Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

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43 views

A clarification of nonexistence

This is similar to a question I asked long ago, but there was a misinterpretation. People often say that, for instance, unicorns don't exist, but isn't it more correct to say that there are no ...
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1answer
87 views

Is a set a concept?

Follow on from this question. Since sets have both intentional and extensional definition my thought is yes they are concepts. But maybe there is a technical reason that sets aren't concepts?
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113 views

Do the set of “Concepts” contain itself?

So I gather that a set containing itself is not allowed. Yet it seems like a set of all concepts (Concepts) should contain an element denoting the idea of "concept". Is it that there is a ...
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2answers
82 views

Are there examples of ideas that rationally-trained persons agree on?

This question is meant for a bit of fun as a comedic corollary to JDH's top-voted question, "What would it take in a book to convince a rational person that it had been written by or directly ...
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107 views

Why do we call “A or B Theories of Time” instead of “A or B Hypotheses of Time”?

Why do we call "A or B Theories of Time" instead of "A or B Hypotheses of Time" when the concepts are not yet proven by empirical evidence? We know, hypothesis: a supposition or ...
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128 views

Concepts possession conditions

As a consequence of my growing interest in epistemology, I recently read some articles about concepts. The authors were originating from different fields, such as philosophy of mind, language and ...
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5answers
201 views

What have philosophers had to say about something being ‘real’ vs ‘imaginary’?

How do philosophers approach this difference? Is the question the same as asking 'what is the difference between real and imaginary'? What makes something real vs imitation? And, why it is so ...
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128 views

What justification was there for Russell and Wittgenstein to posit 'atomism'?

In light of the history of philosophy's recognition that the scientific method appeared to be becoming a type of role model for the other 'natural' sciences and thus that obtaining to objective proof ...
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1answer
106 views

Mechanics of Thought Experiment

How do thought experiments work? We constantly see usage of thought experiments to argue some statements about 'real' world. I am interested in the operating mechanics of such experiments, the ...
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28 views

If Parfit's objectivism metaphysical?

In On What Matters, Derek Parfit argues that we sometimes have objective reasons to have certain desires or aims. I find this to be a metaphysical claim, and other philosophers (such as Michael Smith) ...
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149 views

What is a moral statement

Consider the following statements I feel lying is wrong. I prohibit lying. I dislike lying. I think lying is bad. Are these statements moral statements ? I think they only express a certain attitude ...
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71 views

Can you offer a rebuttle to the following argument that humans will never be able to communicate with space-aliens? [closed]

If you do not like this question being on philosophy.stackexchange, NOT down-vote the post; just migrate it to: The sci-fi Stack Exchange The lingusitcs Stack Exchange wherever The question ...
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1answer
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For Frege, how do we grasp the sense of a sign?

I was wondering...since Frege stablishes a difference between the sense of a sign (the mode of presentation of a reference), it's reference (the actual object in the world) and the representation of ...
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3answers
93 views

Are There Finitary Logical Constraints on Converting Recursive Syntax to Semantics?

From the logical standpoint can we continue these series on and on and still be able to make sense of it? 1. I know <--- no problem 2. I know ...
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241 views

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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1answer
88 views

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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91 views

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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1answer
49 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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3answers
142 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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44 views

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
90 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
81 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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2answers
68 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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40 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
70 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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4answers
219 views

Are opinions considered statements?

‘Aristotle was great’. Is this a statement? I consider a statement to be something either true or false (but not both). For an individual, this may be considered a statement (because either you ...
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110 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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213 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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1answer
90 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
122 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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29 views

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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42 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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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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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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207 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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3answers
126 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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2answers
106 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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102 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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122 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
91 views

To prove or disprove that objectivity does not exist, would lead to circular reasoning

So I was thinking about this and I realized one thing. If we say “Objectivity does not exist”, we would have to use “objectivity” to prove it. Since we’re claiming that objectivity does not exist, if ...
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74 views

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
224 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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1answer
138 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
246 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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2answers
137 views

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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46 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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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
44 views

Gutenberg technology effects on human psyche

McLuhan is claiming that Gutenberg technology was the reason of human psyche fragmentation, primitivism and social conformism. I am trying to find links between Gutenberg technology and the phenomenon ...
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2answers
117 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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67 views

What is it about the existence of some things that makes us right or wrong in describing their existence, while other things can change?

For example, if people used to believe the Earth was the center of the universe, and we discover it is not, we now say, "people used to falsely believe that the Earth was the center of the universe", ...

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