Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What do philosophers mean by 'conceivable'?

Philosophers, especially in analytic metaphysics, often talk about the conceivability of things. Here are some examples: I can conceive a perfect being, therefore, a perfect being is possible. ...
5
votes
4answers
240 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
377 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the relation between 'knowledge-that' and 'knowledge-how'?

Quick bit of definitions for the words: Knowledge-that is knowledge that answers a question about a thing. It is informative of a thing's nature or kind. Knowledge-how is knowledge that is expressed ...
5
votes
2answers
574 views

What is the difference between Jerry Fodor's LOT and Wittgenstein's Picture Theory of Meaning?

From Wikipedia: "[The] the language of thought hypothesis (LOTH) put forward by American philosopher Jerry Fodor describes thoughts as represented in a "language" (sometimes known as mentalese) that ...
5
votes
1answer
9k views

How does deconstruction differ from post-structuralism?

Derrida states that his use of the word deconstruction first took place in a context in which "structuralism was dominant" and its use is related to this context. Derrida states that ...
5
votes
3answers
150 views

How to model “forget about” in first order logic?

The other day, my housemate said "Don't forget to not leave the spoon at the bottom of the container". I understood what he meant: "Do not leave the spoon at the bottom of the ...
5
votes
1answer
961 views

Making 'sense' of Wittgenstein's senselessness / nonsense distinction in the Tractatus

For this question I'm just considering Wittgenstein's theory at the time of the Tractatus. As far as I know, for Wittgenstein: Meaning - The object denoted by a word (i.e. referent). Sense - The ...
5
votes
1answer
779 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
734 views

Can a language be learned from a dictionary?

There's a nice question I thought about, and I'd like to know more about it. I would assume it has been discussed many times, but I'm not sure what its called so I'm having trouble finding any texts ...
5
votes
6answers
374 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
624 views

Fodor's language of thought

Fodor developed his idea of language of thought (representational account of propositional attitudes) from Brentano's ideas of intentionality. At the same time Daniel Dennett criticised the Fodor's ...
5
votes
1answer
222 views

What is *lost* and *gained* in repudiating the analytic/synthetic distinction?

Analytic sentences are characterized as sentences whose truth values derive from their meanings alone. The truth of synthetic sentences depend on both meaning and fact. In the early modern ...
5
votes
2answers
462 views

Can Frege coherently admit expressions that have a sense but lack a reference?

I am looking here for any sources that respond to the question given: Can Frege coherently admit expressions that have a sense but lack a reference? I am familiar with a lot of the exegetical work ...
5
votes
2answers
222 views

Rigorous resources on the philosophy of language

I would like to find some introductory resources on the philosophy of language that are also rigorous, as I come from a mathematical background with my interests rooted in mathematical logic. Ideally ...
5
votes
2answers
726 views

Understanding McDowell's Mind and World

In "Mind and World" John McDowell takes a Sellarsian approach, claiming that the given is a myth. Yet, he says, if I understand him correctly, the space of reasons is not a mere "spinning in the void",...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is Tarski's semantic theory of truth formally correct and materially adequate?

In "The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics" (1944) Alfred Tarski asserts that a satisfactory definition of truth must be both formally correct and materially adequate. A ...
5
votes
1answer
477 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
197 views

Was indeterminacy of linguistic meaning, as understood by Quine, anticipated by the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition?

Quine held that the meaning of words was indeterminate. The reasons he holds this view all seem to have in common a certain aspect; the indeterminacy that occurs occurs within what might be called '...
5
votes
6answers
293 views

Is there any philosophical school of thought arguing for the primacy of words over symbols or mathematics in explaining things?

I'm not claiming that words are superior to symbols in all respects. I'm just curious if there is a school of thought arguing that natural language has more use than mathematics or formal language in ...
5
votes
2answers
214 views

Why do Conditional Semantics matter?

It seems that in most everyday cases, taking conditionals to have material truth conditions suffices for us to reason with them correctly (in the sense that using material truth conditions will most ...
5
votes
1answer
119 views

Canonical Papers on Context

The notions of context and contextual disambiguation are either implicitly or explicitly deployed in order to solve problems of ambiguous reference and meaning in the majority of the theories of ...
5
votes
3answers
108 views

Are there possible worlds that differ only in the assignment of rigid designators?

Is there an implicit idea in Kripe's definition of rigid designators that rules out the following possible world: Let A, B rigidly designate two things in the real world. Imagine the possible ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
752 views

Why are exclamations like “Ouch!” not considered propositions?

Doesn't "Ouch!" mean "I am experiencing discomfort", which is a proposition?
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is philosophy meaningless?

*By meaningless I mean undefined, and by meaning I mean definition. As a student of philosophy, I, like the general public, thought that my difficulty in understanding the concepts of philosophy is ...
4
votes
1answer
221 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
278 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

Did Frege criticize the style of the Tractatus?

Wittgenstein's Tractatus appears to have a singular style (526 sections numbered and organized in decimal under headings 1 to 7). It's also very concise. And the stylistic side is not envisaged by ...
4
votes
2answers
359 views

Given Wittgenstein's characterisation of language as essentially public, can he characterise what form thinking takes?

According to Wittgenstein, language is an essentially public activity between minds; and language is structured by a grammar so that this communication can indeed occur. I think, the notion of ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Why is a well-understood theory easier to understand, and does this answer the question “Why is older philosophy 'easier' to understand”?

I know the question sounds weird, so I'll bring an example coming from my field: mathematics. One of the greatest mathematicians of all time is Gauss. One of his results is the "Remarkable ...
4
votes
4answers
146 views

Can a reason cost 5 dollars?

Imagine a school where no one can wear a red hat. John goes to school with a red hat costing 5 dollars. Someone says John's red hat "is" the reason why he can't get into the school. What is the ...
4
votes
5answers
595 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between propositional sign and proposition in Wittgenstein's Tractatus?

While explaining the problem of what philosophy is according to Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Frank P. Ramsey says: a propositional sign is clear insofar as the internal properties of its sense are ...
4
votes
6answers
278 views

For Wittgenstein, What is the relation if there any between a linguistic entity and things in the world?

Ludwig Wittgenstein said: The difficulty of my theory of logical portrayal was that of finding a connection between the signs on paper and a situation outside in the world. I always said that ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

How come that a certain language is more logical as compared to another language?

Is it acceptable to say that a specific language is more logical than another language? To give an example, I always see the argument, that Latin (and also Japanese) is more logical than English.
4
votes
1answer
689 views

The nature of elementary propositions in the Tractatus

So all complex objects in the world are, at the most fundamental level, made up of simple un-analysable objects which are denoted by 'names'. Combinations of simple objects constitute 'states of ...
4
votes
3answers
160 views

Gettier Cases seem absurd and unconvincing

Suppose that Smith and Jones have applied for a certain job. And suppose that Smith has strong evidence for the following conjunctive proposition: (d) Jones is the man who will get the job, and Jones ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

How does the philosophy of science explore original research formulation?

Although rarely admitted or communicated, in scientific research it's quite common to change the originally formulated question once insurmountable obstacles have made an answer difficult or ...
4
votes
1answer
263 views

What's the meaning of the meaning of life? [closed]

Let's say that the meaning of life is X (avoiding evil, fulfilling our desires, obeying God, fleeing the pain of the fear of the death, collecting turtles – anything). What is the meaning of X? Even ...
4
votes
7answers
465 views

Is atheism about the existence of Deities or a personal perception of Sacredness?

Wikipedia on atheism: Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Now what about deities? A deity is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred. ...
4
votes
2answers
158 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Are there any introductory video courses about philosophy of language on the internet?

I want to study the philosophy of language. Are there any video courses about philosophy of language on the internet?
4
votes
1answer
129 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, ...
4
votes
2answers
264 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
511 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
7k views

Language as the house of being

Heidegger writes in Letter on Humanism: Language is the House of Being. In its home human beings dwell. And then later: the widely and rapidly devastation of language not only undermines ...
4
votes
1answer
183 views

Why does it matter whether knowledge is synthetic or analytic?

I have done some reading around Kant's idea of splitting knowledge into synthetic and analytic. I don't understand why does this split matter, knowledge could be split in other way by different ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

Yablo's notion of adding truth

I try to stress a point I've already made in Stephen Yablo's Aboutness and logical subtraction, but from another perspective. From what Yablo is saying in his appendix to Aboutness (http://assets....
4
votes
3answers
259 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, ...

1 2
3
4 5
12