thematic overview of the different approaches to meaning, the book provides students with the tools necessary to understand contemporary analytical philosophy.
Some of the most distinguished active contributors to the field join together for a collection of their most recent work. Brings together important new papers by many of the most distinguished philosophers of language Takes up some of the central issues in the field in recent years Includes some of the best cutting-edge work in philosophy of language.
Metaethics is the study of metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, insofar as they relate to the subject matter of moral or, more broadly, normative discourse – the subject matter of what is good, bad, right or wrong, just, reasonable, rational, what we must or ought to do, or otherwise. But out of these four ‘core’ areas of philosophy, it is plausibly the philosophy of language that is most central (...) to metaethics – and not simply because ‘metaethics’ was for a long time construed more narrowly as a name for the study of moral language. The philosophy of language is central to metaethics because both the advantages of and the open problems facing different metaethical theories differ sharply over the answers those theories give to central questions in the philosophy of language. In fact, among the open problems over which such theories differ, are included particularly further problems in the philosophy of language. This article briefly surveys a range of broad categories of views in metaethics and both catalogues some of the principal issues faced by each in the philosophy of language, as well as how those arise out of their answers to more basic questions in the philosophy of language. I make no claim to completeness, only to raising a variety of important issues. (shrink)
In the Twentieth Century, Logic and Philosophy of Language are two of the few areas of philosophy in which philosophers made indisputable progress. For example, even now many of the foremost living ethicists present their theories as somewhat more explicit versions of the ideas of Kant, Mill, or Aristotle. In contrast, it would be patently absurd for a contemporary philosopher of language or logician to think of herself as working in the shadow of any figure who (...) died before the Twentieth Century began. Advances in these disciplines make even the most unaccomplished of its practitioners vastly more sophisticated than Kant. There were previous periods in which the problems of language and logic were studied extensively (e.g. the medieval period). But from the perspective of the progress made in the last 120 years, previous work is at most a source of interesting data or occasional insight. All systematic theorizing about content that meets contemporary standards of rigor has been done subsequently. (shrink)
Much of feminist philosophy of language so far can be described as critical—critical either of language itself or of philosophy of language, and calling for change on the basis of these criticisms. Those making these criticisms suggest that the changes are needed for the sake of feminist goals — either to better allow for feminist work to be done or, more frequently, to bring an end to certain key ways that women are disadvantaged. In this (...) entry, I examine these criticisms. I also examine work by feminists that seems to suggest some of the criticisms are misplaced: that, for example, philosophy of language is better able to help in feminist projects than critics suppose. My focus in this entry will generally be on the analytic tradition. For continental approaches, see the entries on feminist approaches to the intersection of analytic and continental philosophy , feminist approaches to the intersection of pragmatism and continental philosophy. (shrink)
What is meaning? How is linguistic communication possible? What is the nature of language? What is the relationship between language and the world? How do metaphors work? The Philosophy of Language, considered the essential text in its field, is an excellent introduction to such fundamental questions. This revised edition collects forty-six of the most important articles in the field, making it the most up-to-date and comprehensive volume on the subject. Revised to address changing trends and contemporary (...) developments, the fifth edition features seven new articles including influential work by Mark Crimmins, Gottlob Frege, David Kaplan, Frederick Kroon, W. V. Quine, and Robert Stalnaker (two essays). Other selections include classic articles by such distinguished philosophers as J. L. Austin, John Stuart Mill, Hilary Putnam, Bertrand Russell, John R. Searle, and P. F. Strawson. The selections represent evolving and varying approaches to the philosophy of language, with many articles building upon earlier ones or critically discussing them. Eight sections cover the central issues: Truth and Meaning; Speech Acts; Reference and Descriptions; Names and Demonstratives; Propositional Attitudes; Metaphor and Pretense; Interpretation and Translation; and The Nature of Language. A general introduction and introductions to each section give students background to the issues and explain the connections between them. A list of suggested further reading follows each section. (shrink)
Logicism and the Philosophy of Language brings together the core works by Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell on logic and language. In their separate efforts to clarify mathematics through the use of logic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Frege and Russell both recognized the need for rigorous and systematic semantic analysis of language. It was their turn to this style of analysis that would establish the philosophy of language as an autonomous (...) area of inquiry. This anthology gathers together these foundational writings, and frames them with an extensive historical introduction. This is a collection for anyone interested in questions about truth, meaning, reference, and logic, and in the application of formal analysis to these concepts. (shrink)
This volume contains fourteen essays discussing recent issues in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. The collection is arranged into three sections: one on language, one on the intersection of language and mind, and a final section on mind. The topics include the context-sensitivity of semantics, anaphora, proper names, the nature of understanding, folk psychology and the Theory of Mind, self-awareness, the structure of the human mind and the extent to which it (...) is modular, among others. (shrink)
Various notions of philosophy of language are present constantly in the whole work of Constantin Noica. His concerns are directed towards the language as a pivotal human ability and as a fundamental form of culture, towards the philosophy and the hermeneutics of the poetic language, as well as towards some linguistic and philosophical concepts related to the Romanian language as a historical language.
This article considers the implications of inferentialist philosophy of language for debates in the historiography of philosophy. My intention is to mediate and refine the polemics between contextualist historians and ‘analytic’ or presentist historians. I claim that much of Robert Brandom’s nuanced defence of presentism can be accepted and even adopted by contextualists, so that inferentialism turns out to provide an important justification for orthodox history of philosophy. In the concluding sections I argue that the application (...) of Brandom’s theory has important limits, and that some polemics by contextualists against presentists are therefore justified. (shrink)
Frege is now regarded as one of the world's greatest philosophers, and the founder of modern logic. Mark Sainsbury argues that we must depart considerably from Frege's views if we are to work towards an adequate conception of natural language. This is an outstanding contribution to philosophy of language and logic and will be invaluable to all those interested in Frege and the philosophy of language.
Philosophers of language have tended to focus on examples that are not politically significant in any way. We spend a lot of time analyzing natural kind terms: We think hard about “water” and “pain” and “arthritis.” But we don’t think much about the far more politically significant kind terms (natural or social—it's a matter for dispute) like “race,” “sex,” “gender,” “woman,” “man,” “gay,” and “straight.” In this essay, I will try to show, using the example of “woman,” that it's (...) worth thinking about terms like these, for at least three reasons: (1) There are some interesting puzzles. (2) Politically significant terms matter to people's lives— and it's worth spending at least some of our energy thinking about things that matter in this way. (3) Most importantly, interesting methodological issues emerge at the intersection of philosophy of language and politics. (shrink)
The work of the late Paul Grice (1913–1988) exerts a powerful influence on the way philosophers, linguists, and cognitive scientists think about meaning and communication. With respect to a particular sentence φ and an “utterer” U, Grice stressed the philosophical importance of separating (i) what φ means, (ii) what U said on a given occasion by uttering φ, and (iii) what U meant by uttering φ on that occasion. Second, he provided systematic attempts to say precisely what meaning is by (...) providing a series of more refined analyses of utterer’s meaning, sentence meaning, and what is said. Third, Grice produced an account of how it is possible for what U says and what U means to diverge. Fourth, by characterizing a philosophically important distinction between the “genuinely semantic” and “merely pragmatic” implications of a statement, Grice clarified the relationship between classical logic and the semantics of natural language. Fifth, he provided some much needed philosophical ventilation by deploying his notion of “implicature” to devastating effect against certain overzealous strains of “Ordinary LanguagePhilosophy,” without himself abandoning the view that philosophy must pay attention to the nuances of ordinary talk. Sixth, Grice undercut some of the most influential arguments for a philosophically significant notion of “presupposition.” Today, Grice’s work lies at the center of research on the semantics-pragmatics distinction and shapes much discussion of the relationship between language and mind. In a nutshell, Grice has forced philosophers and linguists to think very carefully about the sorts of facts a semantic theory is supposed to account for and to reflect upon the most central theoretical notions, notions that otherwise might be taken for granted or employed without due care and attention. To be sure, Grice’s own positive proposals have their weaknesses; but in the light of his work any theory of meaning that is to be taken at all seriously must now draw a sharp line between genuinely semantic facts and facts pertaining to the nature of human interaction.. (shrink)
What is meaning? How is linguistic communication possible? What is the nature of language? What is the relationship between language and the world? How do metaphors work? The Philosophy of Language, Sixth Edition, is an excellent introduction to such fundamental questions. Incorporating insights from new coeditor David Sosa, the sixth edition collects forty-eight of the most important articles in the field, making it the most up-to-date and comprehensive volume on the subject. Revised to address changing trends (...) and contemporary developments, the sixth edition features eighteen new articles, including influential work by Kent Bach, Paul Boghossian, M. A. E. Dummett, Delia Graff Fara, Hartry Field, H. P. Grice and P.F. Strawson, Carl G. Hempel, Saul Kripke, Benson Mates, Hilary Putnam, Diana Raffman, Nathan Salmon, Stephen Schiffer, John R. Searle, Roy Sorenson, David Sosa, Dennis Stampe, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. A general introduction and introductions to each section give students background to the issues and explain the connections between them. A bibliography of suggested further reading follows each section. (shrink)
In this chapter, I try to answer the above question, and another question that it presupposes: can philosophy of language help us navigate the political news cycle? A reader can be sceptical of a positive answer to the latter question; after all, citizens, political theorists, and journalists seem to be capable of following current politics and its coverage in the news, and there is no reason to think that philosophy of language in particular should be capable (...) of helping people make sense and respond to the news. I will illustrate the application of philosophy of language to three contrasting strategies of political propaganda: dogwhistles, meaning perversions, and bald-faced lies. I hope that these help us see that philosophy of language can be a good tool in diagnosing demagoguery, and in resisting it. (shrink)
In this book Christopher Norris develops the case for scientific realism by tackling various adversary arguments from a range of anti-realist positions. Through a close critical reading he shows how they fail to make adequate sense on any rational, consistent and scientifically informed survey of the evidence. Along the way he incorporates a number of detailed case-studies from the history and philosophy of science. Norris devotes much of his discussion to some of the most prominent and widely influential source-texts (...) of anti-realism. Also included are the sophisticated versions of verificationism developed by thinkers such as Michael Dummett and Bas van Fraassen. Central to Norris's argument is a prolonged engagement with the once highly influential but nowadays neglected work of Norwood Russell Hanson. This book will be welcomed especially by readers who possess some knowledge of the background debate and who wish to deepen and extend their understanding of these issues beyond an introductory level. (shrink)
This volume provides a survey of contemporary philosophy of language. As well as providing a synoptic view of the key issues, figures, concepts and debates, each essay makes new and original contributions to ongoing debate.
During the first half of the twentieth century philosophy took a ‘linguistic turn’. The first clear signal of this development was Ludwig Wittgenstein's remark in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that ‘All philosophy is “Critique of Language”‘ and this work by Wittgenstein remains a classic presentation of the thesis that philosophy can only be undertaken through the critical study of language. Thus during the twentieth century philosophical approaches to language, the kinds of theorizing now known as (...) ‘philosophy of language’, have been developed in a context in which language has been taken to be a primary resource for philosophy, and as a result there has been a two-way relationship in which conceptions of language and of philosophy have been developed together. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider the role of exact symmetries in theories of physics, working throughout with the example of gravitation set in Newtonian spacetime. First, I spend some time setting up a means of thinking about symmetries in this context; second, I consider arguments from the seeming undetectability of absolute velocities to an anti-realism about velocities; and finally, I claim that the structure of the theory licences us to interpret models which differ only with regards to the absolute velocities (...) of objects as depicting the same physical state of affairs. In defending this last claim, I consider how ideas and resources from the philosophy of language may usefully be brought to bear on this topic. (shrink)