Questions tagged [philosophy-of-language]

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

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3answers
359 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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
709 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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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 ...
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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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601 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 ...
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1answer
217 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 ...
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431 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 ...
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534 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",...
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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 ...
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214 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
183 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 '...
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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 ...
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1answer
117 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 ...
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106 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 ...
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1answer
182 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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
247 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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1answer
124 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 ...
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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 ...
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141 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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. ...
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1answer
685 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 ...
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155 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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100 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?
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1answer
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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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251 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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449 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
961 views

Why is Chomsky considered to have refuted Skinner's behaviorism?

I heard in a philosophy of the mind lecture that Skinner's behaviorism went out of favor in the 50s mainly due to Chomsky's critique of Skinner's behaviorist account of language acquisition. When I ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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252 views

What are the correct terms for a concept and the real thing it represents?

Realism about an object is the view that this object exists in reality independently of our conceptual scheme. Does that mean that if I am thinking about an apple, the concept of the apple is in my ...
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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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201 views

Can Wittgenstein's critique of private language be turned against (modernized) Kant?

Wittgenstein argued, roughly, that a language has to be learned, and to be learned it has to be used first. Therefore, no private language. But if language has to be learned what then are the a priori ...
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231 views

What is a predicate according to Aristotle's Organon?

There is of course predicate as in predicate logic; but I'm asking about the notion in Aristotle's Organon. Consider the proposition: Socrates is a man. Man is a universal, Socrates is a ...
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652 views

How does Kripke lay out the epistemic argument?

The epistemic argument against descriptivism, as laid out by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states: Kripke's epistemic argument (1980, 78; 87) is closely related, but trades on epistemic,...
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Are there philosophers who further develop ideas by Searle?

I'm reading a bit about John Searle's philosophies of mind and language at the moment. In his language lectures he keeps emphasizing that his views aren't considered mainstream. Are there any ...
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Are there any points of convergence between analytical and traditional concept based philosophy?

In many questions, answers and in comments, there appear to be differences in the type of answers and comments which fall into two roughly delineated trains of thought and exemplify the fault line ...

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