In this new book, the author of the classic Truth presents an original theory of meaning, demonstrates its richness, and defends it against all contenders. He surveys the diversity of twentieth-century philosophical insights into meaning and shows that his theory can reconcile these with a common-sense view of meaning as derived from use. Meaning and its companion volume Truth (now published in a revised edition) together demystify two central issues in philosophy and offer a controversial but (...) compelling view of the relations between language, thought, and reality. (shrink)
The profound changes in personality, mood, and other features of the self that neural interventions can induce can be disconcerting to patients, their families, and caregivers. In the neuroethical debate, these concerns are often addressed in the context of possible threats to the narrative self. In this paper, I argue that it is necessary to consider a dimension of impacts on the narrative self which has so far been neglected: neural interventions can lead to a loss of meaning of (...) actions, feelings, beliefs, and other intentional elements of our self-narratives. To uphold the coherence of the self-narrative, the changes induced by neural interventions need to be accounted for through explanations in intentional or biochemical terms. However, only an explanation including intentional states delivers the content to directly ascribe personal meaning, i.e., subjective value to events. Neural interventions can deprive events of meaning because they may favor a predominantly biochemical account. A loss of meaning is not inherently negative but it can be problematic, particularly if events are affected one was not prepared or willing to have stripped of meaning. The paper further examines what it is about neural interventions that impacts meaning by analyzing different methods. To which degree the pull towards a biochemical view occurs depends on the characteristics of the neural intervention. By comparing Deep Brain Stimulation, Prozac, Ritalin, psychedelics, and psychotherapy, the paper identifies some main factors: the rate of change, the transparency of the causal chain, the involvement of the patient, and the presence of an acute phenomenological experience. (shrink)
In _The Meaning of the Body_, Mark Johnson continues his pioneering work on the exciting connections between cognitive science, language, and meaning first begun in the classic _Metaphors We Live By_. Johnson uses recent research into infant psychology to show how the body generates meaning even before self-consciousness has fully developed. From there he turns to cognitive neuroscience to further explore the bodily origins of meaning, thought, and language and examines the many dimensions of meaning—including (...) images, qualities, emotions, and metaphors—that are all rooted in the body’s physical encounters with the world. Drawing on the psychology of art and pragmatist philosophy, Johnson argues that all of these aspects of meaning-making are fundamentally aesthetic. He concludes that the arts are the culmination of human attempts to find meaning and that studying the aesthetic dimensions of our experience is crucial to unlocking meaning's bodily sources. Throughout, Johnson puts forth a bold new conception of the mind rooted in the understanding that philosophy will matter to nonphilosophers only if it is built on a visceral connection to the world. “Mark Johnson demonstrates that the aesthetic and emotional aspects of meaning are fundamental—central to conceptual meaning and reason, and that the arts show meaning-making in its fullest realization. If you were raised with the idea that art and emotion were external to ideas and reason, you must read this book. It grounds philosophy in our most visceral experience.”—George Lakoff, author of _Moral Politics_. (shrink)
Most people, including philosophers, tend to classify human motives as falling into one of two categories: the egoistic or the altruistic, the self-interested or the moral. According to Susan Wolf, however, much of what motivates us does not comfortably fit into this scheme. Often we act neither for our own sake nor out of duty or an impersonal concern for the world. Rather, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love--and it is these (...) actions that give meaning to our lives. Wolf makes a compelling case that, along with happiness and morality, this kind of meaningfulness constitutes a distinctive dimension of a good life. Written in a lively and engaging style, and full of provocative examples, Meaning in Life and Why It Matters is a profound and original reflection on a subject of permanent human concern. (shrink)
In this important new collection, Gilbert Harman presents a selection of fifteen interconnected essays on fundamental issues at the center of analytic philosophy. The book opens with a group of four essays discussing basic principles of reasoning and rationality. The next three essays argue against the once popular idea that certain claims are true and knowable by virtue of meaning. In the third group of essays Harman presents his own view of meaning and the possibility of thinking in (...) language The final three essays investigate the nature of mind, developing further the themes already set out. Reasoning, Meaning, and Mind offers an integrated presentation of this rich and influential body of work. which Harman has developed over thirty years. (shrink)
First published in 1978, this reissue presents a seminal philosophical work by professor Putnam, in which he puts forward a conception of knowledge which makes ethics, practical knowledge and non-mathematic parts of the social sciences just as much parts of 'knowledge' as the sciences themselves. He also rejects the idea that knowledge can be demarcated from non-knowledge by the fact that the former alone adheres to 'the scientific method'. The first part of the book consists of Professor Putnam's John Locke (...) lectures, delivered at the University of Oxford in 1976, offering a detailed examination of a 'physicalist' theory of reference against a background of the works of Tarski, Carnap, Popper, Hempel and Kant. The analysis then extends to notions of truth, the character of linguistic enquiry and social scientific enquiry in general, interconnecting with the great metaphysical problem of realism, the nature of language and reference, and the character of ourselves. (shrink)
What makes a person's life meaningful? Thaddeus Metz offers a new answer to an ancient question which has recently returned to the philosophical agenda. He proceeds by examining what, if anything, all the conditions that make a life meaningful have in common. The outcome of this process is a philosophical theory of meaning in life. He starts by evaluating existing theories in terms of the classic triad of the good, the true, and the beautiful. He considers whether meaning (...) in life might be about such principles as fulfilling God's purpose, obtaining reward in an afterlife for having been virtuous, being attracted to what merits attraction, leaving the world a better place, connecting to organic unity, or transcending oneself by connecting to what is extensive. He argues that no extant principle satisfactorily accounts for the three-fold significance of morality, enquiry, and creativity, and that the most promising theory is a fresh one according to which meaning in life is a matter of intelligence contoured toward fundamental conditions of human existence. (shrink)
Preface 1 Introduction: The Persistence of the Attitudes 2 Individualism and Supervenience 3 Meaning Holism 4 Meaning and the World Order Epilogue Creation Myth Appendix Why There Still Has to be a Language of Thought Notes References Author Index.
This self-contained introduction to natural language semantics addresses the majortheoretical questions in the field. The authors introduce the systematic study of linguistic meaningthrough a sequence of formal tools and their linguistic applications. Starting with propositionalconnectives and truth conditions, the book moves to quantification and binding, intensionality andtense, and so on. To set their approach in a broader perspective, the authors also explore theinteraction of meaning with context and use (the semantics-pragmatics interface) and address some ofthe foundational questions, especially in (...) connection with cognition in general. They also introducea few of the most accessible and interesting ideas from recent research to give the reader a bit ofthe flavor of current work in semantics. The organization of this new edition is modular; after theintroductory chapters, the remaining material can be covered in flexible order. The book presupposesno background in formal logic (an appendix introduces the basic notions of set theory) and only aminimal acquaintance with linguistics. This edition includes a substantial amount of completely newmaterial and has been not only updated but redesigned throughout to enhance itsuser-friendliness. (shrink)
Mark Richard presents an original theory of meaning, as the collection of assumptions speakers make in using it and expect their hearers to recognize as being made. Meaning is spread across a population, inherited by each new generation of speakers from the last, and evolving through the interactions of speakers with their environment.
Wayne Davis presents a highly original approach to the foundations of semantics, showing how the so-called "expression" theory of meaning can handle names and other problematic cases of nondescriptive meaning. The fact that thoughts have parts ("ideas" or "concepts") is fundamental: Davis argues that like other unstructured words, names mean what they do because they are conventionally used to express atomic or basic ideas. In the process he shows that many pillars of contemporary philosophical semantics, from twin earth (...) arguments to the necessity of identity, are unfounded. (shrink)
This book radically simplifies Montague Semantics and generalizes the theory by basing it on a partial higher order logic. The resulting theory is a synthesis of Montague Semantics and Situation Semantics. In the late sixties Richard Montague developed the revolutionary idea that we can understand the concept of meaning in ordinary languages much in the same way as we understand the semantics of logical languages. Unfortunately, however, he formalized his idea in an unnecessarily complex way - two outstanding researchers (...) in the field even compared his work to a `Rube Goldberg machine.' Muskens' work does away with such unnecessary complexities, obtains a streamlined version of the theory, shows how partialising the theory automatically provides us with the most central concepts of Situation Semantics, and offers a simple logical treatment of propositional attitude verbs, perception verbs and proper names. (shrink)
To develop this theory, Karl Löwith—beginning with the more accessible philosophies of history in the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries and working back to the Bible—analyzes the writings of outstanding historians both in antiquity ...
An e-book devoted to 13 critical discussions of Thaddeus Metz's book "Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study", with a lengthy reply from the author. -/- Preface Masahiro Morioka i -/- Précis of Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study Thaddeus Metz ii-vi -/- Source and Bearer: Metz on the Pure Part-Life View of Meaning Hasko von Kriegstein 1-18 -/- Fundamentality and Extradimensional Final Value David Matheson 19-32 -/- Meaningful and More Meaningful: A Modest Measure Peter Baumann 33-49 -/- (...) Is Meaning in Life Comparable?: From the Viewpoint of ‘The Heart of Meaning in Life’ Masahiro Morioka 50-65 -/- Agreement and Sympathy: On Metz’s Meaning in Life Sho Yamaguchi 66-89 -/- Metz’s Quest for the Holy Grail James Tartaglia 90-111 -/- Meaning without Ego Christopher Ketcham 112-133 -/- Death and the Meaning of Life: A Critical Study of Metz’s Meaning in Life Fumitake Yoshizawa 134-149 -/- Metz’ Incoherence Objection: Some Epistemological Considerations Nicholas Waghorn 150-168 -/- Meaning in Consequences Mark Wells 169-179 -/- Defending the Purpose Theory of Meaning in Life Jason Poettcker 180-207 -/- Review of Thaddeus Metz’s Meaning in Life Minao Kukita 208-214 -/- A Psychological Model to Determine Meaning in Life and Meaning of Life Yu Urata 215-227 -/- Assessing Lives, Giving Supernaturalism Its Due, and Capturing Naturalism: Reply to 13 Critics of Meaning in Life Thaddeus Metz 228-278 . (shrink)
This philosophical treatise on the foundations of semantics is a systematic effort to clarify, deepen, and defend the classical doctrine that words are conventional signs of mental states, principally thoughts and ideas, and that meaning consists in their expression. This expression theory of meaning is developed by carrying out the Gricean program, explaining what it is for words to have meaning in terms of speaker meaning, and what it is for a speaker to mean something in (...) terms of intention. But Grice's own formulations are rejected and alternatives developed. The foundations of the expression theory are explored at length, and the author develops the theory of thought as a fundamental cognitive phenomenon distinct from belief and desire, argues for the thesis that thoughts have parts, and identifies ideas or concepts with parts of thoughts. This book will appeal to students and professionals interested in the philosophy of language. (shrink)
The world would be a very different place if it were not for Albert Einstein. Like Newton and Galileo before him, this remarkable scientist changed forever mankind's understanding of the universe. In 1921, five years after proclaiming his general theory of relativity, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in recognition of his remarkable achievements. In the same year he travelled to the United States to give four lectures that consolidated his theory and sought to explain its meaning (...) to a new audience. These lectures were published the following year as _The Meaning of Relativity_, which he revised with each new edition until his death. It remains a key work for anyone wishing to discover at first hand the workings of one of the most inspiring minds of the twentieth century. (shrink)
The Meaning of Life and the Great Philosophers reveals how great philosophers of the past sought to answer the question of the meaning of life. This edited collection includes thirty-five chapters which each focus on a major figure, from Confucius to Rorty, and that imaginatively engage with the topic from their perspective. This volume also contains a Postscript on the historical origins and original significance of the phrase 'the meaning of life'.
The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited, stimulating, and quirky enquiry, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer. Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers--from Marx and Schopenhauer to Shakespeare, Sartre, and Beckett--have responded to the ultimate question of meaning. He suggests, however, that it (...) is only in modern times that the question has become problematic. But instead of tackling it head-on, many of us cope with the feelings of meaninglessness in our lives by filling them with everything from football to sex, Kabbala, Scientology, "New Age softheadedness," or fundamentalism. On the other hand, Eagleton notes, many educated people believe that life is an evolutionary accident that has no intrinsic meaning. If our lives have meaning, it is something with which we manage to invest them, not something with which they come ready made. Eagleton probes this view of meaning as a kind of private enterprise, and concludes that it fails to holds up. He argues instead that the meaning of life is not a solution to a problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical but ethical. It is not something separate from life, but what makes it worth living--that is, a certain quality, depth, abundance and intensity of life. Here then is a brilliant discussion of the problem of meaning by a leading thinker, who writes with a light and often irreverent touch, but with a very serious end in mind. "If you were to ask what provides some meaning in life nowadays for a great many people, especially men, you could do worse than reply 'football.' Not many of them perhaps would be willing to admit as much; but sport stands in for all those noble causes--religious faith, national sovereignty, personal honor, ethnic identity--for which, over the centuries, people have been prepared to go to their deaths. It is sport, not religion, which is now the opium of the people.". (shrink)
The concepts of meaning and mental content resist naturalistic analysis. This is because they are normative: they depend on ideas of how things ought to be. Allan Gibbard offers an expressivist explanation of these 'oughts': he borrows devices from metaethics to illuminate deep problems at the heart of the philosophy of language and thought.
This study presents and develops in detail (a new version of) the argumental conception of meaning. The two basic principles of the argumental conception of meaning are: i) To know (implicitly) the sense of a word is to know (implicitly) all the argumentation rules concerning that word; ii) To know the sense of a sentence is to know the syntactic structure of that sentence and to know the senses of the words occurring in it. The sense of a (...) sentence is called immediate argumental role of that sentence. According to the argumental conception of meaning a theory of meaning for a particular language yields a systematic specification of the understanding of every sentence of the language which consists in a specification of the immediate argumental role of the sentence. The immediate argumental role is a particular aspect of the use of a sentence in arguments. But it is not the whole use in arguments, nor is the whole use in arguments reducible to the immediate argumental role. That is why, by accepting the argumental conception of meaning, we can have epistemological holism without linguistic holism. The argumental conception distinguishes between the understanding and the correctness of a language. Such a distinction makes it possible to account for our understanding of paradoxical languages. Redundancy theory of truth, realistic conceptions of truth or epistemic conceptions of truth are all compatible with an argumental conception of sense. But here it is argued that an epistemic conception of truth is preferrable. Acceptance of the argumental conception of meaning and of an epistemic conception of truth leads to a rejection of the idea of analytic truth. The argumental conception is pluralistic with respect to the understandability of different logics, and neutral with respect to their correctness. (shrink)
Does human life have meaning? Ever since Darwin, there has been great skepticism about whether a "meaning of life" was possible outside of religious belief. Is it possible to find meaning in human life? Philosopher of science Michael Ruse examines the question of meaning in life within Darwinian views of human nature. He argues that meaning in the Darwinian age can be found if we turn to a kind of Darwinian existentialism, seeing our evolved human (...) nature as the source of all meaning, both in the intellectual and social worlds. (shrink)
Paul Horwich's main aim in Reflections on Meaning is to explain how mere noises, marks, gestures, and mental symbols are able to capture the world--that is, how words and sentences (in whatever medium) come to mean what they do, to stand for certain things, to be true or false of reality. His answer is a groundbreaking development of Wittgenstein's idea that the meaning of a term is nothing more than its use. While the chapters here have appeared as (...) individual essays, Horwich has edited them to make a continuous argument, focused on articulating and developing an important new conception of language. (shrink)
This book aids in the rehabilitation of the wrongfully deprecated work of William Parry, and is the only full-length investigation into Parry-type propositional logics. A central tenet of the monograph is that the sheer diversity of the contexts in which the mereological analogy emerges – its effervescence with respect to fields ranging from metaphysics to computer programming – provides compelling evidence that the study of logics of analytic implication can be instrumental in identifying connections between topics that would otherwise remain (...) hidden. More concretely, the book identifies and discusses a host of cases in which analytic implication can play an important role in revealing distinct problems to be facets of a larger, cross-disciplinary problem. It introduces an element of constancy and cohesion that has previously been absent in a regrettably fractured field, shoring up those who are sympathetic to the worth of mereological analogy. Moreover, it generates new interest in the field by illustrating a wide range of interesting features present in such logics – and highlighting these features to appeal to researchers in many fields. (shrink)
One of the most influential men of his time, philosopher, psychologist, educator, and author William James (1842-1910) helped lead the transition from a predominantly European-centered nineteenth-century philosophy to a new "pragmatic" American philosophy. Helping to pave the way was his seminal book Pragmatism (1907), in which he included a chapter on "Truth," an essay which provoked severe criticism. In response, he wrote the present work, an attempt to bring together all he had ever written on the theory of knowledge, including (...) an article on the function of cognition, later polemic and expository contributions, and some replies to previous criticism. The result was a full and definitive expression of the pragmatist "epistemology" from James' point of view. In the book, he urges the reader to "turn away from abstractions, verbal solutions, fixed principles, and pretended absolutes and look for concreteness and facts, action and power," arguing that "the ultimate test for us of what a truth means is the conduct it dictates or inspires." For students, scholars--anyone interested in William James or the history of American philosophical thought--this book offers an in-depth exposition of the influential ideas of one of the greatest American thinkers. Unabridged republication of the edition originally published by Longmans, Green and Co., New York and London, 1909. (shrink)
David Charles presents a major new study of Aristotle's views on meaning, essence, necessity, and related topics. These interconnected views are central to Aristotle's metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science, and are also highly relevant to current philosophical debates. Charles aims to reach a clear understanding of Aristotle's claims and arguments, to assess their truth, and to evaluate their importance to ancient and modern philosophy.
The revival of Aristotelian virtue ethics can be seen as a response to the modern problem of disenchantment, that is, the perceived loss of meaning in modernity. However, in Virtue and Meaning, David McPherson contends that the dominant approach still embraces an overly disenchanted view. In a wide-ranging discussion, McPherson argues for a more fully re-enchanted perspective that gives better recognition to the meanings by which we live and after which we seek, and to the fact that human (...) beings are the meaning-seeking animal. In doing so, he defends distinctive accounts of the relationship between virtue and happiness, other-regarding demands, and the significance of linking neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics with a view of the meaning of life and a spiritual life where contemplation has a central role. This book will be valuable for philosophers and other readers who are interested in virtue ethics and the perennial question of the meaning of life. (shrink)
The word 'ought' is one of the core normative terms, but it is also a modal word. In this book Matthew Chrisman develops a careful account of the semantics of 'ought' as a modal operator, and uses this to motivate a novel inferentialist account of why ought-sentences have the meaning that they have. This is a metanormative account that agrees with traditional descriptivist theories in metaethics that specifying the truth-conditions of normative sentences is a central part of the explanation (...) of their meaning. But Chrisman argues that this leaves important metasemantic questions about what it is in virtue of which ought-sentences have the meanings that they have unanswered. His appeal to inferentialism aims to provide a viable anti-descriptivist but also anti-expressivist answer to these questions. (shrink)
This article discusses recent theories of the meaning of generics. The discussion is centred on how the theories differ in their approach to addressing the primary difficulty in providing a theory of generic meaning: The notoriously complex ways in which the truth conditions of generics seem to vary. In addition, the article summarizes considerations for and against each theory.
For a century at least, parties have been central to the study of politics. Yet their typical conceptual reduction to a network of power-seeking elites has left many to wonder why parties were ever thought crucial to democracy. This book seeks to retrieve a richer conception of partisanship, drawing on modern political thought and extending it in the light of contemporary democratic theory and practice. Looking beyond the party as organization, the book develops an original account of what it is (...) to be a partisan. It examines the ideas, orientations, obligations, and practices constitutive of partisanship properly understood, and how these intersect with the core features of democratic life. Such an account serves to underline in distinctive fashion why democracy needs its partisans, and puts in relief some of the key trends of contemporary politics. (shrink)
Presenting a landmark in linguistics and cognitive science, Ray Jackendoff proposes a new holistic theory of the relation between the sounds, structure, and meaning of language and their relation to mind and brain. Foundations of Language exhibits the most fundamental new thinking in linguistics since Noam Chomsky's Aspects of the Theory of Syntax in 1965—yet is readable, stylish, and accessible to a wide readership. Along the way it provides new insights on the evolution of language, thought, and communication.
This book develops an alternative approach to sentence- and word-meaning, which I dub the speech-act theoretic approach, or STA. Instead of employing the syntactic and semantic forms of modern logic–principally, quantification theory–to construct semantic theories, STA employs speech-act structures. The structures it employs are those postulated by a novel theory of speech-acts. STA develops a compositional semantics in which surface grammar is integrated with semantic interpretation in a way not allowed by standard quantification-based theories. It provides a pragmatic theory (...) of truth, a treatment of logically complex discourse as expressive cognitive states, and a background metaphysics in which the world is a totality of logically simple states of affairs. The book also puts forward an account of how intentional states provide the simple, representational foundation for a superstructure of speech-act structures–a system of thoughts–that far outruns the expressive power of the intentional foundation. In short, it provides an account of cognitive foundations of a language and a naturalistic reduction of semantics through an expressive theory of semantic norms. (shrink)
The primary units of meaning in the use and comprehension of language are speech acts of the type called illocutionary acts. In Foundations of Illocutionary Logic John Searle and Daniel Vanderveken presented the first formalized logic of a general theory of speech acts. In Meaning and Speech Acts Daniel Vanderveken further develops the logic of speech acts and the logic of propositions to construct a general semantic theory of natural languages. Volume I, Principles of Language Use, explains the (...) general principles that connect meaning, reason, thought and speech acts in the semantic structure of language. It presupposes no detailed knowledge of logical formalism, and will be accessible to a large readership of students and scholars from philosophy, lingustics, cognitive psychology and computer science. Volume II, Formal Semantics of Success and Satisfaction uses the resources of philosophical and mathematical logics to develop a formalization of the laws of the semantic theory advanced in Volume I. It will be of interest to theoretical linguists and those involved in mathematical logic and artificial intelligence. (shrink)
This book offers a semantic and metasemantic inquiry into the representation of meaning in linguistic interaction. Kasia Jaszczolt offers a new contextualist take on the semantics/pragmatics boundary, and argues that this is the only promising stance on meaning. This approach allows the selection of the cognitively plausible object of enquiry - namely the intended, primary meaning - and its adoption as a unit of semantic analysis despite the varying provenance of the contributing information. The analysis transcends the (...) said/implicated distinction and heavily relies on the dynamic construction of meaning in discourse, using truth conditions as a tool and at the same time conforming to pragmatic compositionality. Meaning in Linguistic Interaction builds on the author's earlier work on Default Semantics, and adds new arguments in favour of radical contextualism, particularly with regard to the role of salience, the dynamic nature of the unit that forms a basis of the interpretation process, and the flexibility of word meaning. It is illustrated with examples from a variety of languages and offers formal representations of meaning in the metalanguage of Default Semantics. (shrink)
As humans, we want to live meaningfully, yet we are often driven by impulse. In Religion and the Meaning of Life, Williams investigates this paradox – one with profound implications. Delving into felt realities pertinent to meaning, such as boredom, trauma, suicide, denial of death, and indifference, Williams describes ways to acquire meaning and potential obstacles to its acquisition. This book is unique in its willingness to transcend a more secular stance and explore how one's belief in (...) God may be relevant to life's meaning. Religion and the Meaning of Life's interdisciplinary approach makes it useful to philosophers, religious studies scholars, psychologists, students, and general readers alike. The insights from this book have profound real-world applications – they can transform how readers search for meaning and, consequently, how readers see and exist in the world. (shrink)
This fresh look at the philosophy of language focuses on the interface between a theory of literal meaning and pragmatics--a philosophical examination of the relationship between meaning and language use and its contexts. Here, Atlas develops the contrast between verbal ambiguity and verbal generality, works out a detailed theory of conversational inference using the work of Paul Grice on Implicature as a starting point, and gives an account of their interface as an example of the relationship between Chomsky's (...) Internalist Semantics and Language Performance. Atlas then discusses consequences of his theory of the Interface for the distinction between metaphorical and literal language, for Grice's account of meaning, for the Analytic/Synthetic distinction, for Meaning Holism, and for Formal Semantics of Natural Language. This book makes an important contribution to the philosophy of language and will appeal to philosophers, linguists, and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
Translation from German to English by Daniel Fidel Ferrer -/- What Does it Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking? -/- German title: "Was heißt: sich im Denken orientieren?" -/- Published: October 1786, Königsberg in Prussia, Germany. By Immanuel Kant (Born in 1724 and died in 1804) -/- Translation into English by Daniel Fidel Ferrer (March, 17, 2014). The day of Holi in India in 2014. -/- From 1774 to about 1800, there were three intense philosophical and theological controversies underway in (...) Germany, namely: Fragments Controversy, the Pantheism Controversy, and the Atheism Controversy. Kant’s essay translated here is Kant’s respond to the Pantheism Controversy. During this period (1770-1800), there was the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Urge (stress)) movement with thinkers like Johann Hamann, Johann Herder, Friedrich Schiller, and Johann Goethe; who were against the cultural movement of the Enlightenment (Aufklärung). Kant was on the side of Enlightenment (see his Answer the Question: What is Enlightenment? 1784). -/- What Does it Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking? / By Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). [Was heißt: sich im Denken orientieren? English]. (shrink)
This study examines the relationship between thought and language by considering the views of Kant and the later Wittgenstein along with many strands of contemporary debate in the area of mental content. Building on an analysis of the nature of concepts and conceptions of objects, Gillett provides an account of psychological explanation and the subject of experience, offers a novel perspective on mental representation and linguistic meaning, looks at the difficult topics of cognitive roles and singular thought, and concludes (...) with an outline of certain considerations relevant to skeptical arguments and the nature of perception. The resulting synthesis demonstrates interesting correlations with current work in cognitive and developmental psychology, and is directly relevant to continuing work in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophical psychology. (shrink)
In this book, Scott Soames argues that the revolution in the study of language and mind that has taken place since the late nineteenth century must be rethought. The central insight in the reigning tradition is that propositions are representational. To know the meaning of a sentence or the content of a belief requires knowing which things it represents as being which ways, and therefore knowing what the world must be like if it is to conform to how the (...) sentence or belief represents it. These are truth conditions of the sentence or belief. But meanings and representational contents are not truth conditions, and there is more to propositions than representational content. In addition to imposing conditions the world must satisfy if it is to be true, a proposition may also impose conditions on minds that entertain it. The study of mind and language cannot advance further without a conception of propositions that allows them to have contents of both of these sorts. Soames provides it. He does so by arguing that propositions are repeatable, purely representational cognitive acts or operations that represent the world as being a certain way, while requiring minds that perform them to satisfy certain cognitive conditions. Because they have these two types of content—one facing the world and one facing the mind—pairs of propositions can be representationally identical but cognitively distinct. Using this breakthrough, Soames offers new solutions to several of the most perplexing problems in the philosophy of language and mind. (shrink)
The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited Very Short Introduction, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer. Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers--from Marx and Schopenhauer to Shakespeare, Sartre, and Beckett--have responded to the ultimate question of meaning. He suggests, however, that it is (...) only in modern times that the question has become problematic. But instead of tackling it head-on, many of us cope with the feelings of meaninglessness in our lives by filling them with everything from football to sex, Kabbala, Scientology, "New Age softheadedness," or fundamentalism. On the other hand, Eagleton notes, many educated people believe that life is an evolutionary accident that has no intrinsic meaning. If our lives have meaning, it is something with which we manage to invest them, not something with which they come ready made. Eagleton probes this view of meaning as a kind of private enterprise, and concludes that it fails to holds up. He argues instead that the meaning of life is not a solution to a problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical but ethical. It is not something separate from life, but what makes it worth living--that is, a certain quality, depth, abundance and intensity of life. Here then is a brilliant discussion of the problem of meaning by a leading thinker, who writes with a light and often irreverent touch, but with a very serious end in mind. (shrink)
Is life meaningless? Does life have enough meaning to make it feel worthwhile? If we think our lives lack meaning, what can we do about it? Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World answers these and other difficult questions, while confronting head-on famous, recurrent theories that insist on life's meaninglessness. Landau shows us how to single out what is meaningful, explains why we sometimes fail to recognize meaning, and suggests ways in which we can resensitize ourselves to (...) it. (shrink)