Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

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What's the difference between the necessary and sufficient conditions for an illocutionary act, and the act's constitutive rules?

My understanding is that, according to Searle the constitutive rules are the ones that make an act possible in the first place. His analogy is that, without the corresponding constitutive rules, ...
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2answers
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On reading Kripke

I've recently read that Saul Kripke has had a huge impact in philosophy over the last century, especially philosophy of language and "truth". My question is wether reading his works (or studying it ...
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1answer
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Does the truth value of a material conditional depend on context?

Suppose the following material conditional "If 1+1=2 then Moon is made of cheese". The antecedent refers to the context of mathematics. In that context "1+1=2" is true. Whereas &...
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Statements about real world

We make statements like "This table is composed from atoms". This statement must be true or false. But what if tomorrow the atomic theory is completely abandoned and we work with another ...
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3answers
120 views

Are specific concepts of objects temporary

We can define an "electrical device" as a device that works with electricity etc. Suppose that the theory of electromagnetism would be proved wrong in the future. Would then make sense to speak about "...
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3answers
135 views

How to contradict a general statement?

Consider the statement, "All the geometrical shapes on the screen have radius equal to 6". Suppose on the screen we have 6 circles with radius equal to 6 and also 1 triangle. In order to ...
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2answers
128 views

Are there some kinds of arguments in defense of Private Language?

Could the beetle in the box not play any role in our…?Or will the similar neurological constituents and the same physical input provide some supports to the "pain",in a (Kantian) way that each person ...
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4answers
842 views

Understanding hypothetical reasoning and material implication

I am a little bit frustrated in how we use hypothetical reasoning in everyday life. Many times we make "if-then" statements. For example, if I get ill ,then I can't go to work and if I can't go to ...
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1answer
44 views

How much of a nonstarter is this argument that tautologies are (true-ish but) not true?

I am wondering how much of a nonstarter you think this argument is. I am also interested in suggestions concerning articles or books to read. (More recent works preferred, as I can follow their ...
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2answers
123 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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Nietzsche's stance on how language makes us live in a world of “things” and “events”

In A Teacher's Introduction to Postmodernism by R. Linn, it says: Whereas Kant argued that the concept of a "thing", as opposed to en "event", was produced in consciousness as a ...
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2answers
502 views

What is the difference between a conditional and material implication?

Can someone help me understand the difference between a conditional and a material implication? Both of them have the "same" (if-then) structure. For example, "if x=2, then x^2=4". Is this a ...
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6answers
369 views

Liars paradox towards a solution?

This statement is not true 2.This statement is true only if true and not true. (1) and (2) are clearly different sentences, but do they express the same proposition? If yes, then it becomes clear ...
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2answers
173 views

Wittgenstein's opinion that language must be public: How was this innovative and not already obvious?

Source: p 206, A Little History of Philosophy (2011 ed; not 2012 Reprint ed.) by Nigel Warburton PhD in Philosophy.   It may seem obvious to you that when you are in pain and you speak about it ...
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2answers
88 views

(In)formal languages and meaning of words

I vaguely remember having heard that one can formally prove that no amount of (successful) communication between two people ensures that the assigned meaning of their words converges. I think it had ...
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1answer
80 views

Is “certainty” an either/or term or does it lay on a spectrum?

Is it just that you are either certain or uncertain, or can you be very certain and somewhat certain? If it’s either/or, I know it would make sense to say “almost certain,” but “very certain” wouldn’t ...
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1answer
243 views

Difference between Carnap and Quine's views

Could someone explain to me, in easy language, what the main differences are between Carnap and Quine's views regarding internal / external questions and realism? Quine called Carnap a Platoist, yet I ...
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11answers
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Why is the Münchhausen trilemma an unsolved problem?

Why is the Münchhausen trilemma unsolved? Couldn't anybody find some reasons for proving/disproving it? Or are there other reasons for it being called "unsolved"? the trilemma If we ask of any ...
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27 views

Truth value for objects that are not included in definitions

Consider the statement "This triangle has radius 3" and the statement "This cat is a chihuahua". Both radius and chihuahua are terms defined for different kind of objects than the objects we are ...
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1answer
36 views

The form of elementary propositions in TLF

In Tractatus Wittgenstein states that: 4.22 An elementary proposition consists of names. It is a nexus, a concatenation, of names. Suppose now that L is a first order language. As far as I ...
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1answer
98 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
181 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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1answer
69 views

How can Native Americans regain sovereignty over their cultural institutions? [closed]

Daniel Wildcat, of Native American ancestry, made the following statement in a book he coauthored: Even though we can translate most of the realities of the Indian social world into concepts familiar ...
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1answer
104 views

Is this a logical fallacy? There exists unique x ∈ A. Therefore, there are some x ∈ A

GENERAL There exists exactly one x ∈ A. Therefore, there are some x ∈ A. EXAMPLE 1 CHILD: Sometimes you forget to pick me up from school. Therefore, I want to start walking home. PARENT: I have ...
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1answer
87 views

How definition relates to abstract/concrete objects?

I am having a hard time to understand what a definition does. Is it an abbreviation we use instead of using too many words? But then why mathematicians define mathematical objects? Does it mean they "...
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3answers
168 views

What is the difference between syntax, semantics and pragmatics?

I would be interested to find more about the way semantics intertwines with pragmatics. Naturally, I associate semantics with more conventional theories like Russell`s as opposed to Gricean ...
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7answers
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Is art a form of communication?

I recently got into a discussion where the other person claimed that art is a form of communication. Bearing in mind that the definition of art is disputed, did any philosophers argue that a work ...
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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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2answers
99 views

If-then statements meaning in everyday vs mathematics

In mathematics when a "P implies Q" statement is true it means that every time P is true, Q is true also. What about everyday usage? For example consider the statement: "If it is raining, then I am ...
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1answer
217 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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41 views

What are the similarities between Zellig Harris' work and Chomsky's early work of Generative grammars?

Since my knowledge of Chomsky's work is limited to context free grammars I am particularly interested in the relation of Zellig's work to Chomsky's conception of abstract syntax trees and automata ...
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3answers
529 views

Some questions on “context” in Mathematical Logic

Recently I was having a discussion with user21820 in this chatroom. There very naively (in the sense that I didn't choose carefully each word of my following statement) I expressed the opinion that, ...
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What is the distinction between A-intension and C-intension?

I'm having a really hard time understanding a concept discussed in “Qualia and Analytic Conditionals” by Braddon-Mitchell and "Why We Need A-Intensions" by Jackson. Here's my extraction of these ...
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151 views

Protreptic to Philosophy of Language?

I have a friend who is quite interested in language, the idea of language, and so on. I myself am a philosophy student but one who has not done much reading in phil of language. I'd like to find some ...
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2answers
111 views

What does it mean when Hobbes says “round quadrangle” signifies nothing?

When Hobbes claims that “round quadrangle” (Leviathan, ch.IV) signifies nothing, what does that mean and why does it signify nothing?
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30 views

Is it reasonable to conflate being and truth?

Let x be something that exists unequivocally. Then "x exists" is true, but does it make sense to say x itself is true? And vice versa - the proposition "x exists" is true, but is there a sense in ...
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202 views

How does Plato's theory of forms relate to his epistemology and philosophy of language?

In dialogues like Cratylus and Theatatus, it seems to me that Plato paints a very skeptical picture of our capacity to know or articulate knowledge. In Cratylus he doubts the possibility of language ...
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1answer
54 views

Is there consensus on the framework of truth one should use when talking about moral statements?

My understanding is that for a moral realist, moral statements are propositions that have a true/false property that can guide reasoning. However, most articles I have read do not talk about what ...
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2answers
94 views

Mathematics vs Time

Suppose we have a person that one day states "x+3=5". The next day he again states "x+3=5". As events, we can say they are different but does the meaning of the expression has changed? It seems ...
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3answers
118 views

How Does One Define a Keyboard?

Suppose we have 3 keyboards and we take out all the switches. Would we call these objects still "keyboards"? Someone could argue that these objects don't have switches so they can't be called "...
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2answers
103 views

A philosophical problem on 'definition' of words [closed]

If I ask definition of anything, say point then the most likely reply I will get is " A point is that which has no part." But then I will ask what is 'part'? or what is 'no'? Then the reply will be ...
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2answers
608 views

Difference between objective and absolute idealism

While reading western philosophy, I found these three words. Subjective idealism of Berkeley, Absolute idealism and objective idealism of Hegel. So confusion arises between last two objective and ...
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Axiomatic system and symbolic, formal, mathematical language

Is there any need for axiomatic systems to be in a symbolic, formal, mathematical language? Equivalently is there any prohibition of axioms in axiomatic systems being in natural language? In other ...
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1answer
74 views

On the Donald Davidson Discourse of Contradictory Beliefs

The following excerpt is taken from Donald Davidson, Problems of Rationality, Chapter 14, Who is Fooled (1997), page 217: We should not agree that believing the contradictory or the contrary of a ...
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1answer
212 views

Difference between Frege and Russell on Definite Descriptions?

I'm relatively new to philosophy and I'm starting out with the 'staple' philosophers - namely Frege and Russell. I've read Frege's "Sense and Reference" and Russell's "On Denoting." One thing I have ...
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3answers
243 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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1answer
137 views

Collaborative work between Linguists and Computer Language designers to help fix the English Language

Is there work being done to help remove all the ambiguities and loose meaning of the English language by using low to mid level computer programming languages (avoiding more recent "high level" ...
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1answer
238 views

An English room inside Searle's Chinese Room?

The Chinese room experiment has a fundamental function of giving the system/person interacting with it the illusion that the room understands chinese, but it seems flaky to me what the term ...
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1answer
144 views

What is a both sufficient and necessary condition for not treating people merely as a means? [closed]

What is a both sufficient and necessary condition for not treating people merely as a means? To me the meaning of a concept is equivalent to a sufficient and necessary condition with which to ...
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1answer
45 views

Is this Quine example of 'logically true' statements irrefutably true?

In 'The Two Dogmas of Empiricism' Quine launches quite a compelling attack on the foundations of Reductionist Empiricism, particularly in its claims concerning analyticity. While this calling into ...

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