The Meaning Of Language

by Martin, Savage

ISBN: 9780262535731 | Copyright 0

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A new edition of a comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of language, substantially updated and reorganized.

The philosophy of language aims to answer a broad range of questions about the nature of language, including “what is a language?” and “what is the source of meaning?” This accessible comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of language begins with the most basic properties of language and only then proceeds to the phenomenon of meaning. The second edition has been significantly expanded and reorganized, putting the original content in a contemporary context and offering substantial new material, with extended discussions and entirely new chapters.

After establishing the basics, the book discusses general criteria for an adequate theory of meaning, takes a first pass at describing meaning at an abstract level, and distinguishes between meaning and other related phenomena. Building on this, the book then addresses various specific theories of meaning, beginning with early foundational theories and proceeding to more contemporary ones. New to this edition are expanded discussions of Chomsky's work and compositional semantics, among other topics, and new chapters on such subjects as propositions, Montague grammar, and contemporary theories of language. Each chapter has technical terms in bold, followed by definitions, and offers a list of main points and suggested further readings. The book is suitable for use in undergraduate courses in philosophy and linguistics. Some background in philosophy is assumed, but knowledge of philosophy of language is not necessary.

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Contents (pg. v)
Preface and Acknowledgments (pg. xv)
MODULE 1: Introduction (pg. 1)
0 Readme: About This Book (pg. 3)
0.1 Overview of the Book (pg. 3)
0.2 Some Special Conventions (pg. 4)
1. Introduction to Language (pg. 7)
1.1 The Infinity Property (pg. 7)
1.2 Novelty (pg. 9)
1.3 The Implications of Infinity and Novelty (pg. 10)
1.4 Compositionality (pg. 11)
1.5 Propositions (pg. 12)
1.6 Concluding Remarks (pg. 13)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 13)
Glossary (pg. 14)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 14)
MODULE 2: Language Learning (pg. 17)
2. Grammar Nativism and Empiricism (pg. 19)
2.1 Empiricism about Our Knowledge of Grammar: The Behaviorist Account of Grammar Acquisition (pg. 19)
2.2 Objection to Behaviorism: Poverty of the Stimulus (pg. 20)
2.3 Responses to the Poverty of the Stimulus Argument (pg. 23)
2.4 Chomskyan Language-Acquisition Device (pg. 23)
2.5 The Anti-universality Objection (pg. 25)
2.6 The Immunity Objection (pg. 26)
2.7 The Alternative Hypothesis Objection (pg. 27)
2.8 Concluding Remarks (pg. 29)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 29)
Glossary (pg. 30)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 30)
3. The Language-Acquisition Mechanism (pg. 33)
3.1 General and Specific Innate Learning Mechanisms (pg. 33)
3.2 Limiting the Number of Hypotheses (pg. 36)
3.3 Cowie’s Empiricist View (pg. 37)
3.4 Stochastic Generalization (pg. 37)
3.5 Connectionism (pg. 39)
3.6 Constructivism (pg. 40)
3.7 Concluding Remarks (pg. 41)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 41)
Glossary (pg. 42)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 42)
4. Concept Nativism and Empiricism (pg. 45)
4.1 Concepts (pg. 46)
4.2 Fodor’s Nativism (pg. 48)
4.3 Empiricist Counterarguments (pg. 49)
4.4 Fodor’s Defense (pg. 51)
4.5 Concluding Remarks (pg. 53)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 53)
Glossary (pg. 54)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 54)
5. Quine on Language Acquisition (pg. 55)
5.1 The Radical Translator’s Job (pg. 55)
5.2 Why the Slate Isn’t Blank (pg. 60)
5.3 Quine’s Concessions to Nativism (pg. 63)
5.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 65)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 65)
Glossary (pg. 65)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 66)
MODULE 3: Syntax and Logical Form (pg. 67)
6. Phrase Structure Grammar (pg. 69)
6.1 Simple Phrase Structure Grammar (pg. 70)
6.2 Recursive Rules (pg. 72)
6.3 The Limits of Simple Phrase Structure Grammar (pg. 75)
6.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 76)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 76)
Glossary (pg. 76)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 77)
7. Transformational Grammar (pg. 79)
7.1 Transformational Grammar (pg. 79)
7.2 Difficulties for Transformational Grammar (pg. 80)
7.3 Generative and Universal Grammar (pg. 82)
7.4 Further Developments (pg. 83)
7.5 Concluding Remarks (pg. 84)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 84)
Glossary (pg. 85)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 86)
8. Logical Form: Sentences and Their Structural Types (pg. 87)
8.1 The Aristotelian Analysis (pg. 87)
8.2 Function and Argument (pg. 89)
8.3 The Existential Quantifier (pg. 91)
8.4 The Universal Quantifier (pg. 94)
8.5 Entailment and Other Matters (pg. 95)
8.6 Concluding Remarks (pg. 97)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 97)
Glossary (pg. 97)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 98)
9. Montague Grammar (pg. 99)
9.1 Taking a Longer View of the Mismatch Problem (pg. 99)
9.2 Montague’s Project and His Theoretical Commitments (pg. 101)
9.3 The Lambda Calculus (pg. 106)
9.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 112)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 112)
Glossary (pg. 113)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 113)
MODULE 4: Semantics (pg. 115)
10. Introducing Descriptivism and Millianism (pg. 117)
10.1 The Idea Theory (pg. 118)
10.2 Mill and Millianism (pg. 123)
10.3 Problems for Millianism (pg. 126)
10.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 130)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 130)
Glossary (pg. 131)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 132)
11. Two Influential Varieties of Descriptivism (pg. 135)
11.1 Frege’s “Senses” (pg. 135)
11.2 Frege on the Problems involving Proper Names (pg. 139)
11.3 Russell’s Descriptivism about Proper Names (pg. 141)
11.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 143)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 144)
Glossary (pg. 144)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 144)
12. Neo-Millianism (pg. 145)
12.1 Kripke on Proper Names (pg. 145)
12.2 Putnam on Natural Kinds (pg. 150)
12.3 Problems with Neo-Millianism (pg. 154)
12.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 156)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 157)
Glossary (pg. 158)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 158)
13. Verificationism (pg. 161)
13.1 Meaning as Verifiability (pg. 161)
13.2 Verification Conditions for Synthetic Sentences (pg. 163)
13.3 A Problem for Verificationism (pg. 166)
13.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 167)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 167)
Glossary (pg. 168)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 168)
14. Challenges for Verificationism (pg. 169)
14.1 Observability in Principle (pg. 169)
14.2 Indirect Confirmation and Meaning (pg. 170)
14.3 Verification and Confirmation (pg. 173)
14.4 Quine Contra Positivism (pg. 175)
14.5 Ethical Sentences (pg. 175)
14.6 Concluding Remarks (pg. 176)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 177)
Glossary (pg. 177)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 178)
15. Truth-Conditional Semantics (pg. 179)
15.1 Meaning as Truth Conditions (pg. 179)
15.2 Axioms of the Theory (pg. 181)
15.3 Inferences (pg. 183)
15.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 185)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 185)
Glossary (pg. 186)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 186)
16. Challenges for Truth-Conditional Semantics (pg. 189)
16.1 An Objection (pg. 189)
16.2 Davidson and Quine (pg. 192)
16.3 The Main Problem (pg. 195)
16.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 195)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 195)
Glossary (pg. 196)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 196)
17. Possible-Worlds Semantics (pg. 199)
17.1 Possible Worlds (pg. 199)
17.2 Standard Possible-Worlds Semantics (pg. 202)
17.3 Intensions of Predicates and Sentences (pg. 204)
17.4 The Modal Properties of Sentences (pg. 207)
17.5 Propositional Attitudes Revisited (pg. 211)
17.6 Concluding Remarks (pg. 212)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 212)
Glossary (pg. 212)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 214)
18. Challenges for Possible-Worlds Semantics (pg. 215)
18.1 A Problem: Cointensive Expressions (pg. 215)
18.2 Logical Truths (pg. 217)
18.3 Concluding Remarks (pg. 219)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 219)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 220)
19. Two-Dimensional Semantics (pg. 221)
19.1 Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics (pg. 221)
19.2 An Illustration of Two-Dimensional Intensions (pg. 223)
19.3 The Two-Dimensional Matrix (pg. 231)
19.4 The Two-Dimensional Intension for Sentences (pg. 233)
19.5 Concluding Remarks (pg. 236)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 236)
Glossary (pg. 237)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 238)
20. Challenges for Two-Dimensional Semantics (pg. 239)
20.1 The Big Picture and Solutions (pg. 239)
20.2 Residual Problems (pg. 243)
20.3 Concluding Remarks (pg. 246)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 247)
Glossary (pg. 248)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 248)
21. Meaning as Use (pg. 249)
21.1 Introducing Use Theory (pg. 249)
21.2 Language as a Toolkit (pg. 252)
21.3 Family Resemblance and Language Games (pg. 254)
21.4 The Big Picture (pg. 257)
21.5 Concluding Remarks (pg. 258)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 258)
Glossary (pg. 258)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 259)
22. Contemporary Use Theory (pg. 261)
22.1 Functional Characterizations (pg. 261)
22.2 The Role of Expressions (pg. 263)
22.3 Some Worries for Contemporary Use Theories (pg. 267)
22.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 270)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 270)
Glossary (pg. 270)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 270)
23. Quinean Skepticism (pg. 273)
23.1 The Insurmountable Problem (pg. 273)
23.2 Quine on Synonymy (pg. 278)
23.3 Concepts and Belief (pg. 282)
23.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 284)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 284)
Glossary (pg. 285)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 285)
MODULE 5: Pragmatics (pg. 287)
24. Near-Side Pragmatics: Indexicals (pg. 289)
24.1 Deictics: Indexicals and Demonstratives (pg. 289)
24.2 Is It Ambiguity (pg. 290)
24.3 A Description Theory for Indexicals (pg. 292)
24.4 Kaplan on Character and Content (pg. 296)
24.5 Concluding Remarks (pg. 299)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 299)
Glossary (pg. 300)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 300)
25. Near-Side Pragmatics:Demonstratives, Anaphora, Ellipsis (pg. 303)
25.1 Demonstratives (pg. 303)
25.2 Anaphora (pg. 305)
25.3 Ellipsis (pg. 307)
25.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 308)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 308)
Glossary (pg. 309)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 309)
26. Far-Side Pragmatics: Pragmatic Implication (pg. 311)
26.1 Beyond What’s Said (pg. 311)
26.2 Implication and Entailment (pg. 311)
26.3 Pragmatic Implication (pg. 313)
26.4 Presupposition (pg. 315)
26.5 Pragmatic versus Semantic Presupposition (pg. 317)
26.6 Concluding Remarks (pg. 318)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 319)
Glossary (pg. 319)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 319)
27. Far-Side Pragmatics: Conversational Implicature (pg. 321)
27.1 Grice’s Maxims (pg. 321)
27.2 The Maxim of Quantity (pg. 322)
27.3 The Maxim of Relation (pg. 324)
27.4 The Maxim of Quality (pg. 325)
27.5 The Maxim of Manner (pg. 325)
27.6 Concluding Remarks (pg. 326)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 326)
Glossary (pg. 326)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 327)
28. Far-Side Pragmatics: Speech Act Theory (pg. 329)
28.1 Levels of Action Description (pg. 329)
28.2 Doing Things with Words (pg. 330)
28.3 Intentions (pg. 334)
28.4 Force and Content (pg. 338)
28.5 Concluding Remarks (pg. 339)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 339)
Glossary (pg. 339)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 340)
29. Far-Side Pragmatics: When Speech Acts Go Wrong (pg. 341)
29.1 Misfires (pg. 341)
29.2 Abuses (pg. 343)
29.3 Speech Acts and Truth Values (pg. 345)
29.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 348)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 348)
Glossary (pg. 349)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 349)
MODULE 6: Normativity (pg. 351)
30. Is Language Governed by Rules (pg. 353)
30.1 A Martian Attends a Football Game (pg. 353)
30.2 Are There Rules of Language (pg. 355)
30.3 Rules Are Officially Enacted, Inscribed, and Well-KnownGuides to Behavior (pg. 356)
30.4 Rules Are Directive (pg. 358)
30.5 Breaking a Rule Has Consequences (pg. 360)
30.6 Rule-Fittingversus Rule-Guided Behavior (pg. 360)
30.7 Knowing How to Go On (pg. 361)
30.8 Concluding Remarks (pg. 362)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 363)
Glossary (pg. 363)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 363)
31. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (pg. 365)
31.1 The Private Language Argument (pg. 365)
31.2 A Trip to the Zoo (pg. 367)
31.3 Concluding Remarks (pg. 371)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 371)
Glossary (pg. 371)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 371)
32. Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Skepticism (pg. 373)
32.1 Kripkenstein on Rules (pg. 373)
32.2 A Further Kripkensteinian Argument (pg. 375)
32.3 Social Practices and Rules (pg. 376)
32.4 Concluding Remarks (pg. 377)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 377)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 377)
33. Linguistic Conventions (pg. 379)
33.1 Coordination Problems and Their Solutions (pg. 379)
33.2 Conventions (pg. 381)
33.3 Conventional Signaling (pg. 383)
33.4 Conventions and Normativity (pg. 385)
33.5 Conventional Behavior as Consciously Motivated Action (pg. 387)
33.6 How Many Linguistic Conventions Are There? (pg. 388)
33.7 Concluding Remarks (pg. 388)
Main Points to Remember (pg. 389)
Glossary (pg. 389)
References and Suggested Readings (pg. 390)
Index (pg. 391)

Robert M. Martin

Robert M. Martin is Professor of Philosophy (retired) at Dalhousie University, Halifax.

Heidi Savage

Heidi Savage is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies at SUNY Geneseo.

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