Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

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How does this author reach this conclusion from this premise?

This is a passage from Ñanavira's Notes on Dhamma: Vijānāti, to cognize, is active voice in sense (taking an objective accusative): consciousness cognizes a phenomenon (nāmarūpa); consciousness is ...
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“The sun didn’t set” (lie) vs “John said the sun didn’t set” (not a lie)

I didn’t know how to create a title for this question. I’m talking about how it seems possible one could understand someone saying to you “the sun didn’t set” as a lie vs internalizing as the fact “...
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When does something cease to exist?

For humans, legally speaking, someone who's "brain dead" is confirmed to have ceased to exist. But what about philosophically speaking? What makes someone who they are? If we are our bodies, ...
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Is it possible to reconcile post-structuralism with the scientific method?

Post-structuralist thought seems, to me, to be quite hard to argue with as a concept. Clearly, we understand the world through language, which both stems from culture, loading concepts with cultural ...
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Buckets of twater

I was reading through the SEP article on the epistemology of modality, which prompted my initial question: Is, "Water is H2O," currently falsifiable? Or are we now in a position where, if ...
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Does consent exist? [closed]

If we are our bodies and nothing else?
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Is/ought - do any philosophers say any claim of “is” is an ought already?

That there are no neutral claims involving “is” (or the verb to be) by our limited nature. I can see how this would solve a lot of problems, but not all the problems it may cause. Just wondering if ...
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Realism as necessary for impredicative mathematics to avoid viscous circle, but not really?

Here is an quote from Godel from Shapiro’s Thinking About Mathematics: “…the vicious circle…applies only if the entities are constructed by ourselves. In this case, there must clearly exist a ...
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Do spoken languages have a sense of operators with 'order of operations'

This is something I came across while thinking about expressing a 'nested' choice, i.e. you make a choice where one of the options entails making another choice, for example, at college you could ...
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Do we need to ask 'why' if we have the answer to 'how'?

On the surface, ‘how?' is mechanical, it is asking about method, whereas ‘why?’ is more philosophical, it is asking about purpose. It seems conceivable, then, that the answers to the questions of 'how?...
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Can dysfunctional objects preserve their identities?

There is a claim that dysfunctional objects no longer belong to a specific category. For instance: eyes are pairs of globular organs of sight. An eye is an object that sees. An eye that ceases to be ...
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What are the philosophical solutions to "ship of Theseus" problem of identity?

Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment in which every piece of a ship kept in a harbor is replaced one at a time. The questions are: would the end result be the same ship or a new ship? If it is not ...
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Can categories be objective rather than socially constructed?

There are claims that categories are socially constructed and subjective. For example: "there's no such thing as specie or life. They are socially constructed"* Are there philosophies in ...
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If syntax isn’t semantics, will we abandon syntax one day to tackle the first person perspective?

Say by building experience machines once we learn how brains better work. If syntax isn’t semantics, we will never write down a depiction of the first person subjective perspective, where semantics ...
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Can functions and dysfunctions exist without teleology?

I feel as if something such as "the heart evolved to beat and pump blood" or "the function of the heart is to beat and pump blood" relies on the teleological belief that organs ...
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How can non-existence be caused?

If something didn't exist and came to exist at some point; it will cease to exist at some point. Things come from non-existence and return to the non-existence they came from so how can "non-...
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Meaning of quote by Goedel

"The meaning of the world is the separation of wish and fact. Wish is a force as applied to thinking beings, to realize something. A fulfilled wish is a union of wish and fact. The meaning of the ...
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What does "unnatural" mean?

If humans are part of nature; everything that we do is as natural as birds building nests. So why is a bird's nest considered natural while a human's building is considered unnatural? Don't human-made ...
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Is a human language a prison for a mind?

I am dealing with a question whether is a human language a prison for a mind and also whether is there something above a human language. my progress: I have read articles on wikipedia about ...
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Why is one who studies philosophy called a "philosopher" rather than a "philosophile?" [closed]

If the word "philosophy" comes from the Greek "philo-" (having a love of) and "sophia" (knowledge or wisdom) why wouldn't one who takes part in philosophy (or philosophia,...
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Since some fundamental concepts can't be defined. How do you get the meaning of these fundamental concepts concretely? [closed]

for example, if i have to know what is definition of "straight line", it turns out that I cannot define that.
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How can we name objects that we do not know?

Imagine that you are a detective and you are investigating a crime. Suppose you can't point to a criminal yet. However, you can name him in your reasoning. You can call him the criminal, the murderer, ...
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A fair critique of Wittgenstein's insight?

So I'm part of this math meme group and this was posted I'm not an expert in "modal homotopy type theory" but are both claims true? And is this a fair critique of Wittgenstein's insight?
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Can a copy of something be more than a mere extension of that thing?

If something named A is copied, and we name the copy B, is it philosophically correct to argue B is not A and A is not B? That A is not in two places at once just because it has a carbon copy?
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How can something have a "beginning"?

Everything comes from pre-existing materials. Not nothing. If so, where and when does something begin to exist? How can "creation" make sense if something comes from something, and not ...
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How can "life" begin at "conception"?

If the cells that come together and develop into a fetus are "alive" and "living", how can "life" begin at "conception"? "Life" began billions of ...
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How can objects and categories be mind-independent?

Everything is made of the atoms that make everything else. That means everything has the potential to be broken down and turned into everything else. For instance, a "table" can be broken ...
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What is the nature of the term 'variable', and is it used differently in math, computer science, and logic?

Say I'm given an expression and talk about x changing what do we really mean by this linguistically? What inferences can be drawn about the nature of variables from their practical usage? When we talk ...
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What are the solutions to the is-ought gap problem?

And where do objective oughts come from? Nature doesn't care about "oughts" and "shoulds". We assign shoulds to things. How can the should be objective? Why is, for instance, "...
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How should we characterize the logical structure of wishes?

The motivation for this question is extraordinarily stupid, but it requires just enough thought and specific knowledge of formal logic that I think it still falls within the broad scope of "...
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What kind of a fallacy is "something that we believed was impossible became possible so anything that we believe is impossible is possible"?

I see this everywhere? When someone believes something is impossible, someone else claims that "people believed flying was impossible until it became possible too so" as though anything that'...
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How are the "identities" of inanimate and animate objects determined? [duplicate]

If an object named A is cloned/copied and the copy, named B, is 100% identical to A, and A "ceases to exist", does that mean A continues on as B as though A never "ceased to exist" ...
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Are all concepts definable? [duplicate]

You open a dictionary and all the words are defined by other words. If concepts have the same circularity as words, ultimately none would have meaning (I suppose that's debatable, but I'm assuming it ...
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Can the copy or clone of something be a different, separate and independent entity?

People claim clones and copies are extensions. For instance, they claim that when a cell divides, the "daughter" cells are the "parent" cell; that if something happens to the "...
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Is there true and false poetic fancy?

Concerning the famous phrase of Wittgenstein "whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent", we can confidently speak and say, e.g., that gravity varies with the inverse square of ...
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What is the correct Wittgenstein analysis of this claim?

So I'm confused by the following. Let's say someone makes the claim: Math is also a language game. I can imagine 2 different kind of responses Wittgenstein might say: Indeed, it suffices to only ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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What is a "disorder"?

The is-ought gap makes it so we can not derive an ought from an is, correct? Without teleology to determine normativity, how can there be such a thing as a "disorder" or "disability&...
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How is the beginning of something determined?

What I mean is if everything is made of atoms, the same atoms that make everything else, how can anything have a "beginning"? Say I have an egg, powder, cocoa, flour, etc and want to make a &...
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What does the 3rd edition of Fact, Fiction, and Forecast say about grue?

On my website, I have reproduced the passages from Nelson Goodman's book Fact, Fiction, and Forecast that define his famous predicate grue (and related predicates such as emeruby). In fact, I have ...
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What is the view of the origin of language according to contemporary philosophy of language?

Do we think in the language we speak? If we didn't know any language or think of a child for an instant, perhaps a newborn, is there still thinking? and if so, is it a universal language? Some say we ...
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Can there be an objective "ought" or "should"?

If a should statement is objective, it means it's innate. How can that be? We say "something should be done" or "something should be this way". Where does this objective ought or ...
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The difference between 'why' and 'how'

I have noticed for a long time that, to ask 'why', can often prompt answers of different types, that either describe the events, or attribute meaning. An example would be: Why are the pliers on this ...
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2 votes
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What is Aristotle's view of plant generation?

In Book 1 of On the Generation of Animals, Aristotle gives his view of plant generation. In Book 1.1, Aristotle writes: But all those creatures which do not move, as the testacea and animals that ...
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1 vote
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Can we really see or hear action or event?

Concrete nouns refer to material objects which we can see or touch. Abstract nouns refer to things which are not material objects, such as ideas, feelings and situations. https://dictionary.cambridge....
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The Indexicality of "Ask this question?"

I was messing around with liar and similar sentences, and noticed a recurring issue with indexical quarantine with respect to the examples at stake. Meaning that something seemed to "go wrong&...
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Has the phenomenon of equating two different ideas been studied?

While reading Henry Kissinger's book, Diplomacy, I came across several examples of thinkers conveniently, but constructively (meaning with good intentions), equating one concept with another. The ...
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Is there a resource cataloguing unique and fundamental concepts cross-culturally?

I am working on a "conlang", which is basically a fantasy language. I have collected 4,000-ish words in their "base" form (some we still need to find the base for, but they can be ...
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Font/typeface color, calligrams, and the syntax-semantics distinction

There is a set of books by the author Mark Z. Danielewski, that features a very irregular (but not necessarily absolutely unique) style. For example, in his debut novel, the word house (and ...
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What’s the difference between ‘absolutely’, “relatively” and nothing?

It is absolutely hot. It is relatively hot. It is hot. What’s the difference between three sentences? I guess sentence 3 can be used instead of sentence 1 and sentence 2.
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Isn’t ‘person’ with two personalities technically two people?

Isn’t ‘person’ with the same body and two personalities technically two people? For example, we call conjoined twins two people because they have two personalities.
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