62 votes
Accepted

Since words are defined in terms of other words in dictionaries, leading to infinite loops, does it mean natural languages are meaningless?

Natural languages do not depend in any fundamental way on our learning the meanings of words from dictionaries. No child I know learns to speak, read and understand meanings by memorising dictionary ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
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16 votes

Is there a name for the argumentative tactic where you play dumb and ask for extreme simplification?

The closest I could find is : Sealioning: A subtle form of trolling involving “bad-faith” questions. You disingenuously frame your conversation as a sincere request to be enlightened, placing the ...
Idiosyncratic Soul's user avatar
13 votes

Since words are defined in terms of other words in dictionaries, leading to infinite loops, does it mean natural languages are meaningless?

The fact that a dictionary defines each word as a loop that includes other words doesn't mean there is no information present in the dictionary. The information about all the words together is encoded ...
Jesbus's user avatar
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13 votes

Is there a name for the argumentative tactic where you play dumb and ask for extreme simplification?

In rhetoric, argumentation requires a certain level of good will and willingness to participate honestly in the communication process. If you are on a debate stage and your opponent fakes a heart ...
J D's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

Are contradictory propositions in the propositional logic still contradictory in the predicate logic?

Something that is a contradiction in the propositional logic remains a contradiction in predicate logic. The problem with your examples is that they are not particularly clear as to whether you are ...
Bumble's user avatar
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11 votes
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Is mathematics a language?

It is more than that. Even if we take the Galileo's metaphor literally, he is suggesting that there is a language of mathematics, specifically geometry, not that mathematics, as such, is a language: ...
Conifold's user avatar
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11 votes
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What do they call philosophers in China?

The introduction to Jeniffer Liu's 2016 thesis The Problem of Philosophy in Classical Chinese Thought goes in depth into the genesis of Chinese terms associated with philosophy, and shades of meaning ...
Conifold's user avatar
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10 votes

Is there a name for the argumentative tactic where you play dumb and ask for extreme simplification?

Feigned ignorance is more or less what you're describing. Nearby are Appeal to ridicule I've seen this used dishonestly but effectively in job interviews Strawman can generally be assumed to lurk ...
Rushi's user avatar
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9 votes

Is music just another language?

The answer is straightforward in the context of Chomsky's universal grammar, which music does not fit. However, the innate grammar structures postulated by Chomsky were not as universally encountered ...
Conifold's user avatar
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9 votes

Since words are defined in terms of other words in dictionaries, leading to infinite loops, does it mean natural languages are meaningless?

Many linguists including Chomsky I believe have studied languages up to the point of realizing that there are no set rules as to how languages develop. They just do. It's technocratic and overly ...
mavavilj's user avatar
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8 votes

Why are conditionals with false antecedents considered true?

The standard "conceptual explanation" is that if it were to obtain that 2*2=5 then it would mean that we know nothing anymore, and so any consequence should follow. This is more of a fable invented by ...
Conifold's user avatar
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8 votes

A question about pi

It sort of sounds like you're getting stuck on the numerical expression, which is subjective because Pi is also 11.00100100001111110110... and 3.243F6A8885A308D313198A2E0... [See π in Different Bases]...
DukeZhou's user avatar
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8 votes

What is the difference between the "is" of predication and the "is" of identity?

In "Paris is the capital of France", "is" is used to mean identity. In "my pet is a cat", "is" is used to mean predication : my pet belongs to the class of cats....
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
8 votes

Can location be assigned to an entity, given a lack of length, depth, or width?

David Gudeman rightly points out that your entity is called a point. A point by definition has no extension. How that is possible is that Euclidean space is concerned with having dimensions that are ...
J D's user avatar
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7 votes

Is music just another language?

In the context of the linked interview, both Chomsky and his interviewer have an understanding of the term "language" that excludes music from it. To put it as a syllogism: (P) All language ...
Dave's user avatar
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7 votes

Since words are defined in terms of other words in dictionaries, leading to infinite loops, does it mean natural languages are meaningless?

Humans do not initially learn language from the dictionary; they initially learn the first rudiments of language from ostensive definitions (also known as "definition by pointing"). A pre-linguistic ...
Ben's user avatar
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7 votes

What is the difference between the "is" of predication and the "is" of identity?

The idea that there is a fundamental difference is known as the Frege-Russell "is" ambiguity thesis, Corazzon's webpage is a very good source on it. In addition to the is-es of predication and ...
Conifold's user avatar
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7 votes
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How does Epistemology show that it's not a language game?

I will make several suggestions, although I am not certain that I interpret the question as intended. The strongest case (arguably) for philosophical foundations to epistemology in modern times, ...
Conifold's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

With infinite language would the meaning of words collapse?

Isn't every natural language an infinite language in the sense that it can generate infinitely many sentences and infinitely many word-tokens ? This is the case even if most of these sentences are ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Does the postmodern rejection of "Grand Narratives" have anything to do with "First Principles" argumentation?

Yes and no, postmodernism certainly embraced the rejection of "first principles" and perhaps elevated it to a new level, but this rejection was neither originated by it nor is specific to it. ...
Conifold's user avatar
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5 votes

Could Nietzsche read English and French?

According to the Nietzsche Channel, Nietzsche read Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground in a French translation by E. Halpérine et Ch. Morice. The Nietzsche Library at the Nietzsche Channel contains a ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
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5 votes

Could Nietzsche read English and French?

Frank Hubery has answered the question for Nietzsche's knowledge of French. I'd add the following extract from Nietzsche's April 1875 letter to Marie Baumgartner : He himself confirms the ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
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5 votes

What do they call philosophers in China?

Conifold's answer is correct in relation to Modern China. But from my understanding, Ancient China uses a variety of words to describe their "philosophers". For example, in the Spring and Autumn ...
Kyoma's user avatar
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5 votes

Difference between "neither true nor false" and "either true or false."

"Neither true nor false” means that the statement has no definite truth valued : it lives in a sort of limbo, a truth value-gap between true and false. “Either true or false” means that the ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

What is the correct Wittgenstein analysis of this claim?

Answer There are several definitions of game with one often being this one. However, what is meant by a language game is not a language competition in this sense, but rather a cooperative decision ...
J D's user avatar
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5 votes

What are the reasons some thoughts cannot be simplified, reduced to a simpler set or phrases?

I can provide an intuitive answer to how thoughts can be simplified. From a general language, we can create out "sub languages". That is, a smaller language which is capable of consistently ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

How are you intended to interpret x.R and x.S in Davidson "Truth and Meaning"?

The phrase x̂(x=x) means 'the x such that x=x'. This is just a way of forming a singular term that refers to something. The . is conjunction ('and'). So x̂(x=x.R)=x̂(x=x) is logically equivalent to ...
E...'s user avatar
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4 votes

What does Frege mean by "Cognitive Significance" in "On Sense and Nominatum"?

You can see Frege's The Thought: A Logical Inquiry (1918-19): Without wishing to give a definition, I call a thought something for which the question of truth arises. [...] Two things must be ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar

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