15 votes

How can one refute John Searle's "syntax is not semantics" argument against strong AI?

Wittgenstein in his intermediate period provided a response, before the age of AI research and Searle's objections. In a nutshell: semantics is another syntax. Words only mean as role players in a ...
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  • 40.7k
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: ...
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  • 40.7k
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 ...
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  • 40.7k
8 votes

Does Noam Chomsky reject Darwinian evolution?

Chomsky was famously called out by Dennett in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, who saw “signs of Chomsky’s agnosticism — or even antagonism — towards Darwinism”, and added that "if Darwin dreaders want a ...
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  • 40.7k
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 ...
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  • 5,096
6 votes

Could philosophy be top-down?

The philosophical concept you're looking for is foundationalism; it hasn't always been neccessary - after all arithmetic was done and number theory pursued for two Millenia before a foundational ...
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6 votes
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Have I got Saussure's distinction between the form and substance right?

Saussure is playing with two traditional dicotomies : the aristotelian : form/matter (their union is the substance) and the "(traditional) linguistic : form/content. See CLG, Ch.4: [ page 156 ] La ...
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5 votes

Does Noam Chomsky reject Darwinian evolution?

The short answer is no, Chomsky doesn't reject evolution; the longer answer goes like this: Chomsky is arguing that it doesn't give sufficient insight into the nature of a 'natural organ of language', ...
5 votes

Linguistic philosophical distinction between 'believe in' & 'believe that'

Not entirely sure what you mean by "linguistic philosophical distinction" nor am I completely clear on the origins, though a few websites do seem to validate sourcing it to H.H. Price. I am ...
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4 votes

Is mathematics a language?

If "language" is defined as a means to convey information, knowledge, feelings, etc. from a source to a receptor, then mathematics certainly meets the requirement. From this perspective, mathematics ...
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  • 1,740
3 votes

Could philosophy be top-down?

I would add to Mozibur's answer that several of the historically notable philosophers have tried to build complete philosophical systems from the ground up. Look at Kant and early Wittgenstein as ...
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3 votes
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Lacan seems to invert 'metaphor' and 'metonymy': why?

Lacan's views are based on Roman Jakobson's analysis of language: “Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances”, page 49-on. According to Jakobson: Speech implies a selection of ...
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3 votes
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Was indeterminacy of linguistic meaning, as understood by Quine, anticipated by the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition?

I see two separate issues here, the determinateness of meanings and Quine's behaviorist route to rejecting it. While the latter is indeed subject to much criticism it is not conjoined at the hip to ...
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3 votes

Name of Formal Fallacy? Probability does not entail Certainty

A is probably B B is X Therefore, A must be X Is deductively invalid, so it would fall under the general fallacy type of invalid argument (assuming that it is presented as a deductive argument). As ...
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  • 31
3 votes

What are the propositions?

I'm not aware of a formal definition of proposition, and the issue is highly contentious, but one way to think about them is as follows. Take a sentence like "Clarissa is a fish". You can believe this,...
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3 votes

What is meaningful?

The meaning of a sentence seems to me to be a relation between the sentence and something which is beyond the sentence. A senseless sentence is just a sentence, a mere sentence . A meaningful sentence ...
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  • 7,191
3 votes
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How can one refute John Searle's "syntax is not semantics" argument against strong AI?

The "syntax is not semantics" principle in the Chinese Room Argument (CRA) is based on the relationship between the Searle-computer and the Chinese symbols. Searle correctly characterizes this as a ...
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  • 114
3 votes

Is music just another language?

According to Psychology Today Music is a universal language. Or so musicians like to claim.... [But is it?] That depends on what you mean by “universal” and what you mean by “language.” Every human ...
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3 votes

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

I haven't read Kripke's Naming & Neccessity, however the linked article quotes Wittgenstein from his Philosophical Investigations: There is one thing of which one can say neither that it is a ...
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3 votes
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How do we understand and fix reference for scientific units of measure?

Unfortunately, we do not have a satisfactory theory of meaning (semantics) of natural languages, i.e. of understanding words, or even of using them (pragmatics). Kripke's causal theory of reference ...
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3 votes

What is the relation between Sense/Denotation and Intension/Extension

Regarding Sense and Denotation, you are right: the source is the philosophy of Gottlob Frege : The reference (German: Bedeutung) of a proper name is the object it means or indicates (bedeuten), its ...
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3 votes
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What is the relation between Sense/Denotation and Intension/Extension

While the intension/extension distinction is ancient and unproblematic, the details of sense/reference (denotation) distinction are controversial, and are still evolving. I will suggest here a ...
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  • 7,191
3 votes
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References for the study of language

Daniel Chandler wrote a book Semiotics: the Basics and also supplies an online version here. For a large part of English speaking academia, after Chomsky's reformulation of linguistics into the field ...
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  • 2,790
3 votes

Semantic Values of Sentences

You can do what you want in the framework of Heim & Kratzer's Semantics in Generative Grammar; 'some' is treated in section 6.4 as you describe it. [[some snake]] = [[some]]([[snake]]) = λg . ∃x ...
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  • 131
3 votes
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The Origin of Thought

Thoughts come from nowhere and from everywhere! Both - both contain an element of truth. Subjectively, our thoughts come from nowhere: they just pop into our heads or emerge in the form of words ...
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  • 876
3 votes
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Is there anything on early to mid Foucault and structuralism?

A good place to start is the two volume Histoire du Structuralisme (1991/2) by F. Dosse: it provides a context and a few chapters on Foucault in both books. In the late 70's quite a few people claimed ...
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  • 3,720
2 votes
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Current philosophy of language

The work of Noam Chomsky is generally accepted as the cutting edge of linguistics and because of his contributions many people regard him as the most relevant living intellectual in the world. The ...
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2 votes

What is meaningful?

I agree with one commenter, that all propositions must have meaning. However, the commenter didn't explain why, so I thought I'd elaborate. A proposition must be true or false. You can't argue either ...
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  • 176
2 votes
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On act of asking

The boy explicitly asked for a chocolate cake. His implicit wish might have been for any cake that could fix his craving. Explicit wishes / questions and implicit wishes / questions don't always ...
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