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)
This book analyzes--in terms of branching--the pervasive reorganization of Latin syntactic and morphological structures: in the development from Latin to French, a shift can be observed from the archaic, left-branching structures (which Latin inherited from Proto-Indo-European) to modern right-branching equivalents. Brigitte Bauer presents a detailed analysis of this development based on the theoretical discussion and definition of "branching" and "head." Subsequently she relates the diachronic shift to psycholinguistic evidence, arguing that the difficuly of LB complex structures as reflected in their (...) painstaking and delayed acquisition accounts for the extensive typological shift from left to right branching that took place in Latin/French and the other Indo-European languages. (shrink)
Sören Stenlund's work marks a major advance in our understanding of why the philosophy of language has been so dominated over the past few decades by the so-called "creative aspect of language" -- the problem of how we are able to understand sentences that we have never heard before. Stenlund raises some fundamental philosophical objections by demonstrating, for example, how the theory distorts the flexibility and fluidity of word -- and sentence -- meaning. Although words and sentences can have a (...) remarkable number of different, sometimes extraordinarily subtle meanings, Stenlund shows how language-users can readily adapt to entirely novel uses of a word or a sentence. Language and Philosophical Problems presents the results of philosophical investigations into several connected issues of current interest within the philosophies of language, logic, mind, and mathematics. In particular it deals with our tendency to be misled by certain prevailing views and preconceptions of language. (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)
McCarthy develops a theory of radical interpretation--the project of characterizing from scratch the language and attitudes of an agent or population--and applies it to the problems of indeterminacy of interpretation first described by Quine. The major theme in McCarthy's study is that a relatively modest set of interpretive principles, properly applied, can serve to resolve the major indeterminacies of interpretation.
Are propositions of law true or false? If so, what does it mean to say that propositions of law are true and false? This book takes up these questions in the context of the wider philosophical debate over realism and anti-realism. Despite surface differences, Patterson argues that the leading contemporary jurisprudential theories all embrace a flawed conception of the nature of truth in law. Instead of locating that in virtue of which propositions of law are true, Patterson argues that lawyers (...) use forms of argument to show the truth of propositions of law. Additionally, Patterson argues that the realism/anti-realism debate in jurisprudence is part of a larger argument over the role of postmodernism in jurisprudence. For this, Patterson offers an analytic account of postmodernism and charts its implications for legal theory. This book will be of interest to those in legal theory, philosophy, social and political theory, and ethics. (shrink)
Meaning seems to shift from context to context; how do we know when someone says "grab a chair" that an ottoman or orange crate will do, but when someone says "let's buy a chair," they won't? In Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers, Kronenfeld offers a theory that explains both the usefulness of language's variability of reference and the mechanisms which enable us to understand each other in spite of the variability. Kronenfeld's theory, rooted in the tradition of ethnoscience (or cognitive (...) anthropology), accomplishes three things. First, it distinguishes prototypic referents from extended referents. Second, it describes the various bases of semantic extensions. Finally it details how we use the situational context of usage, the linguistic context of opposition and inclusion, and the conceptual context of knowledge about the world to interpret communicative events. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive study of the English word 'or', and the logical operators variously proposed to present its meaning. Although there are indisputably disjunctive uses of or in English, it is a mistake to suppose that logical disjunction represents its core meaning. 'Or' is descended from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning second, a form which survives in such expressions as "every other day." Its disjunctive uses arise through metalinguistic applications of an intermediate adverbial meaning which is conjunctive rather than disjunctive (...) in character. These conjunctive uses have puzzled philosophers and logicians, and have been discussed extensively under such headings as "free choice permission." This study examines the textbook myths that have clouded our understanding of how or and other "logical" vocabulary comes to have something approaching its logical meaning in natural languages. It considers the various historical conceptions of disjunction and its place in logic from the Stoics to the present day. (shrink)
Building on the success of the bestselling first edition, the second edition of this textbook provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the major issues in Principles and Parameters syntactic theory, including phrase structure, the lexicon, case theory, movement, and locality conditions. Includes new and extended problem sets in every chapter, all of which have been annotated for level and skill type. Features three new chapters on advanced topics including vP shells, object shells, control, gapping and ellipsis and an additional (...) chapter on advanced topics in binding. Offers a brief survey of both Lexical-Functional Grammar and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Succeeds in strengthening the reader's foundational knowledge, and prepares them for more advanced study. Supported by an instructor's manual and online resources for students and instructors, available at www.blackwellpublishing.com/carnie. (shrink)
Ranging from the development of theory by such well-known philosophers as Maurice Natanson and Robert Sokolowski, this collection addresses the topics of pregnant subjectivity, nostalgia, the ethical function of architecture, computer ...
Semantics is a bridge discipline between linguistics and philosophy; but linguistics student are rarely able to reach that bridge, let alone cross it to inspect and assess the activity on the other side. Professor Kempson's textbook seeks particularly to encourage such exchanges. She deals with the standard linguistic topics like componential analysis, semantic universals and the syntax-semantics controversy. But she also provides for students with no training in philosophy or logic an introduction to such central topics in the philosophy of (...) language as logical form, truth, speech acts, analyticity, entailment and presupposition. The exposition throughout is deliberately argumentative rather than descriptive, introducing the student step by step to the major problems in theoretical semantics. Special emphasis is placed on the need to consider individual arguments within the overall perspective of semantics as an integral part of general linguistic theory. Written primarily as a textbook for undergraduates and graduates in linguistics departments, this book will also be useful to undergraduates in philosophy and in psychology where linguistics is a part of their course. (shrink)
A recurrent issue in linguistic theory and psychology concerns the cognitive status of memorized lists and their internal structure. In morphological theory, the collections of inflected forms of a given noun, verb, or adjective into inflectional paradigms are thought to constitute one such type of list. This book focuses on the question of which elements in a paradigm can stand in a relation of partial or total phonological identity. Leading scholars consider inflectional identity from a variety of theoretical perspectives, with (...) an emphasis on both case studies and predictive theories of where syncretism and other "paradigmatic pressures" will occur in natural language. The authors consider phenomena such as allomorphy and syncretism while exploring questions of underlying representations, the formal properties of markedness, and the featural representation of conjugation and declension classes. They do so from the perspective of contemporary theories of morphology and phonology, including Distributed Morphology and Optimality Theory, and in the context of a wide range of languages, among them Amharic, Greek, Romanian, Russian, Saami, and Yiddish. The subjects addressed in the book include the role of featural decomposition of morphosyntactic features, the status of paradigms as the unit of syncretism, asymmetric effects in identity-dependence, and the selection of a base-of-derivation. The Bases of Inflectional Identity will interest linguists and cognitive scientists, especially students and scholars of phonological theory and the phonology-morphology and mind-language interfaces at graduate level and above. (shrink)
The subject of semantics has been appropriated by various disciplines including linguistic philosophy, logic, cognitive psychology, anthropological linguistics, and computer technology. As a result, it is difficult to define the study of semantics as an actual discipline without discovering what each field using a semantic approach to its subject matter has contributed to the understanding of what words mean. This volume is a result of those discoveries. Primarily an introductory work, this volume outlines the approaches that various disciplines have taken (...) to the subject, attempts to show their relationships and their limitations, and presents the more important aspects of each approach -- from psychosemantics to artificial intelligence -- using pertinent source material from psychology, philosophy, logic, linguistics, and sociology. For individuals coming to the study of semantics for the first time, or those who are interested in what the overall study may offer beyond their specialization, this volume will provide a helpful overview of the subject. (shrink)
In this new book, the author of the classic Truth presents an original theory of meaning, demonstrates its richness, and defends it against all contenders. He surveys the diversity of twentieth-century philosophical insights into meaning and shows that his theory can reconcile these with a common-sense view of meaning as derived from use. Meaning and its companion volume Truth (now published in a revised edition) together demystify two central issues in philosophy and offer a controversial but compelling view of the (...) relations between language, thought, and reality. (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)
The work of Donald Davidson (1917-2003) transformed the study of meaning. Ernie Lepore and Kirk Ludwig, two of the world's leading authorities on Davidson's work, present the definitive study of his widely admired and influential program of truth-theoretic semantics for natural languages, giving an exposition and critical examination of its foundations and applications.
The problem of reference is central to the fields of linguistics, cognitive science, and epistemology yet it remains largely unresolved. Naming and Reference explains the reference of lexical terms, with particular emphasis placed on proper names, demonstrative pronouns and personal pronouns. It examines such specific issues as: how to account for the reference of names that are empty or speculative, which abound in science and philosophy, and how to account for intentional reference as in "he took Mary to be Jane." (...) Naming and Reference begins with a survey of the history of the subject within a philosophical and critical setting, from Locke, Brentano, Peirce, Frege, Russell, Strawson, Tarski, Carnap and Quine up to Kripke and Fodor. The rest of the book is devoted to an algorithmic theory of reference derived from Peirce's idea that signification is a three-way relationship involving a term, an object and an interpretant. The theory rounds out the causal notion of reference, while at the same time preserving Frege's distinction between sense and reference, and making a place for indexical terms. Through the use of various computer models, R. J. Nelson explores the meaning and reference of words to objects and the relationship of these phenomena to perception, belief and truth. The models used are parallel, connectionist computational models rather than the sequential models of mid-century artificial intelligence. The aim, in opposition to nativist and mental representation theories, is to account for the genesis of semantically interpretable symbols, not to assume them. (shrink)
This is a collection of eleven original essays in analytical philosophy by British and American philosophers, centering on the connection between mind and language. Two themes predominate: how it is that thoughts and sentences can represent the world; and what having a thought - a belief, for instance - involves. Developing from these themes are the questions: what does having a belief require of the believer, and of the way he or she relates to the environment? In particular, does having (...) a belief require speaking a language? The volume concludes the informal series stemming from the meetings sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation. (shrink)
_Possible Worlds_ presents the first up-to-date and comprehensive examination of one of the most important topics in metaphysics. John Divers considers the prevalent philosophical positions, including realism, antirealism and the work of important writers on possible worlds such as David Lewis, evaluating them in detail.
This introduction to modern work in analytic philosophy uses the example of the proper name to give a clear explanation of the logical theories of Gottlob Frege, and explain the application of his ideas to ordinary language. McCulloch then shows how meaning is rooted in the philosophy of mind and the question of intentionality, and looks at the ways in which thought can be "about" individual material objects.
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)