for philosophical questions concerning the nature, origins, and usage of natural language

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1answer
60 views

Are questions about existence purely semantic?

I was inspired by this question, and in particular this section of user259242's answer: Type identity physicalism says mental states are identical with brain states. Eliminativism on the other ...
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1answer
40 views

What is the meaning of “using against the edifice the instruments or stones available in the house” in Derrida?

Can anyone help me with the meaning of this sentence? "For Derrida deconstruction is "to attempt an exit and a deconstruction without changing terrain, by repeating what is implicit in the ...
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5answers
253 views

What actually are meaningless symbols?

Some days ago our professor during the course of his lecture wrote the following definition of a polynomial. We say that an expression of the form a0 + a1x + a2x2 + ... + anxn is a polynomial of ...
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3answers
113 views

Why does the philosophy concerned with the problem of negative existential statements not make use of mental representations to solve it?

Meinong, Frege, Russel and Kripke all seem to accept the principle, that for a statement to be true, its singular terms must denote an object. This leads to the problem, that a sentence like 'The ...
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0answers
36 views

How do debates about meaning affect the status of personal religious beliefs?

Debates about the meaning of meaning cut across the analytic/continental divide. According to externalist accounts (e.g. Kripke-Putnam's) people believe, or even know, that beeches are different from ...
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0answers
27 views

What is a description? [closed]

I am a physicist/mathematician working on reduction of description. In my case the meaning of description is: A representation of some perceived phenomenon into a (formal) language. Are there any ...
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1answer
70 views

Is Socrates a substance?

Consider the following from Aristotles Categories: Substance, in the truest, primary and most definite sense of the word, is that which is neither predicable of a subject nor present in a subject. ...
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8answers
2k views

Is 'is' a verb?

Generally, or at least in my experience, 'to be' is introduced as a verb. But is it? It doesn't appear to describe a change as in 'I kicked a ball' or 'he picked the pen up'. It describes things as ...
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1answer
60 views

On the meaning of “meaning”?

Is there a difference between the meaning of "meaning" as in "the meaning of life" and meaning as in "meaning of a proposition"? In the first case, one is referring to motivations and purposes, and ...
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3answers
63 views

Can anything be considered to be meaningful if it is neither a subject nor predicate?

When we say 'Ed is mean', 'Ed' is the subject and 'mean' is the predicate. Can any existing thing or any notion of existence itself be considered meaningful if it cannot possibly fit into these two ...
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2answers
137 views

What is the point of reductio ad absurdum in metaphysics?

Philosophers often use reductio ad absurdum in metaphysics and philosophy of mind to make a point, to justify their position, or a thought experiment, or to reject a position or theory they do not ...
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1answer
213 views

Are there some facets of perceptual experience which cannot be characterized as conceptual?

Some philosophers (e.g John McDowell) argue that the content of perceptual experience is necessarily characterized by conceptual terms; namely - the content of the experience is entirely built of ...
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Has Putnam's “division of linguistic labor” been developed elsewhere?

In "Reference and Meaning" Putnam mentions, as an aside, that language requires a certain "division of linguistic labor" that has not been previously recognized. By this, as I take it, he simply ...
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2answers
83 views

What sort of philosophical idea is characterized by the proposition that “language is software”?

I remember someone saying that language is the software to the hardware of our brains. Something to that effect. Does anyone know who that was?
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5answers
97 views

What is the relation if there any between a linguistic entity and things in the world?

Ludwig Wittgenstein said: The difficulty of my theory of logical portrayal was that of finding a connection between the signs on paper and a situation outside in the world. I always said that ...
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1answer
83 views

Wittgenstein on names and paradigms [closed]

This is in a way a followup to the question on Wittgenstein's standard metre of Paris, which is part of his discussion on names in language. In philosophical investigations §55, Wittgenstein says: ...
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4answers
94 views

What is the purpose of meaning?

My question is actually this: What does the question: "what is the purpose of meaning" mean? Questions that may arise in answering this question may include: What kinds of things can have purpose? ...
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2answers
87 views

Do meta-facts exist?

Are there such things as meta-facts, that is, facts about facts? Like, "1=1" is a fact, and "It is a fact that 1=1" is a meta-fact. Has anyone mentioned anything like this in the literature?
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3answers
113 views

What is a fact? [closed]

What is a fact? What kind of object, if it is indeed such a thing, is it? I have read a lot of stuff that say "it is a fact that... ", but I have never seen a definition of fact or what kind of thing ...
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1answer
47 views

Definition of “language” in private language arguments

What is a sensible definition of the term language to use when interpreting private language arguments in general (if possible), or Wittgenstein in particular? Conversely, is rejecting the idea of ...
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6answers
154 views

Is it possible to communicate the ineffable?

If one has an ineffable experience or, more simply, an epiphany related to the ineffable dimension, can he communicate it to other people in principle (that is, through a communication that exists on ...
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0answers
52 views

Two-dimensional modal propositional logic (Stalnaker `Assertion') [closed]

If we define the analogous of the necessity operator as follows: $\triangle\phi$ := $c,w \models \triangle\phi$ iff $\forall d \in W d,w \models \phi$ what would that intuitively means? What is ...
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2answers
92 views

Why private language is an incoherent idea?

The fact that I have no problem imagining a private language probably implies that I don't understand the notion of private language. My understanding is private language is a language understandable ...
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3answers
103 views

How is the meaning of life “recursive”?

I read the following from wikipedia (which I have found quoted in various discussion forums) on the Meaning of Life. Logical positivists ask: "What is the meaning of life?", "What is the meaning ...
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1answer
49 views

How does Putnam reconcile having referents in language with rejection of realism?

Putnam is known for changing his mind often, but he seems to hold two views of linguistic meaning and reference simultaneously, combining which seems paradoxical. One is Quine's inscrutability of ...
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0answers
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What is the difference between language of thought is innate(known as mentalese) and natural 'learned' language?

Language of thought theories generally fall into two categories. The first one is accept the innate, known as mentalese and the second one is which don't accept the innate, but the language of thought ...
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0answers
57 views

How do we understand Jerry Fodor's representational theory of mind (RTM)?

Representational theory of mind (RTM). Hypothesis that mental processes defined over the syntax of mental representations. The later is the hypothesis that propositional attitudes are relations ...
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What is the truth value of the proposition 'All unicorns are beautiful'?

If we let Fx denotes that which has the property of being a unicorn, and Gx denotes that which has the property of being beautiful, then this proposition would be signified by the following: ...
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0answers
79 views

What is the relationship between meaning and truth? [closed]

For all I can see, a sentence (or a string of symbols, etc) can only have a truth value if it is meaningful. What does this entail vis-à-vis the relationship between meaning and truth? Are a ...
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2answers
104 views

Fodor's language of thought

Fodor developed his idea of language of thought (representational account of propositional attitudes) from Brentano's ideas of intentionality. At the same time Daniel Dennett criticised the Fodor's ...
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2answers
158 views

What are the objections to the picture theory of language?

The title says it all. I am just interested to explore the objections briefly. I'll really appreciate if all is explained in layman's term and suggestion to helpful material is also welcome.
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2answers
89 views

Examples of non formal languages [closed]

I recently began looking at languages from a mathematical perspective. From a mathematical perspective a formal language is the widest definition of a language I have found. However, there is a ...
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1answer
63 views

Boole on language

I am trying to understand the meaning of this quote of Boole 1847: "Language is an instrument of Logic, but not an indispensable instrument." There are something logical outside language? They are ...
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0answers
47 views

What does disposition mean in dispositional theory of meaning?

In discussion about rule-following and sceptical paradox, there is one solution called dispositional theory of meaning, which says, that if we are disposed to use a symbol + to denote addition, then ...
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3answers
147 views

Arguing about the meaning of words

Firstly, I should mention that I am not sure, whether this the right place to ask such a question, but I am trying it anyway. Furthermore, one could say I come from a mathematics background and I am ...
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2answers
101 views

Are solipsists limited to statements regarding a singularity when self referencing?

If you are an Idealistic Solipsist, is it not true that you must say "I am a Solipsist." or "I am the Solipsist."? One cannot say "I am one of the Solipsists" for example. Are there other ...
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3answers
247 views

Do mainstream philosophers believe that Wittgenstein “solved” philosophy?

After finishing his first work, Wittgenstein left philosophy, thinking that he "solved" all philosophical questions. He is now considered one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, if ...
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4answers
309 views

Is philosophy meaningless?

*By meaningless I mean undefined, and by meaning I mean definition. As a student of philosophy, I, like the general public, thought that my difficulty in understanding the concepts of philosophy is ...
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67 views

Are there possible worlds that differ only in the assignment of rigid designators?

Is there an implicit idea in Kripe's definition of rigid designators that rules out the following possible world: Let A, B rigidly designate two things in the real world. Imagine the possible ...
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1answer
58 views

Does everything have at least one rigid designator?

Put antother way Proposition 1: for anything that exists in this world I can find/construct, even if just by assertion, a rigid designator that applies to it. Proposition 2: like proposition 1 but ...
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1answer
54 views

How can I tell when a term is a rigid designator?

Basically the title question: How can I tell if a term is a rigid designator? So far all I have is that proper names are (or can be, since there is a difference between "being named Barack Obama" ...
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2answers
157 views

Linguistic realism

The better way to phrase it is: "Are there objective truths about language?" -- this question is parallel to the question of moral realism: "Are there objective moral truths"? One way to interpret ...
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3answers
94 views

How to deal with counterfactuals with false antecedents

Consider the following hypothetical question: If there were two moons, what kind of poem would be composed? There are two ways of considering this type of statement that I find unexciting: Any ...
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4answers
191 views

Is it possible to argue against a person who is skeptical about the meaning of all words?

Such person would consider the meaning of all words to be vague (including the meaning of the word "vague" ), and think that actually we do not know what we are talking about (including this sentence ...
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2answers
56 views

Is anything known about the content of Sraffa's critique of Wittgenstein's Philosophy?

in the preface to Wittgensteins Philosophical Investigations he says: For since beginning to occupy myself with philosophy sixteen years ago I have been forced to recognise grave mistakes in what ...
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174 views

Is there any philosophical school of thought arguing for the primacy of words over symbols or mathematics in explaining things?

I'm not claiming that words are superior to symbols in all respects. I'm just curious if there is a school of thought arguing that natural language has more use than mathematics or formal language in ...
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2answers
90 views

Do linguists call human language “natural”? [closed]

From a recent question (Could a programming language be considered as a language?), it came to me the impression that there may be some confusion about the terminology professional linguists use, when ...
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9answers
2k views

Could a programming language be considered as a language? [closed]

This question might seem like it answers itself, but I urge you to consider the possibilities and the impact this could have on society. As a systems engineer, programming is more common to me than ...
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0answers
74 views

How do we know something is a “category mistake”?

I believe that Gilbert Ryle introduced the term "category mistake", but I am struggling to apply the term. Could you please give me an obvious and less obvious instance of a category-mistake? And if ...
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1answer
51 views

What makes a question other than its expression?

Outside on meta a few oddballs are asking about questions on stack exchange e.g. me hah I think we can agree that a questioning mind can be have negative value (e.g. motivated or full to brim with ...