This essay argues that Pufendorf conceived the principles of natural law against the rationalism and innatism of the 17th century, and that Condillac similarly formulated a conception of the human origin of language, both of them thus securing open and human foundations for the two primal institutions of law and language, and also making all citizens free agents in the ordering of communal living.
Professor Hilary Putnam has been one of the most influential and sharply original of recent American philosophers in a whole range of fields. His most important published work is collected here, together with several new and substantial studies, in two volumes. The first deals with the philosophy of mathematics and of science and the nature of philosophical and scientific enquiry; the second deals with the philosophy of language and mind. Volume one is now issued in a new edition, including (...) an essay on the philosophy of logic first published in 1971. (shrink)
This chapter reviews issues surrounding theories of reference. The simplest theory is the Fido-Fido theory – that reference is all that an NP has to contribute to the meaning of phrases and sentences in which it occurs. Two big problems for this theory are coreferential NPs that do not behave as though they were semantically equivalent and meaningful NPs without a referent. These problems are especially acute in sentences..
Some language encourages essentialist thinking. While philosophers have largely focused on generics and essentialism, I argue that nouns as a category are poised to refer to kinds and to promote representational essentializing. Our psychological propensity to essentialize when nouns are used reveals a limitation for anti-essentialist ameliorative projects. Even ameliorated nouns can continue to underpin essentialist thinking. I conclude by arguing that representational essentialism does not doom anti-essentialist ameliorative projects. Rather it reveals that would-be ameliorators ought to attend to (...) the propensities for our representational devices to essentialize and to the complex relationship between essentialism and prejudice. (shrink)
Language and the birth of "literature." A preface to transgression. Language to infinity. The father's "no." Fantasia of the library.--Counter-memory: the philosophy of difference. What is an author? Nietzsche, genealogy, history. Theatrum philosophicum.--Practice: knowledge and power. History of systems of thought. Intellectuals and power. Revolutionary action: "until now.".
I investigate the extent to which there might be, now or in the future, non-human animals that partake in the kind of fully human-style consciousness that has been taken by many philosophers to be the basis of normative personhood. I first sketch a conceptual framework for considering the question, based on a range of philosophical literature on relationships between consciousness, language and personhood. I then review the standard basis for largely a priori skepticism about the possibility that any non-human (...) animal could experience FHSC and be a person to any extent, and indicate empirically motivated grounds for rejecting such skepticism, at least with respect to a select group of hypersocial candidate species with communication systems we do not currently know are not languages: corvids, parrots, elephants, and toothed whales. Relevant facts about elephants are reviewed in some detail, as a mini case study. While it is suggested that elephants might partake in the sort of consciousness characteristic of personhood to some extent, grounds are given for expecting that this extent is sharply limited by comparison with normal humans. As these grounds are mainly aspects of elephants’ external niche, however, rather than known limitations in their inboard cognitive or representational capacities, the surprising conclusion emerges that elephants might acquire FHSC, and thereby become persons, if they can be brought into conversation with humans, a possibility opened by considerations canvassed in the paper. (shrink)
Completely revised and updated in its Second Edition, Language and Reality provides students, philosophers and cognitive scientists with a lucid and provocative introduction to the philosophy of language.
The mnemonic arts and the idea of a universal language that would capture the essence of all things were originally associated with cryptology, mysticism, and other occult practices. And it is commonly held that these enigmatic efforts were abandoned with the development of formal logic in the seventeenth century and the beginning of the modern era. In his distinguished book, Logic and the Art of Memory Italian philosopher and historian Paolo Rossi argues that this view is belied by an (...) examination of the history of the idea of a universal language. Based on comprehensive analyses of original texts, Rossi traces the development of this idea from late medieval thinkers such as Ramon Lull through Bruno, Bacon, Descartes, and finally Leibniz in the seventeenth century. The search for a symbolic mode of communication that would be intelligible to everyone was not a mere vestige of magical thinking and occult sciences, but a fundamental component of Renaissance and Enlightenment thought. Seen from this perspective, modern science and combinatorial logic represent not a break from the past but rather its full maturity. Available for the first time in English, this book (originally titled Clavis Universalis ) remains one of the most important contributions to the history of ideas ever written. In addition to his eagerly anticipated translation, Steven Clucas offers a substantial introduction that places this book in the context of other recent works on this fascinating subject. A rich history and valuable sourcebook, Logic and the Art of Memory documents an essential chapter in the development of human reason. (shrink)
Many people have argued that the evolution of the human language faculty cannot be explained by Darwinian natural selection. Chomsky and Gould have suggested that language may have evolved as the by-product of selection for other abilities or as a consequence of as-yet unknown laws of growth and form. Others have argued that a biological specialization for grammar is incompatible with every tenet of Darwinian theory – that it shows no genetic variation, could not exist in any intermediate (...) forms, confers no selective advantage, and would require more evolutionary time and genomic space than is available. We examine these arguments and show that they depend on inaccurate assumptions about biology or language or both. Evolutionary theory offers clear criteria for when a trait should be attributed to natural selection: complex design for some function, and the absence of alternative processes capable of explaining such complexity. Human language meets these criteria: Grammar is a complex mechanism tailored to the transmission of propositional structures through a serial interface. Autonomous and arbitrary grammatical phenomena have been offered as counterexamples to the position that language is an adaptation, but this reasoning is unsound: Communication protocols depend on arbitrary conventions that are adaptive as long as they are shared. Consequently, language acquisition in the child should systematically differ from language evolution in the species, and attempts to analogize them are misleading. Reviewing other arguments and data, we conclude that there is every reason to believe that a specialization for grammar evolved by a conventional neo-Darwinian process. (shrink)
Introduction: How hard is the "hard core" of a scientific program? / Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini -- pt. 1. The debate: 1. Opening the debate: The psychogenesis of knowledge and its epistemological significance / Jean Piaget -- On cognitive structures and their development: a reply to Piaget / Noam Chomsky -- 2. About the fixed nucleus and its innateness: Introductory remarks / Jean Piaget -- Cognitive strategies in problem solving / Guy Cellerier -- Some clarifications on innatism and constructivism / Guy Cellerier (...) -- 3. Artificial intelligence and general development mechanisms: The role of artificial intelligence in psychology / Seymour Papert -- 4. Initial states and steady states: The linguistic approach / Noam Chomsky -- 5. Cognitive schemes and their possible relations to language acquisition: Language and knowledge in a constructivist framework / Bäé́ Thom -- Appendix C: Localist hypothesis and theory of catastrophes: note on the debate / Jean Petitot. (shrink)
Thinking, Language, and Experience was first published in 1989.Hector-Neri Castañeda's intricate and provocative essays have been widely influential, especially his work in epistemology and ethics, and his theory on the relation of thought to action. The fourteen essays in Thinking, Language, and Experience -- half of them written expressly for this volume -- demonstrate the breadth and richness of his recent work on the unitary structure of human experience.A comprehensive, unified study of phenomena at the intersection between experience, (...) thinking, language, and reality, this book focuses on singular reference -- that is, reference to individuals insofar as they are thought of as individuals: indicators, quasi-indicators, proper names, singular descriptions. Castañeda establishes a large number of new facts -- linguistic, semantic, psychological, and sociological -- about the workings of language in human experience, and from them develops a network of new theories, all grounded in his comprehensive Guise Theory.These theories offer a systematic account for: the structure of human experience and the world at large; the mental powers required to think of the world and to undergo experiences; self-consciousness; the language for thinking of other minds; perception and the interaction between indexical reference and perceptual fields; and the role of subjectivity in perception and intentional action. (shrink)
Language in Action demonstrates the viability of mathematical research into the foundations of categorial grammar, a topic at the border between logic and linguistics. Since its initial publication it has become the classic work in the foundations of categorial grammar. A new introduction to this paperback edition updates the open research problems and records relevant results through pointers to the literature. Van Benthem presents the categorial processing of syntax and semantics as a central component in a more general dynamic (...) logic of information flow, in tune with computational developments in artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Using the paradigm of categorial grammar, he describes the substructural logics driving the dynamics of natural language syntax and semantics. This is a general type-theoretic approach that lends itself easily to proof-theoretic and semantic studies in tandem with standard logic. The emphasis is on a broad landscape of substructural categorial logics and their proof-theoretical and semantic peculiarities. This provides a systematic theory for natural language understanding, admitting of significant mathematical results. Moreover, the theory makes possible dynamic interpretations that view natural languages as programming formalisms for various cognitive activities. (shrink)
The Gricean account of language is at the center of much current work in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. Anita Avramides maintains that Grice's paradigm can be used to defend very different conceptions of mind and of meaning. In this clearly argued book she describes Grice's analysis of meaning and proposes two interpretations of it, one reductive and one nonreductive. Much current work in cognitive science assumes that the content of words and thoughts can (...) be explained in naturalistic terms. A leading idea (advanced mainly by Stephen Schiffer and Brian Loar) is that the naturalistic account of content will proceed in two stages: a reduction of the semantic features of word; to the contents of propositional attitudes and then a reduction of the latter to physical or functional notions. The appeal of Grice's work on meaning to this two stage reductionist strategy is that Gricean definitions seem to provide the only way of reducing the semantic to the psychological, a reduction that is required for a naturalistic account of intentionality. While Avramides defends the method of analysis as one suited to the concept of meaning, she rejects a reductive interpretation of the analysis. She argues that any attempt to reduce the semantic to the psychological leads to a mistaken conception of mind. She exposes the assumptions behind the reductive interpretation and offers fresh and original arguments for the antireductionist position. Against the reductive Gricean she defends the idea that there is a deep epistemological symmetry between semantic and propositional attitude notions, a result of which is that semantically characterized linguistic behavior is central to our concept of belief. Anita Avramides is Lecturer in Philosophy at The Queens College, The University of Oxfor. A Bradford Book. (shrink)
The present study assessed the language teachers' pedagogical beliefs and orientations in integrating technology in the online classroom and its effect on students' motivation and engagement. It utilized a cross-sectional correlational research survey. The study respondents were the randomly sampled 205 language teachers (μ= 437, n= 205) and 317 language students (μ= 1800, n= 317) of select higher educational institutions in the Philippines. The study results revealed that respondents hold positive pedagogical beliefs and orientations using technology-based teaching (...) in their language classroom. Test of difference showed that female teachers manifested a firmer belief in student-centered online language teaching than their male counterparts. However, the utilization and attitude towards technology in the language classroom is favorably associated with the male teachers. As to students' level of language learning motivation and engagement, it was found out that male and female students have high level of language learning engagement. Further, the test of relationship showed that the higher the teachers' belief in utilizing student-centered teaching to integrate technology in the language classroom, the higher the students are motivated and engaged in learning. In like manner, it was also revealed that teacher-centered belief is negatively correlated to student’s motivation and engagement in online language learning. In this regard, the pedagogical assumptions that hold EFL teachers positively to integrate technology in the language classroom. This study generally offers implications for enhancing language teacher's digital literacy to promote motivating, fruitful, and engaging language lessons for 21ts century learning. (shrink)
Originally published in 1973, this book shows that methods developed for the semantics of systems of formal logic can be successfully applied to problems about the semantics of natural languages; and, moreover, that such methods can take account of features of natural language which have often been thought incapable of formal treatment, such as vagueness, context dependence and metaphorical meaning. Parts 1 and 2 set out a class of formal languages and their semantics. Parts 3 and 4 (...) show that these formal languages are rich enought to be used in the precise description of natural languages. Appendices describe some of the concepts discussed in the text. (shrink)
In recent years, many scholars have suggested that the Baldwin effect may play an important role in the evolution of language. However, the Baldwin effect is a multifaceted and controversial process and the assessment of its connection with language is difficult without a formal model. This paper provides a first step in this direction. We examine a game-theoretic model of the interaction between plasticity and evolution in the context of a simple language game. Additionally, we describe three (...) distinct aspects of the Baldwin effect: the Simpson– Baldwin effect, the Baldwin expediting effect and the Baldwin optimizing effect. We find that a simple model of the evolution of language lends theoretical plausibility to the existence of the Simpson– Baldwin and the Baldwin optimizing effects in this arena, but not the Baldwin expediting effect. (shrink)
Quine and Davidson are among the leading thinkers of the twentieth century. Their influence on contemporary philosophy is second to none, and their impact is also strongly felt in disciplines such as linguistics and psychology. This book is devoted to both of them, but also questions some of their basic assumptions. Hans-Johann Glock critically scrutinizes their ideas on ontology, truth, necessity, meaning and interpretation, thought and language, and shows that their attempts to accommodate meaning and thought within a naturalistic (...) framework, either by impugning them as unclear or by extracting them from physical facts, are ultimately unsuccessful. His discussion includes interesting comparisons of Quine and Davidson with other philosophers, particularly Wittgenstein, and also offers detailed accounts of central issues in contemporary analytic philosophy, such as the nature of truth and of meaning and interpretation, and the relation between thought and language. (shrink)
Is language understanding a special case of social cognition? To help evaluate this view, we can formalize it as the rational speech-act theory: Listeners assume that speakers choose their utterances approximately optimally, and listeners interpret an utterance by using Bayesian inference to “invert” this model of the speaker. We apply this framework to model scalar implicature (“some” implies “not all,” and “N” implies “not more than N”). This model predicts an interaction between the speaker's knowledge state and the listener's (...) interpretation. We test these predictions in two experiments and find good fit between model predictions and human judgments. (shrink)
A fascinating analysis of human language and its influence on other disciplines by one of the nation's most respected linguists. Chomsky is also the author of What Uncle Sam Really Wants and The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (15,000 copies sold).
Truth, Language, and History is the much-anticipated final volume of Donald Davidson's philosophical writings. In four groups of essays, Davidson continues to explore the themes that occupied him for more than fifty years: the relations between language and the world; speaker intention and linguistic meaning; language and mind; mind and body; mind and world; mind and other minds. He asks: what is the role of the concept of truth in these explorations? And, can a scientific world view (...) make room for human thought without reducing it to something material and mechanistic? Including a new introduction by his widow, Marcia Cavell, this volume completes Donald Davidson's colossal intellectual legacy. (shrink)
“What is the structure of thought?” is as central a question as any in cognitive science. A classic answer to this question has appealed to a Language of Thought (LoT). We point to emerging research from disparate branches of the field that supports the LoT hypothesis, but also uncovers diversity in LoTs across cognitive systems, stages of development, and species. Our letter formulates open research questions for cognitive science concerning the varieties of rules and representations that underwrite various LoT-based (...) systems and how these variations can help researchers taxonomize cognitive systems. (shrink)
Music can be described as sequences of events that are structured in pitch and time. Studying music processing provides insight into how complex event sequences are learned, perceived, and represented by the brain. Given the temporal nature of sound, expectations, structural integration, and cognitive sequencing are central in music perception (i.e., which sounds are most likely to come next and at what moment should they occur?). This paper focuses on similarities in music and language cognition research, showing that music (...) cognition research provides insight into the understanding of not only music processing but also language processing and the processing of other structured stimuli. The hypothesis of shared resources between music and language processing and of domain-general dynamic attention has motivated the development of research to test music as a means to stimulate sensory, cognitive, and motor processes. (shrink)
This book offers a defense of the tensed theory of time, a critique of the New Theory of Reference, and an argument that simultaneity is absolute. Although Smith rejects ordinary language philosophy, he shows how it is possible to argue from the nature of language to the nature of reality. Specifically, he argues that semantic properties of tensed sentences are best explained by the hypothesis that they ascribe to events temporal properties of futurity, presentness, or pastness and do (...) not merely ascribe relations of earlier than or simultaneity. He criticizes the New Theory of Reference, which holds that "now" refers directly to a time and does not ascribe the property of presentness. Smith does not adopt the old or Fregean theory of reference but develops a third alternative, based on his detailed theory of de re and de dicto propositions and a theory of cognitive significance. He concludes the book with a lengthy critique of Einstein's theory of time. Smith offers a positive argument for absolute simultaneity based on his theory that all propositions exist in time. He shows how Einstein's relativist temporal concepts are reducible to a conjunction of absolutist temporal concepts and relativist nontemporal concepts of the observable behavior of light rays, rigid bodies, and the like. (shrink)
Quentin Smith offers powerful arguments against the New Theory of Reference propounded by leading thhinkers in the philosophy of language. Smith defends the tensed theory of time and argues that the simultaneity is absoltue, basing this position on the theory that all propositions exist in time. Using detailed propostitions and a theory of cognitive significance, he introduces an alternative interpretation of reference that will be relevant to metaphysicians, philosophers of science and philosophers of language and may come to (...) be recognised as the definitive statement on the tensed theory of time. (shrink)
This book considers how language can be appropriately theorized as both a natural and cultural phenomenon. In reaching his conclusion, Pateman draws on a wide range of work in linguistics, philosophy, and social theory, and argues in defense of Chomsky and against Wittgenstein, all within the framework of a realist philosophy of science and contemporary social theory.
It is a near truism of philosophy of language that sentences are prior to words--that they are the only things that fundamentally have meaning. Robert's Stainton's study interrogates this idea, drawing on a wide body of evidence to argue that speakers can and do use mere words, not sentences, to communicate complex thoughts.
These essays are intended to illustrate various ways in which ideas about language may be used to clarify philosophic problems. They contain careful interpretations and criticisms of theories of language.
The limit of language is one of the most pervasive notions found in Wittgenstein's work, both in his early Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and his later writings. Moreover, the idea of a limit of language is intimately related to important scholarly debates on Wittgenstein's philosophy, such as the debate between the so-called traditional and resolute interpretations, Wittgenstein's stance on transcendental idealism, and the philosophical import of Wittgenstein's latest work On Certainty. This collection includes thirteen original essays that provide a comprehensive (...) overview of the various ways in which Wittgenstein appeals to the limit of language at different stages of his philosophical development. The essays connect the idea of a limit of language to the most important themes discussed by Wittgenstein--his conception of logic and grammar, the method of philosophy, the nature of the subject, and the foundations of knowledge--as well as his views on ethics, aesthetics, and religion. The essays also relate Wittgenstein's thought to his contemporaries, including Carnap, Frege, Heidegger, Levinas, and Moore. (shrink)
We usually think about language and pain as opposites, the one being about expression and connection, the other destructive, "beyond words" so to speak, and isolating. Language Pangs challenges these familiar conceptions and offers a radical reconsideration of the relationship between pain and language in terms of an essential interconnectedness. Ilit Ferber's premise is that we cannot probe the experience of pain without taking account its inherent relation to language; and vice versa, that our understanding of (...) the nature of language essentially depends on how we take account of its correspondence with pain. Language Pangs brings together discussions of philosophical as well as literary texts, an intersection that is especially productive in considering the phenomenology of pain and its bearing on language. Ferber explores a phenomenology of pain and its relation to language, before providing a unique close reading of Johann Gottfried Herder's Treatise on the Origin of Language, the first modern philosophical text to consider language and pain, establishing the cry of pain as the origin of language. Herder also raises important claims regarding the relationship between human and animal, questions of sympathy and the role of hearing in the expression of pain. Beyond Herder, the book grapples with the work of other profound thinkers, including Martin Heidegger, Stanley Cavell, and André Gide, and finally, Sophocles, from them weaving new insights on the experience of pain, expression, sympathy, and hearing. (shrink)
In Rethinking Language Arts: Passion and Practice, Second Edition , author Nina Zaragoza uses the form of letters to her students to engage pre-service teachers in reevaluating teaching practices. Zaragoza discusses and explains the need for teachers to be decision-makers, reflective thinkers, political beings, and agents of social change in order to create a positive and inclusive classroom setting. This book is both a critical text that deconstructs the way language arts are traditionally taught in our schools as (...) well as a visionary text with clear, no-nonsense directions on how to provide much needed change in our schools. (shrink)
Large Language Models (LLMs) have been transformative. They are pre-trained foundational models that are self-supervised and can be adapted with fine tuning to a wide range of natural language tasks, each of which previously would have required a separate network model. This is one step closer to the extraordinary versatility of human language. GPT-3 and more recently LaMDA can carry on dialogs with humans on many topics after minimal priming with a few examples. However, there has been (...) a wide range of reactions and debate on whether these LLMs understand what they are saying or exhibit signs of intelligence. This high variance is exhibited in three interviews with LLMs reaching wildly different conclusions. A new possibility was uncovered that could explain this divergence. What appears to be intelligence in LLMs may in fact be a mirror that reflects the intelligence of the interviewer, a remarkable twist that could be considered a Reverse Turing Test. If so, then by studying interviews we may be learning more about the intelligence and beliefs of the interviewer than the intelligence of the LLMs. As LLMs become more capable they may transform the way we interact with machines and how they interact with each other. Increasingly, LLMs are being coupled with sensorimotor devices. LLMs can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk? A road map for achieving artificial general autonomy is outlined with seven major improvements inspired by brain systems. LLMs could be used to uncover new insights into brain function by downloading brain data during natural behaviors. (shrink)
The issue of language and alterity is a central concern in the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans‐Georg Gadamer. The key to the issue of language and alterity is to see exactly how language exists. In his discussion of language in Truth and Method and elsewhere, Gadamer is quick to point out that an instrumental view of language in which meaning functions in relation to a system of signs does not capture the way in which language (...) actually exists. The linguisticality of understanding that issues in communication means for Gadamer that through language there is the opening of shared life in which one is able to hear the voice of the other. While Gadamer refuses to characterize dialogical conversation in terms of intersubjectivity, he does employ a rich account of the interplay in dialogue in the language of an I‐thou relation. (shrink)
We review evidence that language is involved in the establishment and maintenance of adult categories of facial expressions of emotion. We argue that individual and group differences in facial expression interpretation are too great for a fully specified system of categories to be universal and hardwired. Variations in expression categorization, across individuals and groups, favor a model in which an initial “core” system recognizes only the grouping of positive versus negative emotional expressions. The subsequent development of a rich representational (...) structure may require the integration of a verbal categorization system with a perceptual processing system that is category-agnostic. Such a model may reconcile many strands of apparently conflicting behavioral, physiological, and neuroscience evidence concerning our understanding of facial expressions of emotion. (shrink)
This book defends a version of linguistic idealism, the thesis that the world is a product of language. In the course of defending this radical thesis, Gaskin addresses a wide range of topics in contemporary metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and syntax theory. Starting from the context and compositionality principles, and the idea of a systematic theory of meaning in the Tarski-Davidson tradition, Gaskin argues that the sentence is the primary unit of linguistic meaning, and that the (...) main aspects of meaning, sense and reference, are themselves theoretical posits. Ontology, which is correlative with reference, emerges as language-driven. This linguistic idealism is combined with a realism that accepts the objectivity of science, and it is accordingly distinguished from empirical pragmatism. Gaskin contends that there is a basic metaphysical level at which everything is expressible in language; but the vindication of linguistic idealism is nuanced inasmuch as there is also a derived level, asymmetrically dependant on the basic level, at which reality can break free of language and reach into the realms of the unnameable and indescribable. Language and World will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and linguistics. (shrink)
According to Bickerton, the behavioral sciences have failed to give an adequate account of human nature at least partly because of the conjunction and mutual reinforcement of two widespread beliefs: that language is simply a means of communication and that human intelligence is the result of the rapid growth and unusual size of human brains. Bickerton argues that each of the properties distinguishing human intelligence and consciousness from that of other animals can be shown to derive straightforwardly from properties (...) of language. In essence, language arose as a representational system, not a means of communication or a skill, and not a product of culture but an evolutionary adaptation. The author stresses the necessity of viewing intelligence in evolutionary terms, seeing it not as problem solving but as a way of maintaining homeostasis - the preservation of those conditions most favorable to an organism, the optimal achievable conditions for survival and well-being. The term protolanguage is used to describe the stringing together of symbols that prehuman hominids employed. "It did not allow them to turn today's imagination into tomorrow's fact. But it is just this power to transform imagination into fact that distinguishes human behavior from that of our ancestral species, and indeed from that of all other species. It is exactly what enables us to change our behavior, or invent vast ranges of new behavior, practically overnight, with no concomitant genetic changes." Language and Human Behavior should be of interest to anyone in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences and to all those concerned with the role of language in human behavior. (shrink)
Wittgenstein and Davidson are two of the most influential and controversial figures of twentieth-century philosophy. However, whereas Wittgenstein is often regarded as a deflationary philosopher, Davidson is considered to be a theory builder and systematic philosopher par excellence. Consequently, little work has been devoted to comparing their philosophies with each other. In this volume of new essays, leading scholars show that in fact there is much that the two share. By focusing on the similarities between Wittgenstein and Davidson, their essays (...) present compelling defences of their views and develop more coherent and convincing approaches than either philosopher was able to propose on his own. They show how philosophically fruitful and constructive reflection on Wittgenstein and Davidson continues to be, and how relevant the writings of both philosophers are to current debates in philosophy of mind, language, and action. (shrink)
For fifty years, Willard Van Orman Quine's books and articles have stimulated intense debate in the fields of logic and the philosophy of language. Many scholars in fact, regard Quine as the greatest living English-speaking philosopher; yet his views remain widely misunderstood and misinterpreted. This book provides the first major explication and defense of Quine's systematic philosophy and is ideally suited for use as a required or supplementary text in a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy (...) and linguistics.The book explores the far-reaching implications of Quine's views on language for contemporary analytic philosophy. It is unique in providing a lucid and rich description and reconstruction of the historical context from which Quine's work grew, focusing in particular on the role that Russell and Wittgenstein played in shaping the problems inherited by Quine. It presents Quine's difficult later views in an accessible fashion, bringing out as no other study has the very radical nature of his position. One of the book's highlights is its careful examination and assessment of Tarski's theory of truth as it relates to the traditions of Russell and Wittgenstein and to Quine's own philosophy.George D. Romanos took his Ph.D. in philosophy under George D. W. Berry and Paul T. Sagal at Boston University. This book grew out of his dissertation with the active criticism and support of Quine himself. (shrink)