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Questions tagged [language]

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23
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14answers
9k views

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 ...
14
votes
5answers
901 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
793 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 ...
11
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7answers
6k 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?
10
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4answers
284 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
8
votes
9answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
684 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
127 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
878 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?
7
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5answers
2k 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? ...
7
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3answers
218 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
508 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, ...
6
votes
9answers
6k 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 "...
6
votes
1answer
272 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
746 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
929 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?
5
votes
6answers
195 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
89 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. ...
5
votes
5answers
485 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
129 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
166 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 ...
4
votes
7answers
475 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
387 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, ...
4
votes
2answers
131 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
206 views

What makes our words different than symbols like X?

There is an issue that blurs my head. For instance, lets have a proposition p that says: “X is round”. X is a symbol that we could mark something into. If we say X is an orange fruit, then the ...
4
votes
2answers
261 views

Current philosophy of language

I wanted to know what are the current status of philosophy of language. What is valid today? What philosophers are accepting? For example, during the beginning of the XX centry, we have Frege's views ...
4
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

What theoretical underpinnings, if any, connect Philosophy with Linguistics?

I am curious about any similarities or assumptions even in the two fields that may link them. I suppose formal semantic analyses may be one area (broadly speaking) but perhaps there are others...? I ...
4
votes
0answers
160 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
302 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
229 views

What is a better way to describe the “arbitrary” nature of the value of pi?

Edit: I think the point of my question's been missed. I'm well aware pi is well defined and calculable. However my question has to do with the metaphysical, not the physical. Not how does pi work out ...
3
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
170 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
123 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/...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Soudness of an argument in natural language [closed]

Philosophers and participants on this boards love to talk about arguments and a few of them love to talk about soundness of arguments [like here What are some criticisms of Epicurus' "death ...
3
votes
1answer
46 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 '...
3
votes
2answers
60 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?
3
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
67 views

What did C. S. Peirce mean by this remark about the phrase “necessary and sufficient condition”?

As I was reading through The Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, I came across the following sentence: I doubt not that readers have been fretting over the ridiculous-seeming phrase “...
3
votes
1answer
61 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. He states that the following sentences are supposed to ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Why does a formal language not need to specify time interval to be interpreted? [closed]

I am reading a book about history of mathematics, and it inspired to think about that formal languages do not need to specify time to transfer a message. I am thinking about DNA as a formal language, ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

Is acceptance followed by an interpretation of a sentence, acceptance of the sentence indeed?

I was wondering whether following after interpreting a sentence can be considered following the sentence or not. For example: there is a religion X which is based on a scripture Y. Now one of the ...
3
votes
2answers
96 views

What are objections to personality-theoretic identity branching? [duplicate]

I am currently watching the Yale open course "Philosophy of Death" with Shelly Kagan. So far he has made the case that there is not good enough reason to believe in the existence of an immaterial soul....
3
votes
1answer
187 views

How to teach meta level discussion about controversial topics

I had a very heated discussion lately about a video of a Rap Battle. Of course, in such a battle the language is extremely rude. I am talking about the lowest, harshest and most discriminatingly evil ...
3
votes
0answers
93 views

Kripke's Puzzle Confusion

I'm not convinced that the Fregean rebuttal has been successfully repelled by Kripke in Kripke's puzzle. Don't Londres and London have two different senses in that Pierre associates Londres with being ...
2
votes
3answers
174 views

What does Frege mean by “Cognitive Significance” in “On Sense and Nominatum”?

I'm reading Frege's "On Sense and Nominatum" and he uses "Cognitive significance", "Genuine Cognition"... I kind of infer from the context of each paragraph what he means with those kinds of phrases ...