Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

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What is the distinction Donnellan uses between referential use and attributive use in regards to Strawson and Russell?

Donnellan called attention to what he called the referential use, as opposed to the attributive use, of a definite description. Donnellan’s objection to the Theory of Descriptions is just that ...
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1answer
41 views

Logical, semantic and self-referential paradoxes: The Truth teller and the Liar (draft) can an expert on the matter give feedback?

Title: Logical semantic and self-referential paradoxes: The Truthteller and the Liar (draft, informal) (major) assumption: A statement is either true or not true (law of excluded middle, classical ...
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0answers
43 views

Popper on metaphisics [on hold]

It'a actually a simple question, not articulated at all. What's the role of metaphisic for Popper? I know that for him philosophy is not just non-sense nore simply a "lenguage clarificator", but apart ...
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1answer
147 views

What is a predicate according to Aristotle's Organon?

There is of course predicate as in predicate logic; but I'm asking about the notion in Aristotle's Organon. Consider the proposition: Socrates is a man. Man is a universal, Socrates is a ...
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56 views

Intellectual History of Idea in A Geneaology of Morals Essay One

In Nietzsche's first essay in A Geneaology of Morals, he suggests that use of language in which subjects and verbs are distinguished may influence or at least correspond to conceptual distinctions in ...
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38 views

Can a Rigid Designator still exist if there is only one possible world?

According to Kripke, a rigid designator is a pronoun (but not all pronouns are rigid designators) and they pick out the same unique individual in each possible world. I understand this, however, if ...
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1answer
132 views

Which problem is Russell focusing on while providing a solution, in his introduction to the Tractatus?

In the final part of his introduction to the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus, Russell provides a possible solution to the problem of the impossibility of self-reference of logic: There is one ...
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2answers
424 views

What is an “unarticulated background”?

Does a sentence only mean something because it draws on knowledge outside of itself? Take 2 + 2 = 4: is it a tautology? No: it depends on a conception of '+', which is not located within that sentence/...
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71 views

What are the limits of language?

Provably (or by sufficiently rigorous arguments), what are the limits of language (natural & formal)? What can a language not speak about? If there is something non-senseless which language cannot ...
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2answers
107 views

Language and Philosophy

It is clear that many words are defined by how they are used. That context defines the word. The setting of the environment together constitutes the context, and a word is a meaningless string which ...
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0answers
48 views

De Re, Counterfactuals, and rigidity

This is going to come off as vague or obscure; but, I hope the idea is performatively expressed: Two questions: Do you think that Kripke would argue that the impossibility of de re counterfactuals ...
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1answer
77 views

Is the normative value of linguistic usage a counterexample to the impossibility of deriving “ ought” from “is”?

I really believe that one cannot derive " ought" from "is". But the case of linguistic usage causes me some intellectual trouble. (1) Linguistic usage is a simple fact. (2) Linguistic usage ...
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1answer
152 views

Kripke's Solution to Negative Existentials

From what I've collected, Quine seemed to have solved the problem of non-being by using Russell's theory of definite descriptions through the negation of the x having certain properties/descriptions. ...
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0answers
45 views

Circularity between truth and meaning?

These two common claims are equally appealing: (1) the meaning of a ( declarative) sentence consists in its truth conditions (2) the truth of a sentence depends on its meaning But are we moving ...
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1answer
255 views

Isomorphism vs homomorphism in the Tractatus' picture theory of language

People often mention that there is an isomorphic nature between language and the world in the Tractatus' conception of language. As far as I can see it, according to Wittgenstein (it's been a few ...
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9answers
4k views

What came first, language or consciousness?

What came first, language or consciousness? Has any philosopher said that language gives us consciousness by allowing us to communicate with ourselves and therefore giving us choices that we did ...
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2answers
227 views

References for the study of language

I'm looking for (not too difficult too read) references related to Semiotics Philosophy of Language Philosophy of Linguistics I mainly seek the understanding of ideas about the relation between ...
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1answer
103 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 ...
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31 views

Has any consensualists written on Wittgenstein?

"This was our paradox: no course of action could be determined by a rule, because any course of action can be made out to accord with the rule" - Wittgenstein This paradox is purported to call ...
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92 views

Is there such a thing as meta-metaphysics?

I started wondering about this while taking an undergraduate course in philosophy of language (studying Frege, Davidson, Kripke, and Kit Fine). This field, in my understanding, aims to describe the ...
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1answer
204 views

Is there a natural example of a non-self-referential semantic paradox in philosophy?

A commonly studied paradox is the liar's paradox. The liar's paradox is to determine whether "this statement is false". The usual resolution is to state this the sentence is not actually a statement ...
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1answer
78 views

Differences and similarities between Kuhn and Quine about the indeterminacy of translation

About Thomas Kuhn's semantic incommensurability: Early on Kuhn drew a parallel with Quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of translation (1970a, 202; 1970c, 268). According to the latter, if we are ...
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2answers
88 views

Analogy and hypothetical reasoning

Many times we use hypothetical analogies to make a difference more clear. For example suppose we have John and George and John is faster than George. We can say if John and George were vehicles , John ...
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42 views

What does “Something” mean ontologically?

Many refer to the question of there is something rather than nothing by assuming that something refers to the universe. Is the word “something” an existential quantification in this context? Is ...
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1answer
68 views

Please what do we call this type of hypothetical statement?:

"It is certain you have a nose when you can smell but not everyone with a nose can smell". Or "It is certain you have a brain when you can think. But not everyone with a brain can think" Note: As I ...
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54 views

Does Langan think syntax is meaning free isomorphic structures?

Refer: Christopher Langan, "An Introduction to Mathematical Metaphysics", Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, vol. 13, no. 2, 2017 Accepting syntax is that part or ...
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0answers
60 views

Understanding, Meaning and Language [closed]

What is the logic of understanding? How do we understand things? What does it mean to understand? Take for example Turing/Wittgenstein (specifically TLP). It is clear that they had some universal ...
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1answer
322 views

What criticisms of Wittgenstein's philosophy of language have been offered?

In a 2003 obituary, Anna Sherrat described one of my many philosophy heroes, Donald Davidson, as “one of the greatest American philosophers.” She did an excellent job of summarizing one of the ...
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1answer
210 views

What is the philosophical significance of speech acts/implicature?

I have been reading materials on speech acts (eg. Austin, Searle), and also read Scott Soames' exposition of Gricean implicature theory in his Philosophical analysis in the twentieth century, but I ...
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1answer
160 views

Tautologies in religious language discussion

Influenced by Carnap and Wittgenstein, my view is that the disagreement between religious and non-religious people is mostly a semantic issue: the theistic and atheistic are referring to the same ...
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2answers
266 views

The more you know, the more you don't know

What is wrong with the following argument? The more you study, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the more you forget. The more you forget, the less you know....
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1answer
97 views

What is an example of a predictive conditional?

Can someone explain to me with an example what a predictive conditional is? Does this type of conditional have necessary and sufficient conditions?
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1answer
47 views

Where Wittgenstein argues that thinking is done in natural language?

I am looking for a precise reference where Wittgenstein writes about the use of ordinary language when people think, and that they do not use formal logic. Even in the case of mathematics. Can you ...
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5answers
131 views

Does the individual meaning of two propositions determine or constrain what kind of logical connectives can be formed between them?

What is the basis for the definition of logical connectives? Are they just arbitrary convention? Or does it depend on the meaning of the constituent propositions? Does the individual meaning of two ...
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2answers
62 views

What irreducible functions constitute thinking?

Because all new knowledge, to be not illogical, must obey logic i.e. every thinking step must be consistent with rules of logic; so can we write an effective procedure/algorithm which may be followed ...
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2answers
134 views

Does anyone know any philosophers who engage with (ordinary language) dictionaries in their work?

This may be a strange question, but here's the breakdown. I work on a concept that has received very little philosophical attention. For this reason, I have to consult good old dictionaries (Oxford, ...
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1answer
811 views

Is it possible that a question has only two answers?

□ yes □ no "no" implies that a closed system with only two options like the one above is impossible. If you accept that such a system is possible by the way, it generates paradoxical results, since ...
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1answer
88 views

Frege: Truth as an expression of assertoric force

I am writing an essay on Frege's redundancy theory of truth. As far as I have read, his theory is that the word 'true' does not add anything to the thought of a sentence in which it appears, however, ...
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0answers
48 views

Philosophy of great thinkers [closed]

What are the basics to learn and examine the philosophy of famous thinkers without developing a biased attitude?
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1answer
82 views

What are some opinions about what beauty is in poetry?

I am interested in hearing some explanations about what beauty is in poetry and subjectively define what makes a poem beautiful.
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2answers
714 views

How do we know that Wyman and McX aren't the same person?

Quine thought that only that which exists can be referred to, or in other words 'to be is to be the value of a bound variable'. However, what of his equally famous fictional characters Wyman and McX?...
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7answers
1k 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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1answer
77 views

Questions about the relationship between Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and Tractatus

I've read the Tractatus and am now working my way through Investigations, and I have a few questions about their relationship to one another. Obviously I've heard that the latter is critical of the ...
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1answer
76 views

When to label a philosopher as either a western philosopher or an eastern philosopher? [closed]

The criterion that determines a person who is professionally trained in philosophy and does philosophical research, to be either a western or eastern philosopher is not clear to me. Suppose, we have ...
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0answers
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Relation of Propositions to Reality

Consider world. I see the world, note some state of affairs, and I make some interesting proposition P which describes it. Another person now reads it. What the other person sees is just P. This P is ...
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5answers
246 views

Are there any attempts to define “doubt”?

Traditionally, Knowledge is defined as a True Justified Belief (Let us ignore epistemic caveats and objections to this definition). According to Wittgenstein, there is no place for knowledge where ...
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2answers
80 views

Meaning, Properties and Definition

According to my understanding, language is an attempt to describe the properties of objects. A sentence can only succeed so far as to be able to list the properties or characteristics. There are ...
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3answers
124 views

Wittgenstein and the meaning of intermediate cases

I am reading Wittgenstein's philosophical investigations and want to understand what intermediate cases are. In paragraph 122 Wittgenstein writes in the first section A main source of our failure ...
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3answers
135 views

On Truth and Lying

If A, consciously, reports false data to B, and B (or anyone else) has no way to verify, then no one can make the statement, "A lied". So, there exists no such person with respect to whom A lied. ...
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0answers
48 views

Grice: Comparing Natural Meaning, Non-Natural Meaning, Conventional Implicature and Generalized Conversational Implicature

I am currently reading "Meaning" and "Logic and Conversation" by Paul Grice. I find it a little difficult to differentiate clearly between his concepts "natural meaning", "non-natural meaning", "...