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Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy

Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy

Other Titles in:
Linguistics (General)

August 1997 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Providing an account of major philosophical issues, this essential textbook bridges the gap between linguistics and the philosophy of language.

Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy presents the theories of leading linguistic analysts such as Wittgenstein, Frege, Russell, Carnap and Quine. Ian Mackenzie's exploration into these theories prepares readers for advanced work on most topics in semantics and the study of language. His approach to the philosophy of language stresses the importance of observing how language is used rather than assuming that it conforms to a pre-existing logical structure. In addition to dealing with foundational issues, such as truth, meaning and the nature of language, this book explores specific linguistic phenomena - descriptions, names, non-extensional contexts and quantification - which have attracted considerable philosophical attention.

The structure of the book reflects the fact that the philosophical study of language is not systematic, but centers on aspects of language which are considered to be of fundamental conceptual significance. As such, it need not be read in any specific order. Material presented that presupposes an understanding of another concept is cross-referenced.

Meaning and the Nature of Language
The Semantic Conception of Truth
Logical Truth and Analyticity
Names, Sense and Nominatum
The Causal Theory of Names
Description and Analysis
Descriptions as Names
Modal Contexts
Propositional Attitudes
Indefinite Noun Phrases
Fregean Quantifiers and Class Theory


There are many things this book excels at, and taken together with Lycan students have some of the most accesible chapters on contemporary linguistic philosophy I have seen. The best chapter here is the one on descriptions - I will await to see what student feedback is like, but I am hoping I have found the 'holy grail' of a chapter on Russell which does not pre-suppose an existing grounding in philosophical logic and notation.

Mr Jonathan Tulloch
Newham University Centre, Newham College of Further Education
April 16, 2013

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ISBN: 9780761901754
ISBN: 9780761901747

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