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  • Philosophy of language

    Philosophy of language

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    • Philosophers of language

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    • Ambiguity

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    • Ancient Greek philosophy of language

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    • Concepts

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    • Connotation

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    • Deconstruction

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    • Definition

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    • Evolution of language

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    • Indian linguistic philosophy

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    • Interpretation (philosophy)

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    • Linguistic turn

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    • Meaning (philosophy of language)

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    • Ordinary language philosophy

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    • Philosophy of language literature

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    • Pragmatics

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    • Reference

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    • Semantics

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    • Semiotics

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    • Syntax

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    • Theories of language

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    • Index of philosophy of language articles

    • This is an index of articles in philosophy of language ... Read »


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    • Philosophy of language

    • Philosophy of language seeks to understand the relationship between language and reality. Major topics in philosophy of language are the nature of meaning, intentionality, reference, the constitution of sentences, learning, and thought. First and foremost, philosophers of language prioritize their inquiry on the natur ... Read »


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    • A posteriori necessity

    • A posteriori necessity is a thesis in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, that some statements of which we must acquire knowledge a posteriori are also necessarily true. It challenges previously widespread belief that only a priori knowledge can be necessary. It draws on a number of philosophical concepts such ... Read »


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    • Alphabet of human thought

    • The alphabet of human thought is a concept originally proposed by Gottfried Leibniz that provides a universal way to represent and analyze ideas and relationships by breaking down their component pieces. All ideas are compounded from a very small number of simple ideas which can be represented by a unique character. ... Read »


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    • Analytic–synthetic distinction


    • The Analytical Language of John Wilkins

    • The Analytical Language of John Wilkins

      "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins" (Spanish: El idioma analitico de John Wilkins) is a short essay by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges originally published in Otras Inquisiciones (1937–1952). It is a critique of the English natural philosopher and writer John Wilkins's proposal for a universal language an ... Read »


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    • Applicative universal grammar

    • Applicative universal grammar, or AUG, is a universal semantic metalanguage intended for studying the semantic processes in particular languages. This is a linguistic theory that views the formation of phrase in a form that is analogous to function application in an applicative programming language. ... Read »


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    • Argumentation ethics

    • Argumentation ethics is a libertarian political theory developed in 1988 by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a Professor Emeritus with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Business and Ludwig von Mises Institute Senior Fellow. Argumentation ethics aims to prove that arguing for any ethical position other than libertarian ... Read »


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    • Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society

    • Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society

      Institute Vienna Circle The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society was first established in 1974 to promote philosophical conferences, workshops, summer schools, and research that are inspired by the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. It is an international society, which also has a publication series. ... Read »


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    • Calculus ratiocinator

    • The Calculus ratiocinator is a theoretical universal logical calculation framework, a concept described in the writings of Gottfried Leibniz, usually paired with his more frequently mentioned characteristica universalis, a universal conceptual language. There are two contrasting points of view on what Leibniz mean ... Read »


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    • Category mistake

    • A category mistake, or category error, or categorical mistake, or mistake of category, is a semantic or ontological error in which things belonging to a particular category are presented as if they belong to a different category, or, alternatively, a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that pro ... Read »


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    • Cognitive synonymy

    • Cognitive synonymy is a type of synonymy in which synonyms are so similar in meaning that they cannot be differentiated either denotatively or connotatively, that is, not even by mental associations, connotations, emotive responses, and poetic value. It is a stricter (more precise) technical definition of synonymy, spe ... Read »


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    • Concatenation theory

    • Concatenation theory, also called string theory, character-string theory, or theoretical syntax, studies character strings over finite alphabets of characters, signs, symbols, or marks. String theory is foundational for formal linguistics, computer science, logic, and metamathematics especially proof theory. A generati ... Read »


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    • Concept

    • A concept is an abstract idea representing the fundamental characteristics of what it represents. Concepts arise as abstractions or generalisations from experience or the result of a transformation of existing ideas. The concept is by all of its actual or potential instances, whether these are things in the real world ... Read »


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    • Concept and object

    • In the philosophy of language, the distinction between concept and object is attributable to the German philosopher Gottlob Frege. According to Frege, any sentence that expresses a singular thought consists of an expression (a proper name or a general term plus the definite article) that signifies an Object together w ... Read »


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    • Condition (philosophy)

    • Comprehensive treatment of the word "condition" requires emphasizing that it is ambiguous in the sense of having multiple normal meanings and that its meanings are often vague in the sense of admitting borderline cases. According to the 2007 American Philosophy: an Encyclopedia, in one widely used sense, conditions ar ... Read »


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    • Context principle

    • In the philosophy of language, the context principle is a form of semantic holism holding that a philosopher should "never ... ask for the meaning of a word in isolation, but only in the context of a proposition" (Frege [1884/1980] x). The context principle is one of Gottlob Frege's "three fundamental principles" ... Read »


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    • Cooperative principle

    • In social science generally and linguistics specifically, the cooperative principle describes how effective communication in conversation is achieved in common social situations, that is, how listeners and speakers must act cooperatively and mutually accept one another to be understood in a particular way. As phrased b ... Read »


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    • De dicto and de re

    • De dicto and de re are two phrases used to mark a distinction in intentional statements, associated with the intentional operators in many such statements. The distinction is used regularly in metaphysics and in philosophy of language. The literal translation of the phrase "de dicto" is "about what is said", whereas d ... Read »


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    • De se

    • De se is Latin for "of oneself" and, in philosophy, it is a phrase used to mark off what some believe to be a category of ascription distinct from "de dicto and de re". A sentence such as: "Peter thinks that he is pale" where the pronoun "he" is meant to refer to Peter is ambiguous in a way not captured by the de dict ... Read »


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    • Deconstruction

    • Deconstruction is a name commonly associated with philosopher Jacques Derrida's critical outlook over the relationship between text and meaning. Derrida's approach consists in conducting readings of texts with an ear to what runs counter to the structural unity or intended sense of a particular text. The purpose is to ... Read »


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    • Definite description

    • A definite description is a denoting phrase in the form of "the X" where X is a noun-phrase or a singular common noun. The definite description is proper if X applies to a unique individual or object. For example: "the first person in space" and "the 42nd President of the United States of America", are proper. The defi ... Read »


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    • Definition

    • A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols). Definitions can be classified into two large categories, intensional definitions (which try to give the essence of a term) and extensional definitions (which proceed by listing the objects that a term describes). Another imp ... Read »


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    • Denotation

    • Denotation is a translation of a sign to its meaning, precisely to its meaning, more or less like dictionaries try to define it. Denotation is sometimes contrasted to connotation, which translates a sign to its associated meanings. In logic, linguistics and semiotics, the denotation of a word or phrase is a part ... Read »


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    • Dialog act

    • A dialog act is a specialized speech act. For example, Question is a speech act, but Question_on_hotel is a dialog act. Dialog acts are different in different dialog systems. The number of speech acts are commonly recognized, and is stable around 10 or so, the number of dialog acts vary from systems to systems. In some ... Read »


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    • Direction of fit

    • The technical term direction-of-fit is used to describe the distinctions that are offered by two related sets of opposing terms: In philosophy of mind, a belief has a mind-to-world direction of fit. A belief (that p, say) depicts the world as being in a state of affairs such that p is true. Beliefs, some philosoph ... Read »


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    • Discourse ethics

    • Discourse ethics refers to a type of argument that attempts to establish normative or ethical truths by examining the presuppositions of discourse. Variations of this argument have been used in the establishment of egalitarian ethics, as well as libertarian ethics. German philosophers Jürgen Habermas and Karl-O ... Read »


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    • Disquotational principle

    • The disquotational principle is a philosophical theorem which holds that a rational speaker will accept "p" if and only if he or she believes p. The quotes indicate that the statement p is being treated as a sentence, and not as a proposition. This principle is presupposed by claims that hold that substitution fails in ... Read »


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    • Double articulation

    • In linguistics, the term double articulation, first introduced by the French linguist André Martinet, or duality of patterning refers to the way in which the stream of speech can be divided into meaningful signs, which can be further subdivided into meaningless elements. So for example, the meaningful English word " ... Read »


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    • Empty name

    • In the philosophy of language, an empty name is a proper name that has no referent. The problem of empty names is that empty names have a meaning that it seems they shouldn't have. The name "Pegasus" is empty; there is nothing to which it refers. Yet, though there is no Pegasus, we know what the sentence "Pegasus has ... Read »


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    • Exemplification

    • Exemplification, in the philosophy of language, is a mode of symbolization characterized by the relation between a sample and what it refers to. Unlike ostension, which is the act of showing or pointing to a sample, exemplification is possession of a property plus reference to its label (Goodman, 1976). For exampl ... Read »


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    • Extensional context

    • In philosophy of language, a context in which a sub-sentential expression e appears is called extensional if and only if e can be replaced by an expression with the same extension and necessarily preserve truth-value. The extension of a term is the set of objects that that term denotes. Take the case of Clark Kent, wh ... Read »


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    • Extensionalism

    • Extensionalism, in the philosophy of language, in logic and semantics, is the view that all languages or at least all scientific languages should be extensional. Rudolf Carnap (in his earlier work) and Willard Van Orman Quine were prominent proponents of this view. ... Read »


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    • Failure to refer

    • According to the Russellian theory of reference, the statement “Long John Silver has a wooden leg” and the statement “Earth's moon has a diameter of 2856 kilometers” are both false. The first statement suffers reference failure, because it fails to pick out an individual in the actual world. The ... Read »


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    • Family resemblance

    • Family resemblance (German: Familienähnlichkeit) is a philosophical idea made popular by Ludwig Wittgenstein, with the best known exposition given in his posthumously published book Philosophical Investigations (1953). It argues that things which could be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may i ... Read »


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    • Felicity conditions

    • In J. L. Austin's formulation of speech act theory, a performative utterance is neither true nor false, but can instead be deemed "felicitous" or "infelicitous" according to a set of conditions whose interpretation differs depending on whether the utterance in question is a declaration ("I sentence you to death"), a re ... Read »


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    • Figurae

    • Figurae (singular, figura) are the non-signifying constituents of signifiers (signs). For example, letters of the alphabet are the figurae that comprise a written word (signifier). In the semiotic language of Louis Hjelmslev, the coiner of this term, figurae serve only to distinguish elements (e.g. words) of the expres ... Read »


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    • Frege's Puzzle


    • Function and Concept

    • "Function and Concept" (German: Über Funktion und Begriff, "On Function and Concept") is an article by Gottlob Frege, published in 1891. The article involves a clarification of his earlier distinction between concepts and objects. In general, a concept is a function whose value is always a truth value (139). A rela ... Read »


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    • Genus–differentia definition


    • Hesperus

    • In Greek mythology, Hesperus /ˈhɛspərᵿs/ (Ancient Greek: Ἓσπερος Hesperos) is the Evening Star, the planet Venus in the evening. He is the son of the dawn goddess Eos (Roman Aurora) and is the half-brother of her other son, Phosphorus (also called Eosphorus; the "Morning Star"). ... Read »


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    • Holophrastic indeterminacy

    • Holophrastic indeterminacy, or indeterminacy of sentence translation, is one of two kinds of indeterminacy of translation to appear in the writings of philosopher W. V. O. Quine. According to Quine, "there is more than one correct method of translating sentences where the two translations differ not merely in the meani ... Read »


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    • Hopi time controversy

    • The Hopi time controversy is the academic debate about how the Hopi language grammaticalizes the concept of time, and about whether the differences between the ways the English and Hopi languages describe time are an example of linguistic relativity or not. In popular discourse the debate is often framed as a question ... Read »


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    • Illocutionary act

    • The concept of illocutionary acts was introduced into linguistics by the philosopher John L. Austin in his investigation of the various aspects of speech acts. In Austin's framework, locution is what was said, illocution is what was meant, and perlocution is what happened as a result. For example, when somebody says "I ... Read »


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    • Indeterminacy (philosophy)

    • Indeterminacy, in philosophy, can refer both to common scientific and mathematical concepts of uncertainty and their implications and to another kind of indeterminacy deriving from the nature of definition or meaning. It is related to deconstructionism and to Nietzsche's criticism of the Kantian noumenon. The prob ... Read »


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    • Indeterminacy of translation

    • The indeterminacy of translation is a thesis propounded by 20th-century American analytic philosopher W. V. Quine. The classic statement of this thesis can be found in his 1960 book Word and Object, which gathered together and refined much of Quine's previous work on subjects other than formal logic and set theory. The ... Read »


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    • Inferential role semantics

    • Inferential role semantics (also conceptual role semantics, functional role semantics, procedural semantics, inferentialism) is an approach to the theory of meaning that identifies the meaning of an expression with its relationship to other expressions, typically its inferential relations with other expressions. Propon ... Read »


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    • Innateness hypothesis

    • The innateness hypothesis is an expression coined by Hilary Putnam to refer to a linguistic theory of language acquisition which holds that at least some knowledge about language exists in humans at birth. This hypothesis supports linguistic nativism and was first proposed by Noam Chomsky. Facts about the complexity of ... Read »


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    • Inscrutability of reference

    • The inscrutability or indeterminacy of reference (also indeterminacy of reference, or referential inscrutability) is a thesis propounded by 20th century analytic philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine in his book Word and Object. The main claim of this theory is that any given sentence can be changed into a variety of oth ... Read »


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    • International Wittgenstein Symposium

    • International Wittgenstein Symposium

      The International Wittgenstein Symposium is an international conference dedicated to the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and its relationship to philosophy and science. It is sponsored by the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. In 1976, the International Wittgenstein Symposium was founded by Elisabeth Leinfellner, W ... Read »


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    • Interpretation (logic)

    • An interpretation is an assignment of meaning to the symbols of a formal language. Many formal languages used in mathematics, logic, and theoretical computer science are defined in solely syntactic terms, and as such do not have any meaning until they are given some interpretation. The general study of interpretations ... Read »


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    • The Khovansky Foundation

    • The Khovansky Foundation

      The Khovansky Foundation (Russian: Фонд Хованского) is a non-profit organization, founded in Voronezh in 1899. It is financed by funds ownership and donations from the citizens and associations. The motto of the foundation are the words of A. A. Khovansky: “The treasu ... Read »


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    • Language-game (philosophy)

    • A language-game (German: Sprachspiel) is a philosophical concept developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein, referring to simple examples of language use and the actions into which the language is woven. In his work, Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein regularly referred to the concept of language-games. Wittg ... Read »


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    • Level of detail (writing)

    • Level of detail in writing, sometimes known as level of abstraction, refers to three concepts: the precision in using the right words to form phrases, clauses and sentences; the generality of statements; and the organisational strategy in which authors arrange ideas according to a common topic in the hierarchy of detai ... Read »


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    • Lexical entrainment

    • Lexical entrainment is the phenomenon in conversational linguistics of the process of the subject adopting the reference terms of their interlocutor. In practice, it acts as a mechanism of the cooperative principle in which both parties to the conversation employ lexical entrainment as a progressive system to develop " ... Read »


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    • Lexical hypothesis

    • The lexical hypothesis (also the fundamental lexical hypothesis,lexical approach, or sedimentation hypothesis) is one of the most widely used hypothesis in personality psychology. Despite some variation in its definition and application, the Lexical hypothesis is generally defined by two postulates. The first states th ... Read »


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    • Linguistic philosophy

    • Linguistic philosophy is the view that philosophical problems are problems which may be solved (or dissolved) either by reforming language, or by understanding more about the language we presently use. The former position is that of ideal language philosophy, the latter the position of ordinary language philosophy. ... Read »


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    • Linguistic relativity and the color naming debate

    • The concept of linguistic relativity concerns the relationship between language and thought, specifically whether language influences thought, and, if so, how. This question has led to research in multiple disciplines—especially anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and philosophy. Among the most popular a ... Read »


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    • Linguistic turn

    • The linguistic turn was a major development in Western philosophy during the early 20th century, the most important characteristic of which is the focusing of philosophy and the other humanities primarily on the relationship between philosophy and language. Very different intellectual movements were associated with th ... Read »


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    • Logical form

    • The logical form of a sentence (or proposition or or truthbearer) or set of sentences is the form obtained by abstracting from the subject matter of its content terms or by regarding the content terms as mere placeholders or blanks on a form. In an ideal logical language, the logical form can be determined from syntax ... Read »


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    • Martian scientist

    • A Martian scientist or Martian researcher is a hypothetical Martian frequently used in thought experiments as an outside observer of conditions on Earth. The most common variety is the Martian anthropologist, but Martians researching subjects such as philosophy, linguistics and biology have also been invoked. The foll ... Read »


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    • Mathesis universalis

    • Mathesis universalis (Greek μάθησις, mathesis "science or learning", Latin universalis "universal") is a hypothetical universal science modeled on mathematics envisaged by Descartes and Leibniz, among a number of more minor 16th and 17th century philosophers and mathematicians. John Wallis invokes ... Read »


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    • Meaning (linguistics)

    • In linguistics, meaning is the information or concepts that a sender intends to convey, or actually does convey, in communication with a receiver. Ambiguity means confusion about what is conveyed, since the current context may lead to different interpretations of meaning. Many words in many languages have multiple ... Read »


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    • Meaning (non-linguistic)

    • A non-linguistic meaning is an actual or possible derivation from sentence, which is not associated with signs that have any original or primary intent of communication. It is a general term of art used to capture a number of different senses of the word "meaning", independently from its linguistic uses. The sense ... Read »


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    • Meaning (philosophy of language)

    • The nature of meaning, its definition, elements, and types, was discussed by philosophers Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. According to them "meaning is a relationship between two sorts of things: signs and the kinds of things they mean (intend, express or signify)". One term in the relationship of meaning necessaril ... Read »


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    • Meaning (semiotics)

    • In semiotics, the meaning of a sign is its place in a sign relation, in other words, the set of roles that it occupies within a given sign relation. This statement holds whether sign is taken to mean a sign type or a sign token. Defined in these global terms, the meaning of a sign is not in general analyzable with ful ... Read »


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    • Mental fact

    • Mental facts include such things as perceptions, feelings, and judgments. Mental facts are ultimately caused by physical facts, in that mental facts depend on physical and biological functions which are required for consciousness. The physical and biological processes which are necessary for consciousness enable consci ... Read »


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    • Mental reservation

    • The doctrine of mental reservation, or of mental equivocation, was a special branch of casuistry (case-based reasoning) developed in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and most often associated with the Jesuits. Mental reservation is a form of deception which is not an outright lie. It was argued for in mor ... Read »


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    • Mental space

    • The mental space is a theoretical construct proposed by Gilles Fauconnier corresponding to possible worlds in truth-conditional semantics. The main difference between a mental space and a possible world is that a mental space does not contain a faithful representation of reality, but an idealized cognitive model. Build ... Read »


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    • Metaphor in philosophy

    • Metaphor, the description of one thing as something else, has become of interest in recent decades to both analytic philosophy and continental philosophy, but for different reasons. In the Anglo-American tradition of analytic philosophy, in particular, the philosophy of language, metaphor has attracted interest be ... Read »


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    • Natural language

    • In neuropsychology, linguistics and the philosophy of language, a natural language or ordinary language is any language that has evolved naturally in humans through use and repetition without conscious planning or premeditation. Natural languages can take different forms, such as speech, signing, or writing. They are d ... Read »


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    • Naturalization of intentionality

    • According to Franz Brentano, intentionality refers to the "aboutness of mental states that cannot be a physical relation between a mental state and what is about (its object) because in a physical relation each of the relation must exist whereas the objects of mental states might not. Several problems arise for featur ... Read »


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    • Non-rigid designator

    • In the philosophy of language and modal logic, a term is said to be a non-rigid designator (or flaccid designator) if it does not extensionally designate (denote, refer to) the same object in all possible worlds. This is in contrast to a rigid designator, which does designate the same object in all possible worlds in w ... Read »


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    • Nonsense

    • Nonsense is a communication, via speech, writing, or any other symbolic system, that lacks any coherent meaning. Sometimes in ordinary usage, nonsense is synonymous with absurdity or the ridiculous. Many poets, novelists and songwriters have used nonsense in their works, often creating entire works using it for reasons ... Read »


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    • Norm (philosophy)

    • Norms are concepts (sentences) of practical import, oriented to effecting an action, rather than conceptual abstractions that describe, explain, and express. Normative sentences imply "ought-to" types of statements and assertions, in distinction to sentences that provide "is" types of statements and assertions. Common ... Read »


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    • Ontological commitment

    • An ontological commitment refers to a relation between a language and certain objects postulated to be extant by that language. The 'existence' referred to need not be 'real', but exist only in a universe of discourse. As an example, legal systems use vocabulary referring to 'legal persons' that are collective entities ... Read »


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    • Opaque context

    • An opaque context or referentially opaque context is a linguistic context in which it is not always possible to substitute "co-referential" expressions (expressions referring to the same object) without altering the truth of sentences. The expressions involved are usually grammatically singular terms. So, substitution ... Read »


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    • Ordinary language philosophy

    • Ordinary language philosophy is a philosophical methodology that sees traditional philosophical problems as rooted in misunderstandings philosophers develop by distorting or forgetting what words actually mean in everyday use. "Such 'philosophical' uses of language, on this view, create the very philosophical problems ... Read »


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    • Paradigm case argument

    • In analytic philosophy, the paradigm case argument is an argument which is applied as a rebuttal to the claim that certain concepts, such as free will or knowledge, are meaningless. The paradigm case argument is that if a term, such as "knowledge", is regularly applied to some cases and not to others, then that term (a ... Read »


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    • Performative contradiction

    • A performative contradiction (German: performativer Widerspruch) arises when the propositional content of a statement contradicts the presuppositions of asserting it. An example of a performative contradiction is the statement "I am dead" because the very act of proposing it presupposes the actor is alive. The sta ... Read »


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    • Performative text

    • In the philosophy of language, the notion of performance conceptualizes what a spoken or written text can bring about in human interactions. In the 1950s the philosopher of language J. L. Austin introduced the term ‘performative utterance’ to make clear that ‘to say something is to do something†... Read »


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    • Performative utterance

    • In the philosophy of language and speech acts theory, performative utterances are sentences which are not only describing a given reality, but also changing the social reality they are describing. In his 1955 William James lecture series, which were later published under the title How to Do Things with Words, J. L. Au ... Read »


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    • Phememe

    • A phememe (from Ancient Greek ‘I speak, say’) is a hypothesized speech sound with an abstract gestural meaning, proposed by the linguist Mary LeCron Foster. (The term phememe appeared earlier in the works of Leonard Bloomfield, who defined it as a "smallest and meaningless unit of linguistic signaling" †... Read »


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    • Philosophical interpretation of classical physics

    • Classical Newtonian physics has, formally, been replaced by quantum mechanics on the small scale and relativity on the large scale. Because most humans continue to think in terms of the kind of events we perceive in the human scale of daily life, it became necessary to provide a new philosophical interpretation of clas ... Read »


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    • Port-Royal Grammar

    • The Port-Royal Grammar (originally Grammaire générale et raisonnée contenant les fondemens de l'art de parler, expliqués d'une manière claire et naturelle, "General and Rational Grammar, containing the fundamentals of the art of speaking, explained in a clear and natural manner") was a pioneering work in ... Read »


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    • Principle of compositionality

    • In mathematics, semantics, and philosophy of language, the principle of compositionality is the principle that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its constituent expressions and the rules used to combine them. This principle is also called Frege's principle, because Gottlob Frege is wi ... Read »


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    • Private language argument

    • The private language argument is a philosophical argument introduced by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his later work, especially in the Philosophical Investigations. The argument was central to philosophical discussion in the second half of the 20th century, and continues to arouse interest. The argument is supposed to show t ... Read »


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    • Proper name (philosophy)

    • In the philosophy of language a proper name, for example the names of persons or places, is a name which is ordinarily taken to uniquely identify its referent in the world. As such it presents particular challenges for theories of meaning and it has become a central problem in analytical philosophy. The common sense vi ... Read »


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    • Proposition

    • The term proposition has a broad use in contemporary philosophy. It is used to refer to some or all of the following: the primary bearers of truth-value, the objects of belief and other "propositional attitudes" (i.e., what is believed, doubted, etc.), the referents of that-clauses, and the meanings of declarative sent ... Read »


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    • Radical interpretation

    • Radical interpretation is interpretation of a speaker, including attributing beliefs and desires to them and meanings to their words, from scratch—that is, without relying on translators, dictionaries, or specific prior knowledge of their mental states. The term was introduced by American philosopher Donald Davids ... Read »


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    • Radical translation

    • Radical translation is a thought experiment in Word and Object, a major philosophical work from American philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine. It is used as an introduction to his theory of the indeterminacy of translation, and specifically to prove the point of inscrutability of reference. Using this concept of radical ... Read »


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    • Rhetoric of social intervention model

    • The "rhetoric of social intervention" (RSI) model is a systemic communication theory of how human beings symbolically constitute, maintain, and change social systems (e.g., organizations, societies, and cultures). The RSI model was developed in the writings of communication theorist William R. Brown. The model provides ... Read »


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    • Rigid designator

    • In modal logic and the philosophy of language, a term is said to be a rigid designator when it designates (picks out, denotes, refers to) the same thing in all possible worlds in which that thing exists and does not designate anything else in those possible worlds in which that thing does not exist. A designator is per ... Read »


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    • Salva congruitate

    • Salva congruitate is a Latin scholastic term in logic, which means "without becoming ill-formed", meaning rescue, salvation, welfare and meaning combine, coincide, agree. Salva Congruitate is used in logic to mean that two terms may be substituted for each other while preserving grammaticality in all contexts. Ti ... Read »


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    • Secondary reference

    • Secondary reference points to the representation as a necessary part in granting a meaning to a (part of a) sentence. In this approach, words that don’t contribute to the representation are void; they can only provide a figurative expression. Examples of phrases which lack a secondary reference are 'a black Monday ... Read »


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    • Self-reference

    • Self-reference occurs in natural or formal languages when a sentence, idea or formula refers to itself. The reference may be expressed either directly—through some intermediate sentence or formula—or by means of some encoding. In philosophy, it also refers to the ability of a subject to speak of or refer to i ... Read »


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    • Semantics of logic

    • In logic, the semantics of logic is the study of the semantics, or interpretations, of formal and (idealizations of) natural languages usually trying to capture the pre-theoretic notion of entailment. The truth conditions of various sentences we may encounter in arguments will depend upon their meaning, and so logicia ... Read »


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    • Semiotics

    • Semiotics (from Greek: σημειωτικός) (also called semiotic studies; not to be confused with the Saussurean tradition called semiology which is a part of semiotics) is the study of meaning-making, the study of sign processes and meaningful communication. This includes the study of signs a ... Read »


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    • Sense and reference

    • The distinction between sense and reference was an innovation of the German philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege in 1892, reflecting the two ways he believed a singular term may have meaning. The reference (or "referent", German: Bedeutung)) of a proper name is the object it means or indicates (bedeuten), its se ... Read »


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    • Shabda

    • Śábda is the Sanskrit word for "speech sound". In Sanskrit grammar, the term refers to an utterance in the sense of linguistic performance. In classical Indian philosophy of language, the grammarian Katyayana stated that shabda ("speech") is eternal (nitya), as is artha "meaning", and that they share a mutua ... Read »


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    • Singular term

    • There is no really adequate definition of singular term. Here are some definitions proposed by different writers: ... Read »


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    • Slingshot argument

    • In logic, a slingshot argument is one of a group of arguments claiming to show that all true sentences stand for the same thing. This type of argument was dubbed the "slingshot" by philosophers Jon Barwise and John Perry (1981) due to its disarming simplicity. It is usually said that versions of the slingshot argument ... Read »


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    • Speech act

    • A speech act in linguistics and the philosophy of language is an utterance that has performative function in language and communication. According to Kent Bach, "almost any speech act is really the performance of several acts at once, distinguished by different aspects of the speaker's intention: there is the act of sa ... Read »


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    • Sphoá¹­a


    • Structural approach

    • Language is the most powerful and central tool in achieving our educational goal. When it comes for examining language, words are focal points and we begin our investigation of language structure by looking at words from four of the following perspectives: Its only through language, a person tries to express is th ... Read »


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    • Swampman

    • Swampman is the subject of a philosophical thought experiment introduced by Donald Davidson in his 1987 paper "Knowing One's Own Mind". The experiment runs as follows: Suppose Davidson goes hiking in the swamp and is struck and killed by a lightning bolt. At the same time, nearby in the swamp another lightning bo ... Read »


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    • Symbol grounding problem

    • According to a widely held theory of cognition called "computationalism", cognition (i.e., thinking) is a form of computation. But computation can be reduced to formal symbol manipulation: symbols are manipulated according to rules that are based on the symbols' shapes, not their meanings. The symbol grounding problem ... Read »


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    • Syntax

    • In linguistics, syntax (/ˈsɪnˌtæks/) is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given language, specifically word order. The term syntax is also used to refer to the study of such principles and processes. The goal of many syntacticians is to discover the synt ... Read »


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    • Transparency (linguistic)

    • Linguistic transparency is a phrase which is used in multiple, overlapping subjects in the fields of linguistics and the philosophy of language. It has both normative and descriptive senses. Normatively, the phrase may describe the effort to suit one's rhetoric to the widest possible audience, without losing relevant ... Read »


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    • Triangle of reference

    • The triangle of reference (also known as the triangle of meaning and the semiotic triangle) is a model of how linguistic symbols are related to the objects they represent. The triangle was published in The Meaning of Meaning (1923) by Ogden and Richards. While often referred to as the "Ogden/Richards triangle" the idea ... Read »


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    • Truth-bearer

    • A truth-bearer is an entity that is said to be either true or false and nothing else. The thesis that some things are true while others are false has led to different theories about the nature of these entities. Since there is divergence of opinion on the matter, the term truth-bearer is used to be neutral among the va ... Read »


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    • Truth-conditional semantics

    • Truth-conditional semantics is an approach to semantics of natural language that sees meaning (or at least the meaning of assertions) as being the same as, or reducible to, their truth conditions. This approach to semantics is principally associated with Donald Davidson, and attempts to carry out for the semantics of n ... Read »


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    • Truth-value link

    • The principle of truth-value links is a concept in metaphysics discussed in debates between philosophical realism and anti-realism. Philosophers who appeal to truth-value links in order to explain how individuals can come to understand parts of the world that are apparently cognitively inaccessible (the past, the feeli ... Read »


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    • Type–token distinction


    • Type–token relations


    • Unity of the proposition

    • In philosophy, the unity of the proposition is the problem of explaining how a sentence in the indicative mood expresses more than just what a list of proper names expresses. The problem was discussed under this name by Bertrand Russell, but can be traced back to Plato. In Plato's Sophist, the simplest kind of sen ... Read »


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    • Universal grammar

    • Universal grammar (UG) in linguistics, is the theory of the genetic component of the language faculty, usually credited to Noam Chomsky. The basic postulate of UG is that language is hard-wired into the brain. It is sometimes known as "mental grammar", and stands opposed to other "grammars", e.g. prescriptive, descript ... Read »


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    • Universal grinder

    • In linguistics, the term "universal grinder" refers to an idea that in some languages, most count nouns can be used as if they were mass nouns, which causes a slight change in their meaning. The term "universal grinder" was first used in print by F. Jeffry Pelletier in 1975, after a personal suggestion by David Lewis. ... Read »


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    • Universal pragmatics

    • Universal pragmatics, more recently placed under the heading of formal pragmatics, is the philosophical study of the necessary conditions for reaching an understanding through communication. The philosopher Jürgen Habermas coined the term in his essay "What is Universal Pragmatics?" (Habermas 1979), where he suggest ... Read »


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    • Use–mention distinction


    • Utterance

    • In spoken language analysis an utterance is a smallest unit of speech. It is a continuous piece of speech beginning and ending with a clear pause. In the case of oral languages, it is generally but not always bounded by silence. Utterances do not exist in written language, only their representations do. They can be rep ... Read »


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    • Vagueness

    • In analytic philosophy and linguistics, a concept may be considered vague if its extension is deemed lacking in clarity, if there is uncertainty about which objects belong to the concept or which exhibit characteristics that have this predicate (so-called "border-line cases"), or if the Sorites paradox applies to the c ... Read »


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    • Vivid designator

    • In modal logic and the philosophy of language, a vivid designator is a term which is believed to designate the same thing in all possible worlds and nothing else where such an object does not exist in a possible world. It is the analogue, in the sense of believing, of a rigid designator, which is (refers to) the same i ... Read »


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    • Wholistic reference

    • Wholistic reference is reference to the whole—with respect to the context. In its strongest, unqualified form, the principle of wholistic reference is the proposition that each and every proposition, regardless how limited the referents of its non-logical or content terms, refers to the whole of its universe of di ... Read »


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  • What Else?

    • Philosophy of language

Extras