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Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

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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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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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84 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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185 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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43 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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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
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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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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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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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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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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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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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71 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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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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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
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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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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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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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238 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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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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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
127 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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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", "...
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1answer
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Philosophers who did not think that language is more special than cognition as a whole

There are pretty many philosophers who talked and wrote on the philosophy of language. Usually language only means the use of words and symbols, however, I noticed that symbols may have different ...
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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 ...
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Are humans becoming more hive-like? Does this have philosophical implications?

Have any philosophers taken up human hive-like behaviour and its implications? EO Wilson and others have outlined eusociality, a mode of group selection acting in addition to selection at the ...
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What is Quine's response to Parmenides's argument against change?

I was recently reading Russell's chapter on Parmenides in The History of Western Philosophy, and I came across a fun little argument for the absence of change. Essentially, it says that word meaning ...
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What does Tarski mean when he says that truth is a property of sentences?

A fundamental statement of Tarski's Theory of Truth is that truth is a property of sentences. What does this statement mean? What kind of Truth is it referring to? What is the formal definition of '...
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Measurement units and metaphysical necessity

I understand Kripke as arguing (in Naming and Necessity) that "a meter" is a rigid designator - it designates the same length in all possible worlds (on the other hand "the standard stick is a meter ...
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3answers
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Are there many minds or is there only one?

"If a lion could speak, we cannot understand it" - Ludwig Wittgenstein Machines vs Chaos of Human Language Mathematical Consensus Is a proof still valid if only the author understands it? ...
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3answers
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Can art be honest?

I was watching an episode of "Penny Dreadful" (ep.04 of season 1, here's the YouTube link for the scene in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxp21dbnRnA). In this episode, Dorian Gray (the one ...
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1answer
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Is there overlap between semantics and syntax in the mind?

Please don't give me the Wikipedia or dictionary explanations, we're looking at mutual influence. In computer science the primitive expression of syntax would be as the format for instructions to the ...
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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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4answers
119 views

Non Cyclic definition of life/death? [closed]

Life and death have a cyclic dictionary definition. Can one not be defined without the other? ( a question on philosophy of language) I am hypothesizing that the immediate words that come to the ...
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1answer
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What is the subject of Tractatus by Wittgenstein?

Is Tractatus about the Philosophy of language or Philosophy of logic. I was hearing John Searle's lecture and he said there are two strands in Philosophy of language :- 1. Logical theory of language 2....
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Can infinity be defined?

I know that one can look in a dictionary and find definitions for "infinity". Similarly, texts in mathematics will give varying accounts of how "infinity" is treated. So, I am not asking for these ...
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2answers
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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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How does Derrida explain the possibility of meaningful communication and linguistic coordination?

Consider this passage on Derrida and meaning (from here): The search for an 'essential reality' or 'origin' or 'truth' is futile, because "...language bears within itself the necessity of its ...
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The myth of the given and externalism

According to Wilfrid Sellars any talk of a given out there should be condemned as a mere myth. Therefore, nothing from the physical world outside can limit our language - the "space of reason", and ...
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Meaning in use and naturalisation of intentionality

What is the relation between pragmatism and intentionality? Two different enterprises in philosophy seem to be well established and yet contradicting: Inferential Pragmatism: from Wittgenstein and ...
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How can truth exist if every statement is ambiguous? [closed]

I have read online and personally believe that every statement has some degree of ambiguity to it. With this in mind, I was wondering how any propositions can be true. For example, I have heard some ...
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1answer
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Where did Kuhn draw a parallel with Quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of translation?

About Thomas S. Kuhn, In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy I read: Early on Kuhn drew a parallel with Quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of translation (1970a, 202; 1970c, 268) Which is the ...
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Meaning vs. Significance [closed]

From: Philip Johnson-Laird BA PhD Psychology (UCL), Stuart Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton. (Author isn't a logician.) How We Reason (1st edn 2008). p. 433. [Chapter 1] 9. ...
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Kuhn: in what sense is the changed part of an old taxonomy redefined in terms of an “unchanged part”?

The problematic nature of translation arises from two assumptions. First, as we have seen, Kuhn assumes that meaning is (locally) holistic. A change in the meaning of one part of the lexical structure ...
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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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1answer
158 views

How did Wittgenstein become interested in the philosophy of language?

As far as I know he was doing engineering and became interested in the foundations of mathematics and went to Frege and upon his advice he went to study logic from Russell. So what happened which ...
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Can Frege overcome Russell's critique in “On denoting”?

I would like to know what would be the best way to overcome the criticism of Frege laid out by Russell in "On denoting", especially in regard to the third "paradox" presented. This paradox states ...
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1answer
71 views

Is there a truth value for a predictive conditional?

Does a predictive conditional have a truth table value? I have this question because we can't check if the antecedent or consequent is true or false.
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4answers
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Can a ban on certain words be justified rationally?

In our world there is a notion of political correctness. There are some words which can be considered rude or abusive in themselves, regardless of the thought behind them. However, this seems awkward ...
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Making Moral Judgement: Thick Concepts versus Normative Concepts

In G. E. Anscombe's article "Modern Moral Philosophy", she thinks that it is meaningless to make moral judgements such as something is right, wrong, permissible and impermissible. Secondly, she thinks ...