What is this thing called Philosophy of Language?: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

What is this thing called Philosophy of Language?

2nd Edition

By Gary Kemp

© 2018 – Routledge

242 pages

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Description

Philosophy of language explores some of the most abstract yet most fundamental questions in philosophy. The ideas of some of the subject's great founding figures, such as Gottlob Frege, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell, as well as of more recent figures such as Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam, are central to a great many philosophical debates to this day. 

In this clear and carefully structured introduction to the subject Gary Kemp explains the following key topics:

  • the basic nature of philosophy of language, its concepts, and its historical development
  • Frege’s theory of sense and reference; Russell's theory of definite descriptions 
  • Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Ayer, and the Logical Positivists
  • recent perspectives including Kripke, Kaplan and Putnam; arguments concerning necessity, indexicals, rigid designation and natural kinds
  • The pragmatics of language, including speech-acts, presupposition and conversational implicature
  • Davidson’s theory of language, the ‘principle of charity’, and the indeterminacy of interpretation
  • puzzles surrounding the propositional attitudes (sentences which ascribe beliefs to people)
  • Quine’s naturalism and its consequences for philosophy of language.
  • The challenges presented by the later Wittgenstein
  • Contemporary directions, including contextualism, fictional objects and the phenomenon of slurs

This second edition has been thoroughly revised to include new key topics and updated material. Chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of language and will be particularly useful for students coming to the subject for the first time.

Reviews

'This book is an outstanding pedagogical tool, which will be useful to anyone looking to gain a foothold in the subject. The second edition, which features new chapters on key figures, prominent topics, and recent developments in the field, is a substantial and welcome development of the excellent first edition.’

Brett Sherman, University of South Carolina, USA.

‘Will become the standard textbook for survey courses in the philosophy of language’.

Ernest Lepore, Rutgers University, USA.

Praise for the first edition:

'To my mind this is the best introductory textbook for undergraduates looking to get a feel for the subject, without getting bogged down in advanced technical details. Gary Kemp covers all the traditional topics in the field and presents them in an accessible, engaging, and always rigorous style. Appended to each chapter are useful historical notes, a summary, a few questions, and some bibliographical recommendations for further research - a complete set of study aids that ought to be welcomed by students and teachers alike.' - Stefano Predelli, University of Nottingham, UK

'An easy, step by step journey through the classic themes of twentieth-century philosophy of language.' - François Recanati, Institut Jean Nicod, France

'Kemp has written a genuine introduction to the philosophy of language with beginning students in mind. Focusing on the issue of the meaning of natural language, he begins with a naive and, for students, very natural view of linguistic meaning. He then motivates and explains the distinctions, problems, solutions and development of the philosophy of language with the patience and understanding of a master teacher.' - Michael Losonsky, Colorado State University, USA

Table of Contents

Contents

List of figures and tables

Preface

Introduction

1 eight preparatory notes

2 cognitive meaning and expressive meaning

3 meaning and force

4 context-dependence

5 the roles of propositions

6 compositionality, structure and understanding

note

1 Naïve semantics and the language of logic

1 naïve theory: singular terms, predicates and reference

2 truth and meaning for atomic sentences

3 logical syntax and logical operators

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

notes

2 Fregean semantics

1 two problems for naïve semantics

2 the sense-reference distinction

3 the distinction extended

4 compositionality again; the reference of a sentence

5 applying the theory

6 substitutivity and extensionality

7 the analysis of propositional attitudes

8 the objectivity of sense

9 predicate reference and the concept horse problem

10 further discussion: the context principle

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

notes

3 Russellian semantics

1 the task for russell

2 the theory of definite descriptions

3 Applying the theory of descriptions

4 names as disguised definite descriptions

5 knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

notes

4 Russell’s Theory of Judgement, The Early Wittgenstein, and Logical Positivism

  1. propositions, facts, and russell’s theory of judgement
  2. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
  3. verificationism i: ayer
  4. verificationism ii: carnap’s logical empiricism
  5. the vienna circle and the protocol debate

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

notes

5 Kripke on naming and necessity

1 necessity, possibility and possible worlds: a primer

2 the descriptivist paradigm

3 kripke’s objections to the description theory of proper names

4 rigid designation

5 fixing the reference i: causal chains

6 fixing the reference ii: descriptions

7 lingering issues from russell and frege

8 further discussion: intensional semantics

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

notes

6 Context dependence, indexicality and natural kinds

1 indexicals and demonstratives

2 putnam on natural kind terms and essence

3 is meaning in the head?

4 the actual world as a context

5 two-dimensionalism: context of utterance versus circumstance of evaluation

6 further discussion: rigid designation again

7 the indispensability of indexicals

8 indexicals and fregean sense

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

note

7 Pragmatics

1 mood and force revisited

2 speech act theory

3 implicature

4 some applications of the concept of implicature

5 presupposition; strawson’s and donnellan’s objections to russell’s theory of descriptions

6 metaphor

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

note

8 The propositional attitudes

1 extensionality revisited

2 referential opacity and frege on the attitudes

3 further discussion: multiple hyper-intensional embedding

4 de re and de dicto necessity

5 de re and de dicto belief

6 ralph’s predicament

7 belief attributions and explicit indexicals; belief de se

8 an implicit indexical element

9 direct reference, the attitudes, and the semantic de re

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

notes

9 Davidson’s philosophy of language

1 methodology

2 the general form of a theory of meaning

3 the exact form of a theory of meaning

4 the empirical confirmation of a theory of meaning: radical interpretation

5 the principle of charity and the interdependence of belief and meaning

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

notes

10 Quine’s philosophy of language

1 quine’s naturalism

2 the jungle linguist

3 indeterminacy

4 meaning and analytic truth

5 the argument of ‘two dogmas of empiricism’

6 quine proposes replacement, not analysis

7 the place of naturalism

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

11 The Late Wittgenstein

1 language games

2 family resemblance, tools and cities

3 to follow a rule i

4 to follow a rule ii

5 private language

historical notes

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

12 Modern directions

  1. assertion
  2. context-relativity
  3. fictional objects
  4. inferentialism
  5. slurs

chapter summary

study questions

primary reading

secondary reading

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

Gary Kemp is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, UK. He has authored or edited various books and articles in the Philosophy of language, including Quine versus Davidson: Truth, Reference and Meaning.

About the Series

What is this thing called?

The Routledge Philosophy What is this thing called? series of concise textbooks have been designed for use by students coming to a core area of the discipline for the first time. Each volume explores the relevant central questions with clear explanation of complex ideas and engaging contemporary examples. Features to aid study include text boxes, chapter summaries, study questions, further reading and glossaries.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHI000000
PHILOSOPHY / General