What is this thing called Philosophy of Language?

2nd Edition

Gary Kemp

Published December 22, 2017
Textbook - 242 Pages
ISBN 9781138225824 - CAT# Y308224
Series: What is this thing called?

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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.


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