Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

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105 views

What is meant by the following: This law is well motivated in cases where we may be ignorant of the facts

The folllowing text is taken from a part in a book (reference below) which are about mathematical philosophy. "... the theorem of classical logic known as the law of excluded middle: for every ...
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164 views

Is language a living system? [closed]

Think about it, the words behave like genes. Strongest words survive. Words mutate, combine, and cross. Words evolve. And we, people (with all our information carrying devices), are their environment.
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Normativity and causal explanation of the mind

It is claimed by a lot of philosophers that because we are normative creatures, it is impossible to explain our minds in purely causal terms. Jerry Fodor writes (in LOT2) ... contents of symbols ...
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159 views

Should I use “philosophy” as a noun to describe my world view? [closed]

I do this often. I use the word "philosophy" to indicate I am talking about the way I think. I use it to indicate my own personal beliefs and conclusions about the world. It is in a sense a disclaimer ...
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431 views

How to distinguish philosophy and literature? [closed]

How can we impartially distinguish philosophy and literature? In other words, if in the whole of an author's work there is not one single knowledge claim, then is it misnomer that the work be ...
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1answer
117 views

What is understanding (of natural language texts) and how can we test or measure it?

What is the definition of the understanding of (written) natural language and how can we test or measure this understanding? What is understanding of the symbolic knowledge be it encoded in any form? ...
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What are the relations between externalism (Kripke, Putnam) and holism (Quine) about meaning?

Three points are not clear to me about the relations between semantic externalism (Kripke, Putnam) and holism (Quine): Is there a way according to which externalism and holism can be held together or ...
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2answers
133 views

Is “destroyer of hope” same as “bringer of hopelessness”?

Assuming that "hopelessness" is absence of hope, if hope was there in the first place then hope can be "taken away" or "destroyed" which could be done a "bringer of hopelessness". Is "taking hope" ...
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79 views

Can we express the present tense without indexicality? [closed]

Can we express the present tense without indexicality? If so, what would that expression refer to, a present that did not chnage tense?
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4answers
217 views

Wittgenstein's Challenge: Good Practice or Bad Advice?

Wittgenstein, in his Tractacus, lays out a number of interesting propositions. His 7th is famous for the odd advice it seems to suggest. It reads: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be ...
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236 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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2answers
129 views

What is post truth? And is there any real justification that we have moved into that kind of a world? [closed]

Oxford has defined it as---> ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief'. Now to me, ...
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207 views

Should words only be represented by finite and linearly structured graphemes?

Knowing that the words in a written language can be represented by combinations of symbols (e.g. letters of an alphabet), I would be interested to learn what kinds of structural restrictions there are ...
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717 views

Does Google's latest translation tool support Jerry Fodor's Language of Thought Hypothesis?

Google recently updated their translation tool so that it can now translate between language pairs that it hadn't seen before, something they're calling "zero-shot translation." See here for the full ...
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506 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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233 views

Can there be an objective purpose?

If we define purpose as the reason for which something exists. Can there be an objective purpose for something?
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4answers
463 views

What book recommendations for learning Hegel and Wittgenstein?

I'm currently interested in Hegel's Dialectic and Wittgenstein works. I'm mostly looking for things related to logic, language and the foundation of mathematics. What do you think I should read from ...
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167 views

Can an Argument be ever a hypothesis? [closed]

Can I have an argument which can be a hypothesis?
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87 views

Certain questions on Derrida's conception of languange?

Several days ago, I read this comic. And its explanation: A big project of 20th century analytic philosophers, such as Frege, Carnap and Russell, was to either ground language in logic, or to ...
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Does a philosophy of language presuppose a philosophy of mind?

Ever since the "linguistic turn", philosophers have been keenly aware of the need of analyzing certain questions about language. In retrospect, John Searle, in Expression and Meaning, notes "the ...
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433 views

What is the fallacy of defining a square as “a closed-plane figure whose sides are all equal”?

I am determined to prove my professor wrong. Here is a question from a recent exam: Using the six definitional criteria, evaluate the following definition. A square is a closed-plane figure whose ...
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240 views

Can there be a sufficient account of meaning without an account of intentionality?

Much has been said in recent philosophy in criticism of representationalist theories of meaning. The idea is that any representation can represent what it will only in a prior, limiting context. ...
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146 views

Would a pragmatist allow that meaning is representational of things in its use?

Pragmatism contends that use should be stressed when talking about the meaning of words before 'representation'. But what if we were to look at signification/representation as a sort of activity? If ...
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98 views

The scope of Analytic discussion about sentences

Kripke and Quine argue both for 2 different ideas (about which I will write shortly) but their objectives are common - to say something about the nature of sentences. Yet, It seems to me like they don'...
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212 views

Can somebody please give me good tips about how to write a high quality philosophy essay? [duplicate]

I am quite well read, and I understand the philosophy papers I read quite well. But I am a very sloppy writer. Whatever I write comes back with commentaries degrading my papers. What should I do to ...
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237 views

What arguments support the idea that rational thinking requires language use?

The idea that rationality has language as a necessary condition might be called, per Brandom, lingualism. What are the most popular arguments for this position? Why should we think that the way we ...
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214 views

Difference between information and knowledge?

As far as I think projection of data unto subject mind is information for the subject whereas indentation or impressions accumulated owing to projection of data unto subject mind is knowledge for the ...
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145 views

Can a sentence denote itself?

Consider a string 'self', and let 'self' denote itself -- that is, 'self' denotes 'self'. Thus, since 'self' denotes self, and denotation is a single-valued predicate, we get that 'self' is self. ...
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503 views

Do abstract ideas exist or are they only to be found in language?

Is there any reason to imagine that abstract ideas exist when they are nowhere to be found except in language? No more is known today, for example, about Platonic Forms than upon initial utterance ...
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91 views

“… a thing is an English word only if it has meaning.” – or is it?

From Geoffrey Hunter's Metalogic, p.5: ... a thing is an English word only if it has meaning. At this point I stopped reading the textbook, and thought to myself: "Is this really so?". NB: I don't ...
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287 views

How do pragmatists explain how words attach to things in reality?

If I'm feeling particularly despotic I can tell my daughter to go pick me up an apple in the dining room. A couple of seconds later and I am greeted with the thunk of an apple dropping on my lap. ...
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225 views

What is the Fregeian meaning of “grasping”?

Frege holds in Der Gedanke that the Thought is the unity of existence because he considers Thought and proposition to be the very same thing, and our cognition of non-propositional objects is ...
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Is mathematics a language?

Galileo gave the metaphor that the natural world is written in the language of mathematics, but is mathematics even a language?
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473 views

Can a question be bullshit?

In his essay On Bullshit Frankfurt writes: The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no ...
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652 views

What are the objections to Wittgenstein's argument that semantics and syntax are the same?

Wittgenstein claimed that syntax and semantics are the same because in some language constructions, syntax can be made to function as semantics. Since it seems like there is still some opposition to ...
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266 views

What is the difference between expressivism and representationalism in modern philosophy of language?

Philosophers like Robert Brandom and Huw Price make a fairly sharp distinction between expression and representation (or at least expressivism and representationalism). Price goes so far as to ...
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Why would this not resolve the Sorites paradox?

Bear with me here, I know nothing about philosophy that I haven't read on Wikipedia. I don't understand why the Sorites paradox is considered an unsolved problem in philosophy (according to Wikipedia)...
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what is the truth value of a sarcastic statement?

In light of Donald Trump's many statements (and then retractions of said statements) it is very difficult to decide whether what he is saying is true or false. Many attempts at fact-checking often ...
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356 views

How do we understand and fix reference for scientific units of measure?

Saul Kripke provides us with a clear way of how we understand and use names in Naming and Necessity. While this solves the problem of how we attribute and understand proper names an interesting ...
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111 views

Are there any contemporary continental studies based on linking the philosophy of language to science?

I guess verificationism may be a philosophy of language: the idea that to know the meaning of a scientific proposition... is to know what would be evidence for that proposition Are there more ...
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388 views

Why was Russell's theory of descriptions taken seriously?

Russell's theory of descriptions revolves around the definite and the indefinite articles of the English language in an attempt to solve some of the basic but serious problems in philosophy of ...
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Is music just another language?

In this video (starting around 00:28:30) the interviewer, Bryan Magee, and Noam Chomsky discuss musical composition as a form of thinking without language. But it seems trivial to me that music is a ...
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How should we choose between different theories according to Rorty, based on Kuhn?

Popper tried to distinguish a scientific framework from a non-scientific framework ( like Marxism or Psychoanalysis, according to him) by suggesting the criterion of falsification. Kuhn suggested ...
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473 views

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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266 views

Are these two statements about Ramseyfication true? [closed]

They just seem intuitively likely, though I'm not feeling very au fait with what exactly Ramsey sentences are. The Ramseyfication of everything that is necessarily true in a linguistic system leaves ...
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82 views

Did Quine have another reason to be skeptical of reference besides its context-dependence?

Quine, like many others before him, thought that the meaning of words depends on the context they are in. But what compelled Quine to hold that in light of this there is an ambiguity as to what any ...
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381 views

How does Wittgenstein think language is acquired?

Wittgenstein is critical of the 'private linguist' and his exclusive use of the ostensive definition, where the definition provided for a given word is an example or a 'pointing out' of what the word ...
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1answer
172 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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118 views

Does the existence of the proposition require language to be referential?

If we grant that there is a proposition wherein something meaningful is being asserted, does that require us to think of language as essentially representative in some way? If language didn't contain ...
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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?...