A Companion to the Philosophy of Language
Hale (Bob) & Wright (Crispin), Eds.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Synopsis

  1. Written by an international assembly of leading philosophers, this volume provides a survey of contemporary philosophy of language. As well as providing a synoptic view of the key issues, figures, concepts and debates, each essay makes new and original contributions to ongoing debate.
  2. Topics covered include:
    → rule following,
    → modality,
    → realism,
    → indeterminacy of translation,
    → inscrutability of reference,
    → names and rigid destination,
    → Davidson's programme,
    → meaning and verification,
    → intention and convention,
    → radical interpretation,
    → tacit knowledge,
    → metaphor,
    → causal theories of semantics,
    → objects and criteria of identity,
    → theories of truth,
    → force and pragmatics,
    → essentialism,
    → demonstratives,
    → reference and necessity,
    → identity,
    → meaning and privacy of language,
    → vagueness and the sorites paradox,
    → holisms,
    → propositional attitudes,
    → analyticity.

BOOK COMMENT:

Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2001 reprint



"Avramides (Anita) - Intention and Convention"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Boghossian (Paul) - Analyticity"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Craig (Edward) - Meaning and Privacy"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Forbes (Graeme) - Essentialism"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Hale (Bob) - Modality"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language


Author’s Introduction1
  1. The notions of necessity and possibility, of what must be so and what may be so, and the derivative notion of contingency – of what is so but might be otherwise – are ones which very few philosophers find themselves able to do without. It is, to take one arguably fundamental case, hard to see how an adequate explanation of the notion of valid argument, as distinct from that of proof in a specified formal system, might run, save in terms of the idea that the conclusion must be true if the premisses are.
  2. Even those vigorously sceptical of modal2 notions seem unable to voice their scepticism without recourse to them. When Quine denies that there are any statements immune from empirical revision – any necessarily true statements, as he construes the notion – he is not claiming that any statement accepted at any time is one which we will at some time in fact reject; what he is denying is the existence of statements which we could not be led to reject.
  3. It is difficult to see how his scepticism about necessity could be so much as expressed without employing the notion of possibility. And once a notion of possibility has been granted house-room, the intelligibility of a correlative notion of necessity can hardly be denied.
  4. It thus appears that philosophical scepticism about necessity must, if it is not to fall into incoherence, take the form of denying the existence of truths having that character, rather than rejecting the notion altogether. That is not, of course, to deny that the notions of necessity and possibility stand in much need of elucidation: on the contrary, it is surely a central task of a philosophy of modality3 to provide an account of them.




In-Page Footnotes ("Hale (Bob) - Modality")

Footnote 1: Section 1.1: “The importance of modal notions”.



"Hale (Bob) - Realism and Its Oppositions"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language


Author’s Introduction
  1. In many branches of philosophy, dealing with very different areas of our thought and talk, there occur disputes centred on the tenability of positions described as 'realist'. In the philosophy of science, realism stands opposed to various forms of instrumentalism; mathematical realists, often known as Platonists, are opposed in one way by nominalists, in another by constructivists; moral realists contend with subjectivist tendencies, such as expressivism and projectivism, as well as with error theories; in the theory of meaning itself, realism is under attack from positions which hold that meaning must be explained in terms which preserve an essential link between what we mean and evidence, as well as from meaning-sceptical arguments advanced by W.V. Quine, Saul Kripke and others.
  2. See:-
  3. It is scarcely obvious that there is some single type of issue at stake in these disputes (henceforth R/AR disputes), or that there is at least some significant continuity between them. The very diversity of the positions set against realism in these different areas might of itself be thought to point towards the opposite conclusion: that realism amounts to different things in the different cases, so that any attempt at general discussion is doomed to failure. It is not obvious, either, that the various disputes have anything much to do with the philosophy of language, or that there is any reason to expect arguments in the philosophy of language to play a significant part in their resolution.
  4. Against these dampening thoughts may be set – besides the feeling that it is unlikely to be sheer coincidence that the same label is applied to completely disparate positions with no significant similarities whatever – at least two reasons why philosophers of language may properly take an interest in general questions about realism and the forms which opposition to it may assume.
    1. First, and most obviously, there is a R/AR dispute (or disputes) within the philosophy of language itself, centered on the tenability of realist theories of meaning. At the very least, it might be expected that scrutiny of R/AR disputes in other areas may illuminate the issues here, if only through contrasts rather than parallels.
    2. But second, and more importantly, the notion that debates about other realisms – in science, mathematics, or other areas – may proceed unaffected by arguments in the philosophy of language overlooks the possibility that a successful anti-realist argument in the theory of meaning may ramify into other disputed areas (see "Hale (Bob) - Rule-following, Objectivity and Meaning", section 3.)
  5. Plan:-
    • We begin (§ 1) with an examination of Michael Dummett's influential treatment of these issues, which couples an attempt to identify a common form exemplified by a large, if not exhaustive, range of R/AR disputes with important arguments against a realist position about meaning which - if they are sound, and Dummett's diagnosis of what is at stake in those disputes is correct - promise to resolve the issue in the anti-realist's favour, not only in the theory of meaning itself, but across the board.
    • We then (§ 2) survey the principal negative arguments, advanced by Dummett and others, for semantic anti-realism.
    • In § 3, we turn to the wider question of the bearing of these arguments on R/AR disputes more generally, and review doubts about the adequacy of Dummett's general conception of their common form.
    • Other ways in which the anti-realist case may be prosecuted are reviewed in § 4: classical reductionist positions: error theories: expressivist / projectivist options and quasi-realism; and
    • We conclude (§ 5) with a brief examination of the new perspective on R/AR disputes advocated in recent work by Crispin Wright.



"Hale (Bob) - Rule-following, Objectivity and Meaning"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Hale (Bob) & Wright (Crispin) - Putnam's Model-theoretic Argument Against Metaphysical Realism"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Heal (Jane) - Radical Interpretation"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Loewer (Barry) - A Guide to Naturalizing Semantics"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Lowe (E.J.) - Objects and Criteria of Identity"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language


Author’s Introduction (Full Text)
    • 'Object' and 'criterion of identity' are philosophical terms of art whose application is at a considerable theoretical remove from the surface phenomena of everyday linguistic usage. This partly explains their highly controversial status, for their point of application lies precisely where the concerns of linguists and philosophers of language merge with those of metaphysicians.
    • The degree of controversy concerning these terms has indeed prompted some scepticism as to their utility (see, for example, "Strawson (Peter) - Entity and Identity", 1976), but a less pessimistic response would be to try to exercise greater care and discrimination in their use (cf. "Lowe (E.J.) - What Is a Criterion Of Identity?", 1989). Both terms are undeniably slippery, especially 'object'.
    • Our concern will be with the sense of 'object' in which it is interchangeable with 'thing', but it is important to see that this only coincides with a restricted sense of 'thing'. For we seem to use the word 'thing' in both a narrow and a broad sense, the former associated with the free-standing use of the word and the latter with its use in combination with quantifying adjectives to form unitary quantifier expressions like 'something' and 'everything' (cf. R. Teichmann, Abstract Entities, 1992, pp. 15-16 and 166-7).
    • The difference is brought out by reflecting on the two non-equivalent sentences 'Every thing is a thing', which is trivially true, and 'Everything is a thing', which is metaphysically controversial. (The first sentence means 'Everything which is a thing is a thing', and is trivial in just the way as 'Every horse is a horse' is trivial: the second sentence, by contrast, is controversial in rather the way that 'Everything is a horse' would be.)
    • As we shall see, some philosophical answers to the question 'What is a thing?'' effectively ignore or deny this distinction. My own view is that the distinction is indeed a genuine one, and that it is the narrower sense of 'thing' that is ontologically significant.
    • What is crucial to the status of 'thinghood' in this narrower sense is, I consider, the possession of determinate identity-conditions (see section 3 below). This is where the notion of a 'thing" or 'object' ties in with that of a criterion of identity, for one guarantee that something possesses determinate identity-conditions is that it falls under a general concept which supplies a definite criterion of identity for its instances. (Such a concept may be classed as a 'sortal1'.)
    • As I have already implied, the term 'criterion of identity' is, unfortunately, itself the subject of considerable dispute. One problem is that candidates for this title typically take one or other of two quite different logical forms, whose difference turns on the mode of reference they involve to the objects for whose identity they provide a criterion (see section 5).
    • Some objects are such that a canonical mode of reference to them by functional expressions of a quite specific kind is available. For instance, to use a famous example of Frege's ("Frege (Gottlob), Austin (J.L.) - The Foundations of Arithmetic", 1953, pp. 74f.) a particular direction may be canonically referred to as the direction of a particular line. (Any expression like this, of the form 'the F of x', may be called a functional expression.) In this particular case the object in question is, of course, not a physical but a geometrical one, and this fact may encourage the thought that it is a peculiarity of those objects for which a functional mode of reference is canonical that they are in some sense abstract objects, with logico-mathematical objects like directions, shapes, numbers and sets providing paradigm examples (cf. "Dummett (Michael) - Frege, Philosophy of Language", 1981, p. 481).
    • However, as we shall see, the distinction between ‘abstract’ and 'concrete' objects is itself a highly controversial one, and although it has been argued that this distinction turns ultimately upon differences between the criteria of identity governing objects of these two broad categories (see section 10), it certainly does not appear to be simply related to the distinction between those criteria which do and those which do not involve functional modes of reference to the objects they concern. (For one thing, we have indisputably 'abstract' objects like sets, for which a criterion of identity is available which does not involve a functional mode of reference to them.)
    • My own view, I should say, is that the distinction I have alluded to between the two types of identity criteria is not at root, one of fundamental philosophical importance, in the sense of reflecting any basic metaphysical, semantic or epistemological distinction between the categories of objects to which they apply.
    • This being so, however, one might expect to be able to supplant one or other type of criterion by the other, and I shall indeed try to show how such an expectation may be satisfied in specific cases (see sections 7 and 8).
    • Of course, the very existence of abstract objects is itself a matter of considerable philosophical controversy, though it would be inappropriate to engage in it here (but see further Bob Hale, Abstract Objects, 1987, and Teichmann, 1992, for very contrasting views).
    • However, one should at least be clear as to what is meant by ‘abstract object’ before one debates whether or not anything answers to that description. The putative examples I have so far mentioned – all of them logico-mathematical – are at least provided with clear-cut and unimpeachable criteria of identity: but other putative examples like propositions, facts and properties do not appear to be so favoured
    • This puts pressure on the idea that propositions and the like possess determinate identity-conditions at all, and correspondingly that they qualify as ‘objects’ or 'things' (in my narrow sense). That may seem no great loss, until we come to reflect that we can, ostensibly at least, quantify over and refer to propositions, facts and properties.
    • However, perhaps we can plausibly represent such ‘qualification’ and 'reference' as convenient facons de parler, capable of being paraphrased away innocuously. I think that is correct, despite the fact that the strategy of paraphrastic elimination is one which must be handled with a good deal of caution, as we shall see (section 3).
    • But before we can tackle such issues, we need to examine the role which criteria of identity play in our talk about objects of the least controversial varieties.

Sections
  1. Introduction
  2. Sortals2 and Counting
  3. What is an Object
  4. Frege on Concepts and Objects
  5. Two Forms of Identity Criterion
  6. The Logical Status and Role of Identity Criteria
  7. One-level Versus Two-level Identity Criteria
  8. On the Identity of Cardinal Numbers
  9. Cardinal Numbers and Counting
  10. Abstract and Concrete Objects
  11. The paradoxes of Identity Over Time
    Appendix: Informal Proof of (N2)



"Miller (Alexander) - Tacit Knowledge"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Moran (Richard) - Metaphor"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Noonan (Harold) - Relative Identity"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language


Author’s Introduction (Full Text)
    • A piece of bronze is shaped into a statue1 of Napoleon and then some time later melted down and shaped into a statue2 of Winston Churchill. Thus the same piece of bronze is. at different times, different statues3.
    • A ship built entirely of timber undergoes over time a process of repair and replacement of parts so that eventually not a plank of the original ship remains. Thus the same ship is at different times two completely different collections of planks.
    • Dr Jekyll drinks his potion and transforms himself into Mr Hyde. Thus the same man, at different times, is two different persons or personalities.
    • I ask you to count the number of animals in the local zoo; you unable to do so without further instruction since the zoo contains several individuals of the same species: Tiger Tim is the same species of animal as Tiger Tom, but a different member of the species.
    • According to the doctrine of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are the same God, but three different Persons.
    • These examples suggest that in a variety of circumstances one and the same A can be different Bs, and hence that there is some sort of incompleteness or indefiniteness in the unqualified statement that x and y are the same, which needs to be eliminated by answering the question 'the same what?'
  1. I shall first set out Geach's views under six headings:
    • (1) the non-existence of absolute identity,
    • (2) the sortal5 relativity of identity,
    • (3) the derelativization thesis,
    • (4) the counting thesis,
    • (5) the thesis of the irreducibility of restricted quantification and
    • (6) the name 'for' an A / name 'of’ an A distinction.
  2. I shall then look at the main arguments given by Geach and his opponents with regard to (1), (2) and (3), which are the core of his position. I begin with thesis (1).

Sections
  1. Introduction
  2. The Non-existence of Absolute Identity
  3. The Sortal6 Relativity of Identity
  4. The Derelativization Thesis
  5. The Counting Thesis
  6. The Irreducibility of Restricted Quantification
  7. The ‘Name for A’ / ‘Name of A’ Distinction
  8. Geach Versus Quine: A Baroque Meinongian Ontology
  9. Cats, Rivers and Heralds
  10. Substantival Terms and the Derelativization Thesis



"Peacocke (Christopher) - Holism"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Perry (John) - Indexicals and Demonstratives"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Richard (Mark) - Propositional Attitudes"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Sainsbury (Mark) & Williamson (Timothy) - Sorites"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Skorupski (John) - Meaning, Use, Verification"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language


Author’s Introduction
  1. Language has been the focus of the analytic tradition in twentieth-century philosophy. A good deal of that philosophizing about language has drawn its inspiration from a simple-sounding idea: to understand a word is to know how to use it. The formulation is particularly associated with Wittgenstein. But the idea itself has had immensely wide influence. It was important in logical empiricism - the empiricism of Vienna in the thirties - and also in ordinary language philosophy in Oxford after the Second World War. It can be traced to the nineteenth century: for example, one might see it as a central feature of Peirce's pragmatist conception of meaning, or as a generalization on the reflections of philosophically minded mathematicians and scientists, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, about the meaning of scientific and mathematical calculi. (Notable among many were Mach, Poincare and Hilbert.) From the idea that use exhausts meaning important consequences have seemed to flow: the elimination of metaphysics, the dissolution of sceptical paradoxes - the pseudo-problematic nature of certain classical philosophical questions.
  2. This essay will not trace the nineteenth- and twentieth-century sources of the idea. Nor will it examine the question of its grand philosophical implications, though these possible implications are of major importance. Our task here will be simply to assess the idea itself. We shall examine how it leads to a distinctive conception of meaning which I will call the 'epistemic conception' (1.3-5). Verificationism, an influential doctrine about meaning associated with Vienna Circle, may be presented as a special case of this conception: 2.1-3 will consider what verificationism is, its difficulties, and whether there can be a non-verificationist but still epistemic conception of meaning. In 3.1-2 I will argue that important insights contained in the epistemic conception can be retained even if we treat them as insights about the normative nature of concepts rather than as insights about the form of language-rules. And I will consider the effect of doing this on an influential doctrine whose modern form is closely associated with the epistemic conception of meaning - the doctrine that the a priori is the analytic.



"Stalnaker (Robert) - Reference and Necessity"

Source: Stalnaker - Ways a World Might Be, Chapter 9


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. This paper explores the relationship between theses and questions about reference, necessity, and possibility.
  2. The analysis focuses on the theses Saul Kripke defends about individuals and their names. It is argued that Kripke's contribution was to separate metaphysical and semantic issues. Kripke's theses on proper names and reference do not presuppose any controversial metaphysical theories.
  3. No metaphysical conclusions are derived from theses about reference and names, although clarifications on the nature of reference helps in rebuttals to arguments against metaphysical theses that Kripke defends.


COMMENT:



"Stanley (Jason) - Names and Rigid Designation"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Travis (Charles) - Pragmatics"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Walker (Ralph) - Theories of Truth"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Wiggins (David) - Meaning and Truth Conditions: From Frege's Grand Design To Davidson's"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



"Wright (Crispin) - The Indeterminacy of Translation"

Source: Hale & Wright - A Companion to the Philosophy of Language



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