Questions tagged [language]

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Since words are defined in terms of other words in dictionaries, leading to infinite loops, does it mean natural languages are meaningless?

Since words are defined in terms of other words in dictionaries, leading to infinite loops, does it mean natural languages are meaningless? Are infinitely recursive definitions valid? If we visualize ...
xwb's user avatar
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16 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is there a name for the argumentative tactic where you play dumb and ask for extreme simplification?

My day job is research in economics. In economics seminar culture, a common way to demolish the speaker is to play dumb and say "I don't understand what you are saying", implying that the ...
kmf's user avatar
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15 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is there a point to 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 ...
Stefan Perko's user avatar
12 votes
7 answers
10k views

Is mathematics a language?

Galileo gave the metaphor that the natural world is written in the language of mathematics, but is mathematics even a language?
Geremia's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
12k views

If "the limits of my language are the limits of my world", then how can it be that "what can be shown, cannot be said"?

I'm trying to understand Wittgenstein, but two of his most oft quoted statements seem to me to be implying contradicting things. I understand that later Wittgenstein did refute a lot of his earlier ...
Dylan's user avatar
  • 148
11 votes
4 answers
351 views

Does languange somehow filter what we can know?

I've read a proposition somewhere: That our languange acts as a filter, allowing us to know certain things while making it impossible to know the rest(1). It seems that mathematics has some things ...
Red Banana's user avatar
  • 1,358
10 votes
7 answers
2k views

Is music just another language?

In this video (starting around 00:28:30) the interviewer, Bryan Magee, and Noam Chomsky discuss musical composition as a form of thinking without language. But it seems trivial to me that music is a ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
30k views

Asking a genie for more wishes [closed]

I just saw this SMBC comic. The second picture looked really promising, but as far as I see it, this attorney screwed up. With his second wish it doesn't matter whether you say wish or splork, so ...
Jack's user avatar
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8 votes
5 answers
5k views

What is the difference between the "is" of predication and the "is" of identity?

What is the difference between these, the "is" of predication and the "is" of identity? For example, when I say, "my pet is a cat", am I using "is" as an identity or as a predicate?
ado sar's user avatar
  • 711
8 votes
9 answers
5k 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 ...
Kraang Prime's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
3k views

What do they call philosophers in China?

The English word "philosopher" comes from the Greek, and literally means "lover of wisdom." But what is the literal translation of the analogous term in Chinese? (There's more to this question than ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
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8 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why are conditionals with false antecedents considered true?

I don't understand what conceptual sense this scenario makes, or what the motivation behind the decision to make conditionals with a false antecedent true was. Can anyone help me understand this? ...
IgnorantCuriosity's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there an idea of linguistic realism similar to moral 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 ...
Dave's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
1k views

Self-describing language

Lately I saw a video about the messages that have been written into satellites that go into deep space. Most of them are based in mathematical constructs, assuming that math is a universal language, ...
CaldasGSM's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
327 views

How does Epistemology show that it's not a language game?

I'm looking for pointers towards texts that treat the issue of "doing philosophy with language" as a foundational problem-- which must be justified in order to go on and make meaningful statements ...
Max Wallace's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
371 views

Why is private language 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 ...
Ahmed Abdullah's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the relation between the material conditional in logic and conditionals that we use every day?

The material conditional has a truth-value of T in every case except where the antecedent proposition is true and the consequent is false. However, this means that many conditionals are true (if only ...
Exit path's user avatar
  • 341
7 votes
1 answer
170 views

Chomsky-- On Language and the Essential Chomsky

I have taken an interest in the philosophy of language and have studied on my own the equivalent of a undergrad course in the philosophy of language. I want to know if Chomsky's On Language is ...
Bunny's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
844 views

How can I learn the huge source of philosophical jargon?

I am not in university for philosophy, so my reading of, say, Timaeus is only assisted by things like SEP. Reading original texts can already be challenging in terms of jargon--e.g., epistemological, ...
Sermo's user avatar
  • 803
6 votes
9 answers
11k views

What is the opposite of "x" and why are "opposites" always in the same category?

Since I was a little kid I wondered about what people call opposites. If you ask someone "what is the opposite of white", they usually answer "black", but that's not the opposite, it is just another "...
Perik Onti's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
382 views

Does the postmodern rejection of "Grand Narratives" have anything to do with "First Principles" argumentation?

I've developed a recent interest in the distinction between "data-driven" argumentation and argumentation in the context of "First Principles", or a priori starting points. Among the various ...
JacobIRR's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
539 views

Did Wittgenstein consider the possibility of a private language with public content?

Wittgenstein criticized the idea that there could be a meaningful language that was only known in principle by one person. His insights have often been used to disregard the idea of private mental ...
Mos's user avatar
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5 votes
6 answers
1k views

What are the reasons some thoughts cannot be simplified, reduced to a simpler set or phrases?

What are the reasons some thoughts cannot be simplified, reduced to a simpler set or phrases? When reading Heidegger or Hegel, one wonders why those authors couldn't simplify their tangled web of ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
751 views

Are contradictory propositions in the propositional logic still contradictory in the predicate logic?

There is one seeming issue I happened upon that bothers me to no end. Take a proposition like “Snow is white”. “Snow is white” and its negation “Snow is not white” are obviously contradictory. However,...
Falcon's user avatar
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5 votes
6 answers
385 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 ...
Paglia's user avatar
  • 159
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Difference between "neither true nor false" and "either true or false."

What is the difference between "neither true nor false" and "either true or false."? I was reading about definitions And I read a line saying "Lexical definitions are either true or false". After ...
shillong's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
963 views

Can a language be learned from a dictionary?

There's a nice question I thought about, and I'd like to know more about it. I would assume it has been discussed many times, but I'm not sure what its called so I'm having trouble finding any texts ...
π314's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes
2 answers
126 views

How to build up clear ideas

I was reading Descartes' Rules for the direction of mind and noticed how clear are his ideas. I would love to speak in that way, where every sentence is a necessary step to climb up the final idea. ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
308 views

Rigorous resources on the philosophy of language

I would like to find some introductory resources on the philosophy of language that are also rigorous, as I come from a mathematical background with my interests rooted in mathematical logic. Ideally ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
5k views

Could Nietzsche read English and French?

Nietzsche often criticized English philosophers and praised French philosophers. Could he read English and French? Or did he read translations of English and French philosophical writings?
Josh W.'s user avatar
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4 votes
6 answers
294 views

How is it possible to explain a logical language through a natural one?

Suppose we are to learn a subject like mathematics, then for it's precision and rigor, the topics discussed are described in terms of theories of logic. Suppose a student wishes to learn mathematics, ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
159 views

If A says/claims that B is a fact, questioning B is also questioning A implicitly?

The definition I take of questioning is: "To cast doubt on the statements made by someone. e.g. Question the veracity of a story". For example, if the organization named A claims that B is a fact, if ...
Alejandro Veltri's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
167 views

Dennett's view on the effect language has on the mind/brain

Several years ago, while studying philosophy, I recall reading in numerous sources that Dennett believed (or was interpreted as believing - by either Clark or Churchland [or Fodor?]) that it was ...
EleventyOne's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can every proposition be written in a subject-verb form?

Is there a proposition, or more concretely some fact about the world, that cannot be written in a subject-verb (or subject-predicate) form? I was wondering if this is a fundamental limitation of our ...
Memming's user avatar
  • 153
4 votes
0 answers
256 views

Are all languages related? [closed]

This question was prompted by this newspaper article saying: Languages spoken by billions of people across Europe and Asia are descended from an ancient tongue uttered in southern Europe at the end ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
339 views

Is meaning distinct from language?

Many theories of speech describe speech acts as being phenomena with both a sign and signified aspect. ( http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/meaning/ etc.) In another perspective, which is exemplified ...
Dr Sister's user avatar
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3 votes
5 answers
648 views

A question about pi

Okay I was wrong. I can’t delete the post but I’ve accepted it’s a dumb question and moved on :)
user avatar
3 votes
7 answers
6k views

Should I learn German to read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in German?

Does learning German and reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in German add clarity or insight or improve the understanding; or does reading the English translation suffice? How much more ...
user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
349 views

Are there thoughts that cannot be put into words?

This question came to me thinking about the notion of computation. I was thinking whether we can extend the notion of tape symbol from something that can be printed on a block of space, to something ...
Kooranifar's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
326 views

Can any correct logical reasoning in natural language sentences be translated into a formal mathematical proof?

Since natural languages (e.g. English) are prone to ambiguities and misunderstandings due to their constant evolving nature and lack of rigorous formalization, and given an arbitrary philosopher X who ...
xwb's user avatar
  • 689
3 votes
7 answers
1k views

Is "A and not-A" meaningful (and false) or meaningless?

Is there any phrase of the form "A and not-A" that is meaningful? We can imagine vernacular expressions with that form that carry meaning. I could say, "I do like France and at the same time I don't ...
Guambra Feo's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
1k views

Can an exception ever "prove" a rule?

It is a common thing to say that, when an "exception" is found, this proves (as in it provides evidence) there is a rule (or succinctly stated as "the exception proves the rule"). Is there a logical/...
luchonacho's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
144 views

Factual and linguistic propositions

This is from "Language, truth and logic": A good example of linguistically necessary proposition which appears to be a record of empirical fact is the proposition, ‘Relations are not ...
Егор Галыкин's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
273 views

Is it possible for words to have a meaning other than how they are used?

Wittgenstein's language game concept holds that the meaning of a word can only be derived from its usage. However, some philosophers contend that some words have meanings other than that implied by ...
Meanach's user avatar
  • 2,236
3 votes
3 answers
551 views

Why are imperatives not propositions according to Frege?

I'm reading Frege's "On Sense and Nominatum" and I am confused with: "Imperatives have no nominata; they have only sense. It is true, commands or requests are not propositions, but they are of the ...
César D. Vázquez's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
142 views

How are you intended to interpret x.R and x.S in Davidson "Truth and Meaning"?

I'm entirely unfamiliar with the syntax and corresponding semantics Davidson uses for the four equations at the beginning of Truth and Meaning(https://www.jstor.org/stable/20114563). He states that ...
Nathan Gabriel's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
81 views

Does 'until' imply a conditional with a negative consequent?

Suppose a father tells his kid that he can play video games whenever he wants. Then, one day, when the kid fell sick, the father told him that he can play video games until he recovers. Does this '...
SmootQ's user avatar
  • 2,399
3 votes
2 answers
100 views

Is philosophy constrained by a philosopher's language?

Since a philosopher exercises his philosophy speaking and writing, is philosophy constrained by the limits of the language?
josedacruz's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
273 views

Could there be such a thing as a universal logical language?

That is, are there certain conceptual primitives, such as object, action, structure, property, logic, event, quantity, partial, paradox, system, concept, etc, or connectives/judgements, such as for ...
Luken's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does "non-philosophy" mean in the works of Laruelle (and scholars of Laruelle)?

From just the Wikipedia article and a few stray references here and there, I don't understand what Laruelle's "non-philosophy" is and how it can by aptly be described by its title. The link above ...
That Guy's user avatar
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