Philosophia 41 (1):137-158 (2013)

Abstract
Two of the most fundamental questions about language are these: what are languages?; and, what is it to know a given language? Many philosophers who have reflected on these questions have presented answers that attribute a central role to conventions. In one of its boldest forms such a view runs as follows. Languages are either social entities constituted by networks of social conventions or abstract objects where when a particular community speaks a given language they do so in virtue of the conventions operative within that community. Consequently, for an individual to know a given language is for them to be party to the relevant conventions. Call this view conventionalism. In this article my aim is to evaluate conventionalism. I will argue that although there are linguistic conventions and that they do play an important role in language development and communication conventionalism should be rejected in favour of a more psychologistically orientated position
Keywords Conventions  Communication  Meaning  Syntax  Universal Grammar
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-012-9380-7
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,177
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.

View all 64 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Walking the Tightrope: Unrecognized Conventions and Arbitrariness.Megan Henricks Stotts - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):867-887.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-07-22

Total views
86 ( #133,935 of 2,499,401 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #209,699 of 2,499,401 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes