Philosophy of Language A–Z

Alessandra Tanesini


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Philosophy of Language A–Z
Alessandra Tanesini

Edinburgh University Press


Alessandra Tanesini, 2007

Edinburgh University Press Ltd 22 George Square, Edinburgh Typeset in 10.5/13 Sabon by TechBooks, India, and printed and bound in Great Britain by Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham, Wilts A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 0 7486 2228 3 (hardback) ISBN 978 0 7486 2229 0 (paperback) The right of Alessandra Tanesini to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Published with the support of the Edinburgh University Scholarly Publishing Initiatives Fund.

Series Editor’s Preface Introduction and Acknowledgements Philosophy of Language A–Z Bibliography

vii ix 1 184

Series Editor’s Preface
Philosophy is not only expressed in language, but language is often its main object of interest and enquiry. Not of course language in the sense of grammar and style, which is more the realm of linguistics and literary investigation. Language as our medium for pursuing meaning, which in itself is the repository of meaning, has constantly fascinated philosophers with its ability both to enlighten and confuse. The issue of how words mean things, an issue that seems on the face of it so very simple, has in fact served to differentiate some of the major philosophical schools, and continues to appear on the battlefields of major theoretical controversies in philosophy. One of the intriguing features of debates about language is that they are generally conducted in terms of the very medium under discussion. In modern times the philosophy of language has become rather technical in nature, and it is very helpful to have a systematic list of explanations of many of the key concepts and figures in the discipline. Alessandra Tanesini has provided such a guide, and I am sure that readers of this volume will find her route through the thicket of different theories and arguments a useful one to follow. A solid grasp of some of the basic positions in the philosophy of language is indispensable for a grasp of philosophy as a whole, and this volume is designed to go someway to fulfilling that role. Oliver Leaman


philosophical logic and the philosophy of mind. problems. so that the reader can broaden his or her knowledge of the issues and debates connected to a given problem or figure. entries are supplemented by brief further readings. I would like to thank Alex Miller and Michael Lynch for suggestions about which entries to include. including over 490 entries on every topic in the philosophy of language and on many notions in the cognate areas of logic. Staff at Edinburgh University Press were particularly helpful with all queries and have greatly facilitated the writing of this work. and Michael Durrant. Wales May 2006 . Cardiff. Richard Gray and Oliver Leaman for useful comments on earlier drafts.Introduction and Acknowledgements This dictionary introduces readers to the main theories. It aims for breadth of coverage. figures and arguments in the philosophy of language. nontechnical vocabulary and made to be as concise as possible. Entries are written in accessible. Each entry is cross-referenced to others that are related to it. Further.


Philosophy of Language A–Z .


such as those about subatomic particles. Some of these truths. Kripke.A A posteriori: The term applies primarily to knowledge that is ultimately dependent on experience or observation. Necessary A priori: The term applies to what can be known by reflection independently of experience. In other words. are typically thought to be knowable in this way. and is thus dubbed ‘empirical’. The truths of natural science are knowable in this way. A posteriori truths are opposed to a priori truths. Arithmetical truths. such as two plus two is four. A posteriori falsehoods are those claims whose falsity is ultimately known by means of experience or observation. An a priori falsehood is a claim whose falsity can be established by reflection alone. for example. Saul. that . they are knowable a posteriori because they are based on evidence which is ultimately provided by the senses. Until recently it was not uncommon for philosophers to assume that the notion of a posteriori or empirical truth was coextensive with those of synthetic truth and of contingent truth. they assumed that all and only the empirical truths were contingent and also that all and only these were synthetic. Nevertheless. See Analytic. might be highly theoretical. which are not empirical.

Synthetic Further reading: BonJour (1998). This notion of abstraction has little in common with contemporary conceptions of an abstract entity. attributed to Frege. By this process one obtains several classes of lines. with each class including all and only parallel lines. It is now possible to define the notion of the direction of a line as that which is the same for all the lines in each group. and of necessary truth. Consider. numbers could be a good example. all the lines in the world and group together all of those that are parallel to each other. we obtain the idea of a dog. they assumed that all and only the a priori truths were necessary and also that all and only these were analytic. Thus. An entity which is not abstract is concrete. See Universal Abstraction: (1) Early modern philosophers used the term to refer to the process of neglecting or suppressing specific details. Until recently it was not uncommon for philosophers to assume that the notion of a priori truth was coextensive with those of analytic truth. 1 Abstract entity: An entity that exists outside space or time and does not have any causal powers. A priori truths are not empirical. any dog. In other words. See Contingent. for example. which is to say that they are not a posteriori. ch. George. This is an abstractive definition of .4 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z two plus two is three. If any such entities exist. It is called a particular. an abstract idea is a general idea which is not fully detailed. for the formulations of definitions of a special sort. (2) The term is also used to name a principle. by abstraction from the idea of a spaniel by neglecting specific features pertaining to this breed but not shared by other dogs. and philosophers disagree on this matter. See Berkeley. Saul. Kripke. Thus.

Ambiguity: A word or expression is ambiguous when it has more then one meaning.or recognition-transcendent). Semantic realism is the view that to understand a sentence is to know the conditions under which it is true (its truth conditions). However. See Communicability argument. Frege was dissatisfied with it because the definition does not by itself tell us what to say about things which intuitively we do not think as having a direction. Manifestation argument. verification.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 5 direction. Dummett agrees with the realist that to understand a sentence is to know its truth conditions. Tacit knowledge. Dummett challenges the supporter of semantic realism to explain how knowledge of these evidence-transcendent conditions could possibly have been acquired. and those sentences we understand must have truth conditions that are not evidence-transcendent. Thus. semantic realism must be false. The argument is generally considered unsuccessful since the semantic realist can explain our understanding of sentences whose truth conditions are evidence-transcendent in terms of our understanding of their constituent words and of their modes of combination. . aletheia). and that these conditions might be such that it is potentially beyond us to detect whether or not they obtain (that is. to semantic realism. he claims that states of affairs whose obtaining is by hypothesis undetectable could not have played a role in our acquisition of such knowledge. the truth conditions are evidence-. put forward by Dummett. Verification transcendence Further reading: Hale (1999) Alethic: An adjective which means pertaining or concerning truth (from the Greek word for truth. Acquisition argument: This is a challenge.

the concept of bachelor can be analysed as unmarried man of a marriageable age. where A is the term to be explained or analysed (analysandum) and B is what gives the analysis (analysans). for example. If they are not equivalent in meaning. because it does not tell us what the concept we analyse means. including the fact that it generalises to all persons on the basis of one instance only. by analogy from my own case. Either way. paradox of: The paradox has a long history having perhaps originated with Plato. desires and sensations. . Thus. I observe that others behave in similar ways. A response to the paradox might be to say that an analysis that goes beyond merely restating the original meaning of the concept to be analysed need not be incorrect. Instead. Suppose that a statement of A is B offers an analysis.6 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Analogy: An argument by analogy is one that relies on the similarities with a known case to draw inferences about an unknown one. Either A and B are equivalent in meaning or they are not. paradox of Analysis. and sharpen up. This particular argument has severe shortcomings. then the analysis is trivial because it is not informative. it used to be claimed that we know of the existence of other minds by means of an analogy with our own. Analysis: It is a means of clarifying a concept by breaking it up into its conceptual components. conceptual analyses are either trivial or wrong. that behind their behaviour are mental states similar to my own. See Analysis. then the analysis is incorrect. it can refine. and I conclude. If they are equivalent in meaning. Thus. I know that in my case I behave in certain ways because of my beliefs. that concept in ways that are informative.

Quine argued against the analytic–synthetic distinction. E. Oxford University and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University. and she left early’. In the sentence ‘Mary arrived late at the party. G. Any expression that stands in anaphoric relation to an antecedent is called an ‘anaphor’. are opposed to analytic truths. claim or sentence which is true (false) in virtue only of the meanings of the expressions which make it up. Prosentence Anscombe. M. Further reading: Miller (1998). and also that all and only analytic truths were knowable a priori. between a noun and a pronoun. ‘bachelors are unmarried males of a marriageable age’ is said to be an analytic truth. Until recently. See Pronoun. whose truth depends also on how things are. claiming that no noncircular definition of the notion of analyticity could be provided. (1919–2001): Professor Anscombe was a fellow of Somerville College. Quine (1951) Anaphora: The cross-referencing relation which can hold. it was not uncommon for philosophers (including Quine himself) to assume that all and only analytic truths were necessary. For instance. the name ‘Mary’ is the anaphoric antecedent of the pronoun ‘she’ which cross-refers to it. An example is: ‘When she first crossed the line. for example. 4. the antecedent might come after its anaphor in a sentence. Her influential work in philosophy includes her book Intention (1957) on action theory. Paula bowed to the audience’. . Synthetic truths. ch. Confusingly. and her papers on the intentionality of sensation and on the first person. Some philosophers have claimed that expressions other than pronouns can have anaphoric relations with antecedent locutions.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 7 Analytic: A statement.

Anti-realists about an area of discourse. For instance. Response-dependence about an area of discourse is another kind of anti-realism which takes the objects in question to depend on us for their existence. in some way to be specified. for instance. There are many kinds of anti-realism which are best understood in terms of the realist assumptions they reject. Anti-realism: The label for a family of views opposed to realism. on us for their truth. Other anti-realists accept the existence of the alleged entities. He argues that sentences in any given area of discourse should not be understood as being made true or false by conditions that might be even in principle undetectable by us. these sentences depend. See Semantic anti-realism. Sometimes they are also referred to as non-realist. Wright. as the realist would have it. and was one of his literary executors. divide into supporters of error-theory. Dummett. who believe that all atomic claims in that area of discourse are simply false. some philosophers have attempted to debunk the whole realism/anti-realism debate and support quietism instead. opposes what he calls semantic realism. but deny that these objects exist independently of us. in arithmetic Dummett argues that truth cannot outstrip the possibility of finding a proof. Crispin Further reading: Miller (2005) . Instead. and the author of the highly influential An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (1959). who believe that sentences in that area of discourse are not used to make claims but simply to vent one’s attitudes or emotions. Recently. She was the translator of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. who deny the existence of the alleged entities in that area. and supporters of expressivism or non-cognitivism.8 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Anscombe had been a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

and the outputs are their values. Suppose we want to translate into our language the scientific theory of a scientist who belongs to a culture with whom we have never been in touch and who speaks a language that is totally new to us. so that no empirical evidence could be provided for favouring one over the other. Argument from above: One of two arguments offered by Quine in favour of the claim that translation is indeterminate. This is the idea that theories which are actually different might have exactly the same empirical consequences. Inductive arguments are those in which the premises provide evidence in favour of the conclusion. Deductive arguments are those in which the premises are intended to provide conclusive reasons which guarantee the truth of the conclusion given the truth of the premises. which are statements presented as reasons for. In these cases. The argument from above relies on the idea that scientific theories are under-determined by all the possible empirical evidence. the arguments are 2 and 3. Quine claims that the translation of the theoretical claims in the foreigner’s theory is under-determined by our translations of those portions of its theory which are about observation. For instance. and the value is 5. Indeterminacy of translation is the thesis that in many instances there is no fact of the matter about which of two competing (and mutually incompatible) translations is correct. (2) In mathematics and in logic the inputs of functions and operations are called their arguments. That . In this instance we need to start the translation from scratch. the conclusion or conclusions. evidence in favour of.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 9 Argument: (1) A piece of reasoning consisting of one or more conclusions and some premises. addition is the function. See Validity. The other is known as the argument from below. in ‘2 + 3 = 5’.

the translator can only avail herself of facts about the stimulus meaning of sentences of the native language. Quine claims that when all these facts are in. This is the argument from below. Imagine that the natives . She can only take into account the circumstances under which natives would assent to sentences and the circumstances under which they would dissent from them. Thus. translation is still indeterminate. translation is still not determinate. ch. The other is known as the argument from above. Quine’s claim here is not that translation is as under-determined as scientific theories are. Rather.10 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z is to say. See Inscrutability of reference Further reading: Miller (1998). The argument relies on the idea of a radical translator who needs to translate a novel language from scratch. because mutually incompatible translations would be compatible with all the facts about stimulus meaning. and Quine substantiates it by example. Indeterminacy of translation is the thesis that in many cases there is no fact of the matter about which of two competing (and mutually incompatible) translations is correct. his claim is that even when scientific under-determination is ignored. there will be more than one way of translating these theoretical sentences. 4 Argument from below: One of two arguments offered by Quine in favour of the claim that translation is indeterminate. At the beginning the translator must rely exclusively on the behaviour of native speakers. all of which are equally compatible with our translation of the foreigner’s observation sentences. the indeterminacy of translation is meant to be additional to the under-determination of scientific theories by all the possible empirical evidence. and one has chosen one scientific theory (as the foreign scientist has done). despite being mutually incompatible. For Quine.

The problem is that ‘white’ and ‘part of a white animal’ have different stimulus meaning since the first. despite being incompatible. applies to things that are not animals. a part of rabbit attached to the whole rabbit). Quine cannot reply by saying that ‘ugul’ could mean ‘part of a white animal’ because (by compositionality) ‘ugul’ must mean the same thing every time it is used. while pointing first to one part of a rabbit and then to another part of the same rabbit. We cannot get evidence for preferring one of the translations over the other by asking. the problem is not addressed by taking ‘ugul’ to mean ‘part of a white .e. do not determine it.. Any translation of a complex expression must attribute to each of its semantic parts the same meaning it attributes to that part when used in combination with other semantic parts. which are the only acceptable facts. Both a translation of the native sentence as ‘there is a rabbit’ and as ‘there is an undetached rabbit part’ (i. But now the indeterminacy seems to disappear since ‘white rabbit’ and ‘white undetached rabbit part’ have different stimulus meanings. Evans has argued that indeterminacy is dissolved when the range of acceptable translations is restricted only to those which meet the further constraint of compositionality. are compatible with these facts about stimulus meaning. Translation is indeterminate because facts about stimulus meaning. Suppose natives sometime also say ‘ugul gavagai’ and also suppose that on the basis of previous natives’ utterances we take ‘ugul’ to mean ‘white’. Further. but not the second. whether this is ‘erat gavagai’ as that. because there is no unique way of determining whether the native word ‘erat’ is best translated as ‘same’ or as ‘undetached part of the same’. The presence of a black rabbit with a white foot would prompt dissent to the first but not necessarily to the second.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 11 assent to ‘gavagai’ when a rabbit is in sight and dissent from it when there is no rabbit.

‘white’ and ‘part of a white thing’ differ with regard to their stimulus-meanings since the first does not apply to a black rabbit with a white ear. . assertibility conditions. 2. Thus. Quine (1960) Ascription: Attribution. ch. they are often interested in the language used to make the ascription. When philosophers talk about ascriptions. In order to be entitled to make the assertion a speaker does not need to have a guarantee that the assertion is true. if satisfied.12 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z thing’ because a white foot of a rabbit is also a thing. Supporters of semantic realism. Assertibility condition: The condition which. rather than exclusively in what is ascribed. Superassertibility Assertion: A speech act that consists in putting forward a proposition as true. but the second applies to one of its undetached parts. The debate between semantic realism and semantic anti-realism concerns whether the meaning of declarative sentences is to be understood in terms of their truth conditions or of their assertibility conditions. It is a matter of dispute among philosophers whether in order to provide an account of assertion we need to rely on a previously understood notion of truth. have provided theories of meaning in terms of truth conditions. Evans (1996). See Inscrutability of reference Further reading: Miller (1998). See Semantics. instead. ch. Thus. some form of warrant or justification is sufficient. the litmus paper’s turning red when immersed in a liquid is a condition that warrants the assertion that this liquid is acid. warrants or justifies the assertion of the statement. 4. Supporters of semantic anti-realism have developed accounts of meaning in terms of assertibility conditions.

Imagine a person who cannot tell by sight a rabbit from a hare. the asymmetry). Intuitively. See Assertoric force Assertoric force: In order to make an assertion. and so forth. Indicator semantics appears to force us to say that the person has an eitherrabbit-or-hare representation. Whenever this person is in the presence of a rabbit. Statements might also have additional meaning. but if it does not contribute to determining which facts are stated by the assertion. an assertion. also forms a mental state of kind R when she sees a hare in the field. This same person. we want to say. she forms a mental state of kind R.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 13 Assertoric content: The fact stating content of statements. instead. If all hares were to be painted orange tomorrow. In general. force is that pragmatic component of meaning that makes the difference as to whether the utterance is a question. however. See Assertoric content Asymmetric dependence: This is Fodor’s answer to the disjunction problem faced by indicator semantics. that this person at times mistakenly applies her representation of rabbits to hares. . He claims that R-mental states represent rabbits rather than rabbits-or-hares because the causal relation between hares and R-mental states is asymmetrically dependent on the causal relation between rabbits and R-mental states. at times she mistakes a hare for a rabbit. In other words. Intuitively. This person learns about rabbits from books and by having a pet rabbit as a child. it is not part of its assertoric content. the point is that one applies R-mental states to hares because hares look like rabbits but not the other way round (hence. a declarative sentence must be uttered with assertoric force. a command. Fodor suggests a way of patching indicator semantics so that it offers the right intuitive response.

which he classified as locutionary. Austin. were published posthumously and consist of his lecture notes as edited by his students. ‘white’ in ‘those lilies are white’ occurs in a predicative position. he focused his work on the many different uses to which words are ordinarily put. J. 5 Atomic sentence: A basic sentence which cannot be further decomposed into even more basic sentences. ‘white’ in ‘she was wearing white shoes’ occurs in attributive position. the person would not form R-mental states in their presence. Ayer spent his academic career at Oxford University and University College London. including How to Do Things with Words (1975).14 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z so that they looked very different from rabbit. Austin was one of the main proponents of ordinary language philosophy. See Logical atomism Attributive position: An adjective occurs in an attributive position when it modifies a noun or a noun-phrase. ch. If. In his . This use of adjective is contrasted to their use in predicative positions when they are complements of a verb. instead. illocutionary and perlocutionary. (1911–60): Austin worked at Oxford University publishing only a small part of his work during his lifetime. Many of his books. L. (1910–89): Famous for introducing logical positivism to Britain. the person would continue to form R-mental states in their presence. Further reading: Crane (2003). Thus. Thus. He is best known for his account of performatives and more specifically for his taxonomy of speech acts. rabbits were painted so as to differentiate them from hares. A. J. Perlocutionary act Ayer. Locutionary act. See Illocutionary act.

See Verification principle Further reading: McDonald (2005) B Bedeutung: Frege’s term for the feature of a linguistic expression which contributes to the determination of the truth or falsity of the sentences in which it occurs. Further reading: McCulloch (1989). Frege (1892a) . is west of . the contribution of that expression to what determines the truth or falsity of the sentences in which it occurs. Ayer’s definition of verifiability was subject to many refinements in order to combat the charge that any statement whatsoever would satisfy the definition. The Bedeutungen of sentences are one of two truth-values: the true and the false. relations from more than one object to a truth-value are the Bedeutungen of predicates with more than one argument place (e. . . . . 1946) Ayer argued that all meaningful propositions were either analytic or verifiable. It is closely related to the contemporary notion of the semantic value of an expression.g. ‘. Frege’s Bedeutung has been variously translated into English as reference. In the philosophy of perception Ayer developed a version of sense-data theory which was strongly criticised by Austin. For him. is red’). One-place functions (which Frege calls ‘concepts’) from objects to truth-values are the Bedeutungen of predicates with only one argument place (e. .g. chs 1 and 5. which is what determines the Bedeutung. Frege also distinguished the reference of an expression from its Sinn (sense). Truth. the Bedeutung of a proper name is the thing or person it names. ‘. and Logic (2nd edn. designation or meaning. that is.. ’). .PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 15 book Language.

George (1685–1753): Born in Kilkenny. including God. Some of his arguments against materialism are of interest in the philosophy of language. Frege’s puzzles. In his view. Philosophers of language often think of beliefs as relations between individuals and propositions. apologising by saying ‘Sorry’ is another. See De dicto attribution. Since Frege. Bishop of Cloyne. in his view ordinary objects are collections of ideas. This conception of representation is generally rejected by contemporary philosophers. beliefs are propositional attitudes. Instead. they have also been aware of puzzles presented by sentences that report on individuals’ propositional attitudes. Austin acknowledges that this is a rather miscellaneous category whose boundaries are less than clear. he concludes that ideas can only represent other ideas since only ideas are like other ideas. ideas lacking in some detail. Berkeley denies the existence of matter. That is. Berkeley. Propositional attitude report Berkeley. Berkeley also argued against the existence of abstract ideas. but does not deny the existence of ordinary objects such as tables and rocks. and ideas in these minds. wants and hopes. . Further reading: Austin (1975) Belief: Like desires. Thanking somebody by saying ‘Thank you’ is an example. Ireland and educated at Trinity College Dublin. was one of the earliest and most interesting supporters of idealism. he argues that representation is always a matter of resemblance or likeness. For instance.16 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Begriffsschrift See Concept-script Behabitive: A term coined by Austin for a type of (illocutionary) speech act which consists in the adoption of an attitude towards the behaviour of others. they are attitudes towards propositions. there exist only minds. De re attribution. that is to say.

but the idea in the mind corresponding to it is specific. Bivalence should not be confused with excluded middle. Dummett has argued that unqualified support for bivalence in a given area of discourse is a mark of adopting a realist position with regard to that area of discourse. but the converse is not true. Cambridge-educated philosopher who has held academic positions at Oxford. Thus. Since the meaning of the word ‘triangle’ is general. See Realism Blackburn. See Abstraction. Simon (1944–): A British. Meaning. It must have at least one and at most one of these features.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 17 Thus in his view. He is . Bivalence: The law that states that every statement is either true or false. according to which for every statement either it or its negation is true. Biconditionals are often used to state necessary and sufficient conditions. The connective ‘if and only if’ is shortened as ‘iff’. In logical notation the connective is represented either as ‘≡’ or ‘↔’. for example. or scalene. Berkeley argues that our dispositions and customs with regard to the use of the word contribute to its meaning. we do not possess a general idea of a triangle. Bivalence entails excluded middle. the idea of a triangle must be triangular and therefore it must be equilateral. the law states that there are only two values and that each statement has at least and at most one of them. ideational theory of Biconditional: A sentence or proposition of the form ‘P if and only if Q’. Instead. Cambridge and the University of North Carolina. or isosceles. Since ideas are pictures in the mind. Berkeley was aware that this view generated complexities with regard to his theory of linguistic meaning. This is why this law is called bivalence. the meaning of the word cannot be equated with the idea associated with it.

when Twin Oscar on Twin Earth has a belief which he would express by means of an utterance of the words ‘there is water in the glass’. Putman asks us to imagine a brain in a vat of nutrients which is fed by a computer nerve stimuli that are exactly like those human beings receive from the external world. Putnam uses the thought experiment to argue against scepticism (and in favour of semantic externalism). the brain is said to have always been in the vat (ab initio brain in the vat). he has a belief whose broad content is characterised by the fact that it is true if and only if there is water in the glass. Thus.18 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z the main proponent of a version of non-cognitivism which he has dubbed quasi-realism. such a brain could not have thoughts about trees and other ordinary objects because it does not have the right kinds of causal relations to them. Putnam claims that. Supporters of internalism have different intuitions about the conceivability of this case. Putnam’s conclusion is based on the causal theory of reference and of mental representation to which he subscribed when he developed this thought experiment. for example. However. he has a belief with a different broad content. Thus. has a belief which he would express by means of the utterance that there is water in the glass. since his belief is true if and only if there is twater in the glass (because . Oscar. when a person on Earth. In later reformulations of the thought experiment. despite some intuitions to the contrary. Further reading: Putnam (1981) Broad content: The content of psychological states which is determined by their truth conditions. Bound variable See Variable Brain in a vat: A contemporary version of Descartes’ evil genius thought experiment due to Putnam.

PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 19 twater is the odourless. Let us call it ‘tharthritis’. Content. Tyler. since linguistic meaning is conventional. Tyler (1946–): At the time of writing a professor of philosophy at the University of California. had the community developed in that different manner. ‘I have arthritis in my thigh’. Externalism. Burge is one of the most prominent opponents of individualism in the philosophy of mind. Burge asks us to imagine a person Jane who utters the words. he supports a version of externalism about mental content according to which facts about the physical and social environment external to a person contribute to the individuation of that person’s mental states. Burge’s arthritis example makes a similar case for the importance of the social environment. In this instance. colourless liquid people drink on Twin Earth). Instead. and not just of joints. Jane’s linguistic community could have developed a different linguistic practice. Jane’s utterance of the words ‘I have arthritis in my thigh’ might have been saying something true since her words would have meant that she has tharthritis in her thigh. The word ‘arthritis’ could have been used to refer to a rheumatoid disease of the bones. Thus. Jane’s words would have expressed the true belief that she has tharthritis in her thigh. whose contents are consequently broad. See Burge. despite the . The example illustrates that the meanings of Jane’s words and the contents of her beliefs can vary because of changes in the social environment. Whilst Putnam argued by means of his Twin Earth example that the physical environment plays a role in the individuation of linguistic and mental content. Jane. Narrow content Burge. in Burge’s opinion. has a false belief since arthritis is a condition of the joints and not of the thigh. Los Angeles (UCLA). However.

being soluble in water is a dispositional property of sugar. Canonical notation: The translation of ordinary sentences into a formal or semi-formal language that is intended to make explicit the logical form of those sentences.20 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z absence of any change in the intrinsic facts about Jane herself. Thus. The notion of a categorical property is also . Since these properties are causally impotent. For example. In the 1940s and 1950s Carnap wrote several books and articles which greatly contributed to the development of formal semantics and modal logic. Carnap. while being rectangular is a categorical property of most televisions. Carnap attempted the reduction of all scientific terms to a purely phenomenalistic language. In his early work The Logical Structure of the World (1928). many philosophers do not take them to be genuine properties at all. Categorical predicate: A predicate that refers to a categorical property. narrow content C Cambridge property: Those relational properties which things can acquire or lose without themselves undergoing any change. internalism. Categorical properties are distinguished from the dispositional properties of things. He moved to the United States in 1935 because of his opposition to the Nazi regime. Rudolf (1891–1970): A German philosopher of science who was a member of the Vienna Circle and prominent exponent of logical positivism. See broad content. when Socrates died his wife acquired the property of being his widow.

In general. adverbs. First. while having two eyes is a categorical property since one either has them. Thus. Categorical property See Categorical predicate Category: There are many different notions of a category. I would be treating the university as if it were an additional physical object with a location of its own. ‘Yes. Third. grammatical categories are those described in books of grammar. some philosophers have developed the idea of a semantic category where two words are said to belong to the same category if and only if the substitution of one for the other in a meaningful sentence results in another sentence which is also meaningful. logical categories are deployed when describing the logical form of sentences. and so forth. this is the name given to various views according to which an expression refers to whatever is causally linked to it in a certain way. In this second meaning. I were to ask. nouns. Causal theory of reference: Introduced as an alternative to the description theory of reference. For . quantifiers and predicates as well as modal operators. or does not. They include: singular terms. Category mistake: An expression coined by Gilbert Ryle. being intelligent is not a categorical property since it is possible to be more or less intelligent.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 21 used to characterise properties that are not a matter of degree. The two meanings of categorical are different and should not be conflated. Second. asking of a stone whether it is blind is also a category mistake. but where is the university?’ I would be making one such mistake. to make a category mistake is to attribute properties or predicates appropriate for things of one kind to things of a different kind. If after I were shown all the colleges’ buildings. They include: verbs.

the sense could be the mode in which the causal link to the referent is secured. the theory allows for the possibility that names and natural kind terms might have a sense as well as a reference. He points out that names . the causal theory of reference has also been adopted for natural kind terms such as ‘water’. Thus formulated. Thus. and it is therefore not automatically committed to a theory of direct reference (the Millian view). In this way the name is causally grounded in its referent. ‘giraffe’. for example. Besides proper names of people and other particulars. in these cases. the term ‘tiger’ is first introduced when some individuals were presented with tigers. the reference of the term is first fixed when some speakers come in causal contact with a sample of the natural kind in question. Subsequent speakers borrow the reference from the initial dubbers of the term. could be a definite description used in the baptising ceremony to fix the reference of the name so as to establish the causal connection between the name and the person named. other people use the name to refer to the same person as the initial baptisers. These other speakers acquire the ability to use the name so that it refers to the person it referred to at the baptising ceremony by becoming part of a causal chain of speakers which goes back to the initial baptisers. Evans has presented several objections to the causal theory of reference. In these instances. a proper name refers to the person it names. ‘gold’. the name has its reference fixed by being causally linked to the child. Alternatively. the name is first introduced when the parents name the child. Kripke argues that. ‘tiger’. Once the name is introduced. in purely causal theories. This phenomenon is called reference borrowing. that is. The sense of a proper name.22 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z example. through the ceremony of naming the child (a sort of baptism). to all tigers. and it is introduced to refer to all the objects that share the same nature of the sample objects.

Chomsky’s starting point is the observation that linguistic competence is remarkably uniform among human beings. whilst in this theory reference change is impossible. Chomsky has revolutionised the science of linguistics by focusing his attention on the study of the language faculty in human beings. Kripke (1980) Charity. Thus. Reference. Qua-problem. if one says. We apply charity to their pronouncements by assuming that they hold beliefs that are mostly true. He also notes that the theory has difficulties in explaining the role of empty names like ‘Father Christmas’. principle of. That is to say. See Humanity. I would normally apply the principle of charity and take that person to be saying something which is true. we interpret other people’s words in a way that maximises truth. Thus. ‘That saucepan has a teflon coating’. principle of: A principle to which. we appeal when interpreting the words of other people. Radical interpretation Chomsky. and I see that the person is gesturing towards a frying pan. He is the most influential American linguist in the twentieth century as well as being a prominent left-wing political activist.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 23 sometimes change their reference. Chomsky explains this uniformity by postulating the existence of a language faculty in human beings which is largely innate. Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. chs 4 and 8. He thinks that an excessive focus on linguistic performance has obscured this important observation. I would normally take that person to mean frying pan by ‘saucepan’. Rigid designator Further reading: McCulloch (1989). which lack a referent. Chomsky provides a variety of reasons in . See Cluster theory of reference. according to Davidson. Noam (1928–): Born in the USA.

In the 1980s Chomsky abandoned parts of this framework and began to think of universal grammar as a system of innate principles common to all speakers. Chomsky also made a distinction between two levels of representation. or transformative grammar. This grammar consists of explicitly statable recursive rules for the generation of all the possible phrase structures in a language. combined with a certain numbers of parameters. common to all speakers independently of what language they might speak. developed by John Searle and Strawson. is derived from the deep structure by means of rules of transformation. First. of the description theory . Crucially. The surface structure. Chomsky does not believe that language–world relations play an important role in the characterisation of the structure of language. The learning of a specific natural language would thus be understood largely as a matter of setting the right parameters for that language. he deploys the so-called poverty of stimulus argument. He claims that children could not have acquired competence with regard to certain features of languages simply on the basis of their experiences of other speakers. In the 1970s Chomsky postulated the development of the language faculty from an initial innate state (universal grammar) to a more evolved state which is not subject to further changes. The first level is a deep structure.24 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z favour of innatism. Further reading: Chomsky (1995) Cluster theory of reference: A more recent version. Chomsky also notes that innatism provides the best explanation for the speed at which children acquire linguistic competence. and the absence of certain kinds of errors in young learners which one would expect if their learning operated on a trial-and-error basis supplemented by feedback provided by competent speakers. known as generative grammar.

since the referent of the name might not satisfy all the descriptions that the name abbreviates. McCulloch (1989) Cognitive command: A notion introduced by Wright.2. Wright is concerned with individuating among the areas of discourse which are minimally truth-apt. ch. are satisfied by the referent of the name. Further. those that can be realistically construed. the theory can explain how speakers can refer to something even though the cluster of descriptions they associate with the name either fails to identify the referent uniquely or is not even true of it. Supporters of the theory can explain the phenomena appealed to by Kripke in his modal argument by relying on the idea of the scope of quantifiers. Roughly speaking a discourse exhibits this feature if it is a priori true that any difference of opinion in this area can only be satisfactorily explained . More specifically.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 25 of reference. it can explain why people often associate more than one description with a name. the cluster theory can acknowledge the fact that different people associate different descriptions. 3. Instead of taking each name to abbreviate one definite description. by invoking reference borrowing and a social division of linguistic labour. Thus. with the same name. there is no single description in the cluster which the referent of the name must satisfy. The cluster theory can cope with some of the arguments raised by Kripke against the description theory of reference. Similarly. it can answer most of Kripke’s non-modal arguments. Further reading: Devitt and Sterelny (1999). provided they are part of the cluster. but not necessarily all. One of the marks of discourse about which realism can be maintained is that it exhibits cognitive command. Further. the cluster theory takes names to abbreviate clusters of definite descriptions most of which.

‘I will do it’. response-dependence and realism. See Cosmological role Further reading: Wright (1992) Cognitivism: To be a cognitivist about a given area of discourse is to hold that judgements made in that area purport to express beliefs and describe facts. according to which judgements in a given area of discourse do not express beliefs and do not describe facts. Further reading: Austin (1975) Common knowledge: A piece of knowledge such that each agent in a group has that knowledge. Further reading: Lewis (1986a) . are instances of commissive speech acts. Further reading: Miller (2003) Commissive: A term introduced by Austin to name a type of (illocutionary) speech act by means of which the speaker purports to place himself or herself under an obligation. Utterances of ‘I promise’. and so on ad infinitum. and further each agent in the group knows that each agent in the group knows that each agent in that group has that knowledge. Cognitivism can take many forms including error-theory. The existence of common knowledge is often necessary for co-ordinated activity in social interaction. and further each agent in the group knows that each agent in the group has that knowledge. Promising is the paradigmatic example. We owe the first explicit analysis of this notion to David Lewis in his book Convention. and as such can be assessed as true or false. when used to make a promise. ‘I give you my word’. Cognitivism is opposed to non-cognitivism.26 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z in terms of the cognitive shortcomings (including lack of information or faulty reasoning) of at least one of the two disagreeing parties.

See Language of thought. since we do communicate by means of language. Supporters of compositionality invoke it to explain the productivity and systematicity of linguistic understanding. Thus. Dummett argues that if linguistic meanings were private. ‘loves’ and ‘her sister’ and on their order in the sentence. and generates theorems which specify the meanings of each sentence in that language in a way that displays how these meanings depend on the meanings of its parts. However. A theory of meaning for a language is said to respect compositionality if it includes only a finite number of axioms. the meaning of ‘Mary loves her sister’ depends on the meanings of ‘Mary’. They claim that compositionality explains our ability to understand novel sentences and that when we understand a complex expression we tend also to understand others that are constituted by the same parts in different orders. linguistic communication would be impossible. See Acquisition argument. A complete system could be unsound if arguments that are not valid are also provable in the system.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 27 Communicability argument: An argument deployed by Dummett against views that identify linguistic meanings with private mental states. Manifestation argument Competence. truth-conditional . Semantics. See Soundness Compositionality: The principle of compositionality states that the meaning of a sentence is dependent upon the meanings of its semantic (or meaningful) parts and the way in which these meanings are brought together. linguistic See Linguistic competence Completeness: A formal system is said to be complete if every valid argument can be proved within the system. linguistic meanings are not private mental states.

is red’ or ‘. which is a function that takes truth-values (the true and the false) as arguments and yields truth-values as values. is British’. . such as ‘if Oswald had not killed Kennedy.28 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Concept: For Frege a concept is a one-place function from an object to a truth-value (true or false). Further reading: Beaney (1996). Conjunction. Frege developed the notion of a quantifier. In contemporary philosophy of mind and language the notion has acquired a new meaning. 2. and so forth. ch. On this view to ascribe possession of a concept to an individual is to ascribe a set of abilities to that individual. Probably most importantly of all. Thus. Frege’s own notation for quantifiers and truth function is not used by contemporary logicians. ch. . know that they are animals. and subjunctive conditionals. he made it possible to express multiple generalities in logic for the first time. someone else would have’. Concept-script (Begriffsschrift): The title of Frege’s first book and the name of the formal logical language he developed to express all conceptual contents. 1 Conditional: In ordinary language there are at least two kinds of conditionals: indicative conditionals as exemplified by the conditional ‘if Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy. . Subjunctive conditionals with an antecedent which is either . someone else did’. McCulloch (1989). Frege offered an analysis of sentences in terms of functions (designated by predicates) and arguments (designated by names and other singular terms). disjunction and negation are examples of such functions. Frege also developed the notion of a truth function. These typographical differences should not obscure the fact that Frege’s logic is what we use now. Thus to have the concept of a horse one must be able to recognise horses. it is the reference (Bedeutung) of a one-place predicate such as ‘. .

See Conventional implicature Further reading: Bennett (2003). A different approach takes indicative conditionals not to be the sort of thing that has truth conditions at all. Thus. The denotation of a term is its extension. but to be an expression of conditional probabilities. according to this approach when I say ‘if I study. Among these. An example would be an . There is also disagreement about how best to understand indicative conditionals. or linguistic intension. some take the indicative conditional to be the truth-functional material conditional familiar in logic. I am not stating a conditional fact. namely. There is some disagreement about how to classify some conditionals. Edgington (2001) Connective. I will pass the exam’. Chelsea will’ to be indicative. The term ‘intension’ is used in more than one way: either as what determines what falls in the extension or as the function which assigns for each possible world an extension to a term in that world. truth-functional See Truth-functional sentential connective Connotation: The connotation. Others argue that it is not a truth-functional sentential connective. some philosophers take future conditionals such as ‘if Barcelona does not win the championship in 2007. others classify them with subjunctive conditionals. instead I am saying that the probability that I will pass the exam is high on the supposition that I study. of a term is contrasted with its denotation. Constative: Austin coined the expression to refer to descriptive utterances or statements. the collection of things it stands for. Some philosophers think that indicative conditionals are statements which have truth conditions. In other words.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 29 known to be false or assumed to be false are called ‘counterfactuals’.

It often determines the identity of the words involved. the context serves to determine whether by ‘bank’ a speaker means money or river bank. for example. while her belief is true if what she sees is a glass of what she calls ‘water’. and so does she. Content: The meaning of an utterance or of a mental state such as a belief or a desire is its content. I believe that I see a glass of the odourless clear liquid that fills the lakes. first elaborated by Frege in The Foundations of Arithmetic (1884).. where he states that ‘it is only in the context of a sentence that a word has a meaning’. Internalism Further reading: Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996) Context: The situation in which an utterance occurs. such as ‘I promise to give you a ticket’. for ¨ instance. Thus. Frege never restates the principle in any of his later works. but has chemical composition XYZ. but it was adopted by Ludwig Wittgenstein . Thus. Context principle: A principle. But our states have different broad contents since my belief is true if what I see is a glass of water. Constative utterances are contrasted by Austin with performative utterances. Some philosophers distinguish between two kinds of content of mental states: broad contents which are determined by the truth conditions of the state. and narrow contents which supervene on the internal states of the agent. I and my doppelganger on Twin Earth might be in states with the same narrow contents. etc.30 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z utterance of the sentence ‘The cat is on the mat’. In the case of indexical expressions such as ‘I’. See Externalism. it also disambiguates the utterance. the context is necessary to determine the meaning and reference of expressions even when there are no ambiguities.

Language Convention T: First devised by Alfred Tarski as a minimal constraint (which he dubbed ‘criterion of material adequacy’) on any theory of truth. is conventional at least in the sense that the relation between language and the reality it is about is arbitrary. The basic idea behind the principle is that the sense of a word is given by its role in the sentence in which it occurs. For example. See Modality. See Compositionality Contingency: A proposition is contingent if and only if it is true but could have been false. More recently. Thus. the word ‘apple’ could have referred to pears. Thus. which he called the T-schema. Necessity. the following are all instances of the T-schema: ` ‘La neve e bianca’ is true if and only if snow is white. See Common knowledge. He claimed that any materially adequate account of the truth predicate in a language must identify as the truth predicate in that language a predicate which satisfies all instances of a schema. The schema is: S is True if and only if p. where what replaces S is the name of a sentence and what replaces p is a translation of that sentence in the language in which the schema is formulated. its reference to apples is a matter of convention. Thus. ‘Snow is white’ is true if and only if snow is white. contingent truths are contrasted with necessary truths. it is generally agreed. in order for a theory of truth that takes the truth predicate . Possibility Convention: Language.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 31 in both the Tractatus (1922) and Philosophical Investigations (1953). some philosophers also claim that language is conventional in the sense that the meanings of words are under the speakers’ rational control.

Thus. Thus. What it implies is a matter of the conventions governing the meaning of the word ‘if’. He. In Jackson’s view indicative conditionals are truth-functional material conditionals. There are notorious problems with this view. all material conditionals with false antecedents are true. Truth. since I ate no waffles today. truth-conditional. See Semantics. as with the case of conversational implicature. a matter of the conversational maxims governing communication. rather than. therefore. presupposed knowledge of meaning in order to define truth. ‘London is the capital of the UK’ is true if and only if London is the capital of the UK. Jackson solves the problem by saying that although the conditional assertion is an assertion of a material conditional. suggests or conveys something else. he claims that somebody who asserts an indicative conditional makes the same assertion with the same truth conditions as somebody who asserts the equivalent material conditional. Tarski postulated that the expressions used to fill the places indicated by S and p in the schema had already been assigned determinate meanings. it also implies. For instance. the following absurd conditional ‘if I ate waffles today. For Jackson asserting . and so forth. the assertion also has a conventional implication. it must have as theorems all the instances of the T-schema such as ‘grass is green’ is true if and only if grass is green.32 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z in English to be ‘is true’ to be materially adequate. you ate one thousand eggs’ should be true if it were a material conditional. ‘snow is white’ is true if and only if snow is white. semantic theory of Further reading: Tarski (1944) and (1969) Conventional implicature: A notion developed by Frank Jackson in the context of his account of indicative conditionals. Besides asserting what it does.

under the supposition that A is true. Jackson coins a technical term for this relationship. H. the conventional implicature of the word ‘if’ in every conditional is that the consequent has a high probability of being true. we can communicate something without explicitly saying it. This implicature is violated in conditionals such as ‘if I ate waffles today. but also by violating them. given the supposition that the antecedent is true. That is why these conditionals seems absurd. and it would be relevant if I wanted you to leave. See Grice. to be relevant and sincere. Conversational implicatures are not created only by following conversational maxims. Thus. B is robust with respect to A. in this instance. you ate one thousand eggs’ where the antecedent and the consequent are unrelated. I might say ‘that’s great’ in a context in which it is clear that I intend you to see that I am implicating that it is not great at all. Thus. You draw this conclusion by reasoning that if I say that I am tired. by relying on the other person’s knowledge of these maxims. for example. you might conclude that I want you to leave. if you are at my place. then my tiredness must be relevant to the current situation. See conditional Conversational implicature: Conversation is governed by conversational maxims which require us. Often. flouted on purpose. in this instance. The maxim requiring speakers not to say what they believe to be false is. as is often done when one is being sarcastic. What is thus communicated is a conversational implicature. and I have stopped offering you any drink sometime previously and I now say that I am tired. P.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 33 a conditional of the form ‘if A then B’ implies that one accords to B a high probability of being true. Thus. He writes that. .

See Predication Corner quotation: First devised by Quine and symbolised as . The theory of conversational maxims and implicature was first developed by H. corner quotations express generalisations over quotations.e. P. Some philosophers like Frege take the copula to be part of the predicate which is thus conceived as an incomplete expression with a gap that can be filled by a subject. 6. 4. which enjoins us to make our conversational contribution such as is required. Grice. These maxims are all derived from the principal normative principle of cooperative conversation.e. whilst p is a place-holder for sentences (i. the cat is on the mat). Other philosophers take a proposition to be composed by two names (one of a thing and the other of a property) conjoined by the copula. at the stage at which it occurs. . . ‘the cat is on the mat’).. .34 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Conversational maxim: Maxims or social norms that govern cooperative conversation. be relevant. avoid ambiguity. be brief. They include the following: 1. 3.. See Conversational implicature Copula: One of the roles played by the verb ‘to be’. 5. do not say things for which you do not have adequate evidence. do not say what you believe to be false. 2. Thus. make your contribution as informative as required for the purposes of the current exchange. p is a place-holder for their quote names (i. the Cooperative Principle. . by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk-exchange in which we are engaged. p is a variable that ranges over the results of applying quotations marks to the sentences p ranges over. Thus. ‘is’ is the copula in the sentence ‘Edinburgh is beautiful’. If p is a variable that ranges over sentences.



Cosmological role: A notion introduced by Wright. He is concerned with individuating among the areas of discourse which are minimally truth-apt those that can be realistically construed. One of the marks of discourse about which realism can be maintained is that it exhibits wide cosmological role. A discourse, such as that of physics, exhibits wide cosmological role because the putative facts reported by its characteristic claims are invoked in explanations of further facts of other kinds, besides facts about our beliefs or other propositional attitudes. See Cognitive command Further reading: Wright (1992) Count term: For example, ‘dog’ or ‘tree’. These are known as count or countable terms because it makes sense to ask how many of these are present. We can count dogs or trees and state how many of these we wish to talk about. Count terms are contrasted with mass terms such as ‘gold’ or ‘water’. See Criterion of identity or identification; Individuation; Natural kind term; Sortal Counterfactual: A counter to fact conditional such as ‘if the moon were made of cheese, radiation from the sun would melt it’. Counterfactuals always have false antecedents; this is what it means to say that they are counter to fact. Intuitively, some counterfactuals are false, for example, ‘If Napoleon had been Italian, he would have spoken Polish’. Hence, counterfactuals cannot be material conditionals which are true, whenever their antecedents are false. The best-known semantics for counterfactuals has been developed in terms of possible worlds by Lewis. He claims that a counterfactual such as ‘if the moon were made of cheese, radiation from the sun would melt it’ is true if and only if in any possible world in which the antecedent is



true (that is, the moon is made of cheese) and such that it resembles the actual world as much as possible given the truth of the antecedent (that is, it is a world in which the moon is made of cheese but it is otherwise as close as possible to how things actually are), the consequent is also true (that is, radiation from the sun melts the moon). This interpretation treats any counterfactuals with impossible antecedents as vacuously true. See Semantics, possible worlds; Subjunctive conditional Further reading: Lewis (1973) Counterpart: A notion introduced by Lewis in his modal realist theory of possible worlds. For Lewis, each possible world is a concrete universe, completely physically isolated from any other possible world. For Lewis, entities are world-bound; they each exist in only one world. However, entities have counterparts in other worlds. These counterparts are entities existing in other worlds, but which are similar to the entities of which they are counterparts. The notion of being a counterpart is vague, since it has borderline cases. In some worlds two separate entities could both be the most similar to an entity in another world. In some worlds, it might be vague whether or not a given entity has a counterpart at all. In Lewis’s view what makes it true that Gordon Brown could have been the prime minister of the UK in 2005 is the fact that there is a possible world in which Gordon Brown’s counterpart is the prime minister of the counterpart of the UK in 2005. This view has often been met with what Lewis describes as ‘the incredulous stare’. See Modality; Semantics, possible world Further reading: Divers (2002); Lewis (1986b) Criterion of identity or identification: It provides the identity conditions of some object or other. In other words, the



criterion of identity is what allows us to tell for any a or b whether they are the same or different. It has been pointed out that we cannot identify things in the absence of a specification of the kind of thing to which they belong. Such specifications are offered by sortal concepts; these concepts supply the criteria of identity for the individuals falling under them. Thus, the concept apple is a sortal concept and it provides criteria for identifying whether a and b are the same apple or different apples. Mass concepts such as gold also provide identity criteria since they permit the identification of the gold of which a ring is made as the same (or different) gold as that of which the bracelet was made. Thus, there exist identity criteria for gold, although there are no criteria of individuation for gold, since ‘gold’ is not a count term. There are two forms identity criteria might take: one-level and two-level. For example, the criterion for the identity of sets in mathematics is a one-level criterion. It reads: for any two sets X and Y, X is identical with Y if and only if X and Y have the same members. What we have here is a criterion of identity which permits us to tell in all instances whether two sets are the same. It is one-level because the criterion quantifies over the same things for which it supplies a criterion of identity. The criterion of identity supplied by Frege for the identity of directions of lines is, instead, a two-level criterion. It reads: for any two lines a and b, the direction of line a is identical to the direction of line b if and only if lines a and b are parallel. The criterion provides identity conditions for directions by quantifying over lines (rather than their directions), and is therefore a two-level criterion. See Definition; Mass term; Relative identity Further reading: Lowe (1999) Criterion of material adequacy See Convention T



Davidson, Donald (1917–2003): Davidson was an American philosopher, and student of Quine, whose views in the philosophy of mind and language, and of action have been profoundly influential. Davidson’s best-known contributions to the philosophy of language are his theory of meaning as a theory of truth, his notion of radical interpretation, and his rejection of conceptual relativism based on arguments against the existence of conceptual schemes. See Language; Malapropism; Metaphor; Parataxis; Semantics, truth-conditional Further reading: Malpas (2005) De dicto attitude: The kind of attitude ascribed to an individual by means of a de dicto attribution. De dicto attribution: When talking about people’s beliefs, desires and other so-called propositional attitudes we can adopt different ways of ascribing or attributing these attitudes to them. Thus, for instance, we can ascribe to a person, John, the belief that George Orwell is the author of 1984. This is an example of a de dicto ascription because it relates the believer (in this case, John) to a dictum or proposition (in this instance, the proposition that George Orwell is the author of 1984). It must be observed that the occurrence of singular terms in de dicto attributions is opaque. If we substitute ‘Eric Blair’ (George Orwell’s real name) for ‘George Orwell’ in the attribution above we might obtain a false sentence. Since John might not know Orwell’s real name, he might not believe that Eric Blair is the author of 1984. De dicto attributions of this sort are contrasted with de re attributions. Everybody agrees that there are at least two different ways of attributing

It is said to be de dicto when it concerns the modal statuses of propositions. ‘Possibly. However. the sentence is true because it would mean that it is possible that the teacher of Alexander the Great (namely. since it would mean that it is possible that the proposition expressed by ‘The teacher of Alexander the Great is not the teacher of Alexander the Great’ is true. and can be interpreted as expressing more than one proposition. are all examples of de dicto modalities. there is disagreement as to whether these are two ways of talking about the same propositional attitudes. for example. See Opacity. London is the capital of the UK’. Aristotle) might not have been the teacher of Alexander the Great. Read as expressing a de re modal proposition. or whether de dicto attributions are ascriptions of attitudes of a special kind. Propositional attitude reports Further reading: McKay and Nelson (2005) De dicto belief: A belief attributed to an individual by means of a de dicto attribution. the sentence is false.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 39 attitudes. See de re modality Further reading: Plantinga (1974) . the sentence ‘The teacher of Alexander the Great might not have been the teacher of Alexander the Great’ can be read in two ways. like belief and desire. to people. Ordinary modal sentences in English are often ambiguous. De dicto modality: Modality is about necessity and possibility. Thus. The proposition expressed by ‘Necessarily a white wall is white’ is true. and de re attributions are ascriptions of attitudes of another kind. because in every possible world the proposition expressed by ‘a white wall is white’ is true. Read as expressing a de dicto modal proposition. The propositions expressed by the sentences ‘Necessarily a white wall is white’.

Here. about things rather than propositions. despite appearances to the contrary. If they exist. we do not seem to ascribe to John an attitude towards a proposition. If the latter. Supporters of their existence argue that .40 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z De re attitude: Their existence as a special kind of attitude is matter of dispute. that have non-propositional objects. There is an ongoing debate as to whether de re and de dicto attributions are merely two ways of talking about the same propositional attitudes which. De re attribution: Some ascriptions of beliefs and desires appear to relate the person who has the attitude to a nonpropositional object. and de re attitudes. these attitudes are called de re (Latin for about a thing). they are ascribed to an individual by means of de re attributions. the truth-value of the sentence expressing the attribution is not changed. because if we substitute ‘Eric Blair’ (George Orwell’s real name) for ‘George Orwell’ in the attribution above. namely George Orwell. there would exist de dicto attitudes that have propositional objects. John’s belief appears to consist in his attribution of the property of being the author of 1984 to an entity (a res in Latin). always take propositional objects or whether they refer to different kinds of attitudes. or appear to be. and are attributed to individuals by means of de dicto attributions. The occurrence of singular terms in de re attributions is transparent. Instead. Propositional attitude reports Further reading: McKay and Nelson (2005) De re belief: Their existence as a distinct kind of belief is a matter of dispute. and are ascribed to individuals by means of de re attributions. See Extensionality. Because they are. An example is the ascription expressed by saying ‘John believes of George Orwell that he is the author of 1984’.

His argument was driven by strong opposition to essentialism (a commitment to essences). For example. but are to be distinguished also from ordinary de re attitudes. Demonstratives have been thought to have such a sense. ‘the number 2 is necessarily (or essentially) a prime number’. I might subsequently discover that I am that . which is white. might be of a different colour. De re modality: Modality is about necessity and possibility.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 41 de re attributions are ascriptions of a special kind of attitude. ‘Tony Blair is contingently (or possibly) the Prime Minister of the UK in 2006’ all express de re modalities. It is said to be de re when it concerns the modal statuses of the properties of things. It is has been argued by John Perry and others that at least some of these attributions involve attitudes that do not have propositional objects. Further reading: Plantinga (1974) De re sense: A sense (Sinn) or mode of presentation of an object which cannot be entertained if the object does not exist. De re modality is different from de dicto modality. The sentence expressing a de re necessity ‘a white wall is necessarily white’ is false. Ordinary modal sentences in English are often ambiguous and amenable to both de re and de dicto readings. See Singular thought De se attribution: These are ascriptions of beliefs and desires. Quine argued that the notion of de re modality is incoherent. which are about oneself. namely a de re attitude. or other similar attitudes. because the wall. which he thought was a consequence of taking de re modality seriously. Suppose I believe that the person with the torn sack of sugar is making a mess on the floor.

since it seems impossible to capture the content of the belief without using the indexical ‘I’. one needs to compare my belief that Alessandra Tanesini is making a mess. Sentences including definite descriptions with no reference are. and acknowledges that some of them might fail to refer either because there is nothing they stand for or because there is more than one such thing. If I believe that I am making a mess. This is a de se attribution of what seems to be a de se attitude because it is irreducibly about oneself. But then. I will do no such thing unless I also believe that I am Alessandra Tanesini. I believe that Alessandra Tanesini is making a mess. He suggests that a sentence like ‘The King of France is bald’ is . However. Further reading: Perry (1979) Deconstruction See Derrida. the indexical has reappeared.42 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z person. If. ‘the Chelsea player’ could be an example of the second if the context fails to clarify who is the player in question. I now have a new belief that I am making a mess. and my belief that I am making a mess. Jacques Definite description: An expression such as ‘the Queen of England’. Russell treats definite descriptions as quantified expressions. Frege takes definite descriptions to be names. for Frege. if we think of the content of the attitude as that to which we refer in explaining actions. These two might seem to have the same content. I will search for my pack of sugar. or ‘the capital of Wales’. ‘The King of France’ is an example of the first kind of failure. In order to begin to see why this might be the case. instead. these two beliefs differ in content. neither true nor false. In order to avoid taking sentences containing definite descriptions that fail to refer as lacking in truth-value. and thus it would seem possible to explain the object of the second belief as a proposition.

Philosophers have provided different kinds of definitions for words and concepts. ‘(∃x)(∀y){[x is the King of France & (if y is the King of France. Explicit definitions provide a meaning for a word or an expression in isolation. Thus. I can use the expression ‘the man drinking champagne over there is the new president’ and succeed in referring to the given person even though. Contextual definitions account for the meaning of a term by offering an expression which is necessarily equivalent to it but does not belong to the same category as the term to be defined. what he is drinking is actually lemonade. as Donnellan points out. Kripke has offered arguments against these Russellian views. for example. that thing is the King of France and that thing is bald’. Frege relies on the necessary equivalence between sentences about parallel lines . In their referential use definite descriptions can succeed in referring even though nothing literally satisfies the description. there are two uses of definite descriptions: attributive and referential. Thus. Russell also suggests that names such as ‘London’ are in fact definite descriptions in disguise and should be treated in the same manner. It must also be noted that. unmarried man of a marriageable age is an explicit definition of the concept of bachelor. Kripke claims that names are rigid designators and that definite descriptions are not rigid. Thus. then x = y)] & x is bald}’. See Quantifier Further reading McCulloch (1989) Definition: In dictionaries words are defined by means of locutions that explicate the meaning of the definiendum (the term to be defined). That is.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 43 to be read as ‘There is at least one thing and there is at most one thing such that. unknown to me. In its attributive use the description refers to the one thing that satisfies the description or otherwise fails to refer.

however. Deflationists about fact-talk deny that the notion of a fact has any metaphysical weight. Thus. See Truth.44 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z and about sameness of direction to offer a contextual definition of the concept of the direction of line a. Deflationists do not jettison the vocabulary they deflate. committed to denying that the talk they deflate can play any genuine explanatory role of the kind which would require the existence of the metaphysics they reject. Early analytic philosophers such as Russell and Moore take a philosophical definition to provide an analysis of the term to be defined. for instance. Deflationism: To take a deflationist approach to a certain kind of talk is to deny that it refers to entities or properties with a substantive metaphysical nature. instead. and he uses this fact to define ‘the direction of line a’ as identical to ‘the direction of line b if and only if a is parallel to b’. deflationists about truth-talk deny that the word ‘true’ refers to a property with a substantive nature. most philosophers take demonstratives to be of . Deflationists are. For this reason. Sentences containing demonstratives and demonstrative phrases are used in different contexts to refer to different things. they often acknowledge that it is very useful. It also includes demonstrative phrases such as ‘that woman’. The most popular form of deflationism is that which takes truth-talk as its target. Frege notes that ‘line a is parallel to line b’ is necessarily equivalent to ‘the direction of line a is identical to the direction of line b’. deflationary theories of Deictic term See Indexical Demonstrative: A linguistic category that includes the pronouns ‘this’ and ‘that’.

require something from the speaker.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 45 a kind with indexical terms such as ‘I’. instead. who modelled it on Russell’s distinction between knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description. The reference of pure indexicals such as ‘I’ or ‘today’ is. The same terminology was employed by Evans in a very influential discussion of these topics. See Dthat. we can identify (and re-identify) an object by seeing. Once the object has been identified in any of these ways. Kaplan. fixed automatically without any need for the speaker to point to or have an intention directed toward anything. The main difference between demonstratives and other indexicals lies in the manner in which their reference in a given context is determined. he or she is not referring to anything by their use of ‘that’. See Demonstrative thought. If a person says ‘that is big’ without pointing to anything or thinking of anything. we can track and recognise objects by being perceptually acquainted with them. two ways of identifying objects so that they become available for thought. broadly speaking. and offer very similar accounts for both. David Further reading: Braun (2001) Demonstrative identification: There are. That is. touching or listening to it. First. Second. Demonstratives. to have their reference fixed. These are all examples of demonstrative identification of an object. it becomes possible to have thoughts about it. Russell’s principle Further reading: Evans (1982) . such as ‘this’ and ‘that’. This second way of making an object available for thought is called ‘descriptive identification’. we can identify an object by means of a description that applies to that object. such as a gesture or at least an intention. This terminology was developed by Strawson. ‘here’ and ‘now’.

whose work has been mostly negatively received by AngloAmerican philosophers. Jean-Jacques (1930–2004): Derrida was a controversial French philosopher. Thus. See Demonstrative identification. Russell’s principle. Derrida tried to resist any . Singular thought Further reading: McCulloch (1989) Denotation: Russell’s name for the mode of reference of definite descriptions. See Extension Derrida. Derrida’s early work was primarily concerned with the structuralist tradition in linguistics initiated by Saussure. and the phenomenological tradition initiated by Edmund Husserl. father of deconstruction. Bush. In the course of this work. An utterance of ‘that [while listening to Red Rum’s bray] is a horse’ expresses a different thought about Red Rum because it has as a constituent an aural presentation of Red Rum. Thus.46 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Demonstrative thought: A thought that has as a constituent a demonstrative (typically perceptual) mode of presentation of the object which the thought is about. for example. Derrida developed a kind of methodology that has been labelled ‘deconstruction’. the definite description. one utterance of the sentence ‘that [while pointing to Red Rum] is a horse’ expresses a demonstrative thought which involves a visual presentation of Red Rum. ‘the President of the US in 2005’ is said to denote George W. He then expanded his critical work to include a variety of essays on many philosophical and literary figures. independently of any account one might wish to give of the nature of such thoughts. Occasionally. Descriptive thought. the expression ‘demonstrative thought’ is used simply to refer to thoughts expressed by sentences containing a demonstrative.

Derrida does appear to have some views about linguistic meaning. but are always deferred. This is an idea that Derrida expresses by saying that meanings are never fully present. he takes meaningfulness to be always a matter of extrinsic properties or relations. meanings are never fully determinate. However. Although any attempt to extract ordinary philosophical theories from Derrida’s books is probably bound to be out of step with the purposes served by those works. and still count as tokenings of the same type. A famous example of deconstruction is Derrida’s treatment of the opposition of writing and speech. where a binary opposition is treated in the text as exhaustive and mutually exclusive. See Diff´ rance e Further reading: Wheeler III (2000) . so that the two opposing terms are shown to be interdependent rather than mutually exclusive. Derrida’s starting point is the denial of intrinsic or original intentionality. Instead. New tokenings can differ in some of their semantic properties from previous tokenings. Central to this thought is the notion of iterability. Deconstruction so understood consists in searching for a binary opposition in a text. The deconstructive approach proceeds by showing that the privileged term in these oppositions actually presupposes the rejected or despised term. since these chains of tokenings are never ending. To say that a sign is iterable is to say that it can be repeated. but such readings are hard to avoid. He appears to hold with Davidson that all interpretation is radically indeterminate. The meaning of the sign would be determined by the whole chain of its tokens. and the underprivileged term is shown to play a pivotal role in a text that explicitly excludes or devalues it. and that its repetition consists in the production of another tokening of the same type.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 47 proceduralist reading of his methodology.

Third.48 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Description theory of reference: The view according to which names are abbreviations of definite descriptions. many people cannot provide a description which would uniquely identify the bearer of the name. Fourth. the Queen of England is the Queen of England’ is true. and also against a more sophisticated version of it known as the cluster theory of reference. These descriptions provide the sense of the name and determine what the name refers to. names cannot be completely eliminated in favour of descriptions. Fifth. First. His modal argument states that names cannot be abbreviations for (clusters of) definite descriptions because names behave differently from descriptions in modal contexts. The classical formulation of the position was developed by Russell who takes names such as ‘Aristotle’ to be abbreviations of a definite description such as ‘the teacher of Alexander’. Kripke explains this modal phenomenon by arguing that names are rigid designators. In other words. Second. the theory cannot cope with the fact that people often associate more than one description with the same name. it must single the bearer out. some people might provide a description which is not even true of the bearer of the name. but if the description is meant to identify the bearer. people might still succeed in referring to something or somebody even though they are confused about what or who it is. whilst descriptions are not. since different people associate different descriptions with the same name. Elizabeth II is the Queen of England’ is false. Many descriptions contain names which can only be substituted . ‘Necessarily. the theory has the odd consequence that the name has different meanings for different persons. However. Kripke raised some serious objections against this view. ‘Necessarily. Kripke also provides several non-modal considerations which militate against the description theory.

Once the object is thus identified we can have descriptive thoughts about it. In descriptive identification we identify an object or person (say. Descriptive thought: A thought that has as a constituent a descriptive (typically expressible by means of a definite description) mode of presentation of the object or objects which the thought is about. Gottlob Further reading: McCulloch (1989) Descriptive identification: One of two ways of identifying objects so that they become available for thought. Tony Blair. It is often cashed out in terms of truth conditions by saying that the descriptive meaning of a sentence is given by the conditions that must obtain if the sentence is to be true. Andrews is American. Andrews). the sort of thing which is expressible by a definite description that uniquely applies to that object or person (say. Tiger Woods) in terms of a description. See Causal theory of reference. as it happens. Evans (1982) Descriptive meaning: The factual meaning of an expression or a sentence. The other is demonstrative identification. the winner of the 2005 Open at St. Thus. Non-cognitivism about an area of discourse (such as ethics) denies that indicative sentences that belong to that area have descriptive or factual meanings. See Evans. their role would be to express some form of non-cognitive attitude. normally. the sentence ‘The Prime Minister of the UK in 2004 was a man’ expresses a descriptive thought about. Gareth Further reading: McCulloch (1989). This . Frege.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 49 with descriptions which contain further names. Some of these difficulties are not a problem for supporters of the cluster theory. Instead. such as the thought that the winner of the 2005 Open at St.

50 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z thought has as a constituent a descriptive presentation which uniquely identifies Tony Blair as the sole individual that fits the description of being in 2004 the Prime Minister of the UK. Descriptive identification Further reading: McCulloch (1989) Designated truth-value: An expression used in logic to indicate the truth-value or values which are preserved in valid inferences. Diff´ rance is a nece essary condition for the possibility of ordinary difference. Derrida’s notion is greatly indebted to Plato’s discussion of difference in the context of the problem of universals. there is no meaning or sense that mediates between the name and its bearer. in classical logic the only designated truth-value is the true. the name . there might be more than one designated truth-value. However. That is. The odd typography purports to point to a difference with a difference in spelling which is inaudible in the French pronunciation. See Predication Direct reference: Usually understood as the view. Occasionally. Derrida’s notion is intended to address the same problem in the context of the relation between one universal type and the many tokens which instantiate it. according to this position. Diff´ rance: A notion coined by the French philosopher e Jacques Derrida. a logic that admits the values true. in logics that admit of more than two truth-values. false and indeterminate. Instead. Thus. independently of any account one might wish to give of the nature of such thoughts. See Demonstrative thought. that the meaning of a name is the object it refers to. allegedly first formulated by John Stuart Mill. the expression ‘descriptive thought’ is used simply to refer to the thoughts expressed by sentences containing a definite descriptions. for example.

PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 51 directly refers to the object. its supporters must deny that the sentence ‘Mark Twain is an author’ differs in meaning from the sentence ‘Samuel Clemens is an author’. however. Recently. Kaplan’s definition of direct reference. has some highly implausible consequences. In their view since ‘Mark Twain’ and ‘Samuel Clemens’ are two names for the same person. As a result. these two sentences have the same meaning. This same kind of state. Reference. and its doing so constitutes the whole contribution of the name to the meanings of the sentences in which it occurs. is slightly different from the one provided in this entry. This view. Kaplan has suggested that. Structured proposition Further reading: Salmon (2005) Disjunction problem: A difficulty for various forms of indicator semantics. besides names. But suppose that whenever one person is in the presence of rabbits she forms a mental state of a given kind. For instance. this person is not very good at telling hares from rabbits just by looking at them. although these modes of presentation would have to be causal and not descriptive. demonstratives (such as ‘this’ and ‘that’) and indexicals (such as ‘here’. which has recently been revived due to the problems faced by the description theory of reference. a kind of mental state represents a certain kind of thing if and only if that kind of mental state is reliably causally connected to things of that kind. The theory of direct reference must be distinguished from the causal theory of reference. is also had by that person when she reads about rabbits in books. ‘now’) also might have direct reference. Even supporters of a purely causal version of the latter could admit that names have senses or modes of presentation as well as referents. However. According to this view. See Frege’s puzzle. . Sense. call it R-state.

See Categorical predicate . glass is fragile even when it is not broken. Other supporters of indicator semantics attempt to address this issue by relying on the idea of teleological function.52 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z her R-mental states are also reliably causally correlated with hares. Others provide more metaphysically weighty accounts of dispositions as causal powers. But indicator semantics would commit one to saying that this person has mental states that represent the disjunction: either rabbit or hare. She forms a mental representation of a rabbit when she is in the presence of a hare. glass is fragile. This approach is known as teleosemantics. This problem is related to general difficulties for indicator semantics raised by the idea of misrepresentation. something has a disposition to do something G if and only if were it to be put in some specific conditions. and sugar would be soluble in water even if there were no water on earth to dissolve it. fragility. Everybody agrees that entities have dispositional properties even when these are not manifested. This is to say that if glass were to be struck. More generally. it would break. Thus. These powers would explain why the entities that have them behave as they do. ch. 5 Disposition: Examples of dispositions are solubility. Further reading: Crane (2003). Intuitively. Those who think that there is not much more than this to dispositions subscribe to a conditional analysis of dispositions. magnetism. it would do G. Thus. minimally to attribute a dispositional property to a thing is to say that some conditionals hold true of that thing. For example. it has a disposition to break. Jerry Fodor’s theory of asymmetric dependence was developed as an answer to this problem. we want to say that this person sometimes mistakes a hare for a rabbit.

According to this account we should ignore facts about how speakers are disposed to use the expression in less than ideal conditions. The idea that somebody might be systematically disposed to make mistakes when they use a given expression makes sense. If it were so determined. Fodor’s account of meaning in terms of asymmetric dependence has also being taken by some as a dispositionalist reply to Kripke’s sceptic. ch. while in fact it is perfectly intelligible. disquotational theory of . so the meaning of an expression is not determined by the speakers’ actual dispositions to use that expression.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 53 Dispositionalism: Supporters of this view argue. that facts about semantic meanings can be explained in terms of dispositional facts about language use. 6 Disquotation: A device that cancels out the effect of the quotation marks. A crude dispositional account of meaning that equates meaning with actual dispositions to use the relevant expressions is clearly doomed to failure. See Ramsey sentence. See Truth. This kind of sophisticated dispositionalist can make sense of systematic error. but faces the difficult problem of specifying in a non-question-begging way what conditions count as ideal or optimal. contra Kripke’s meaning scepticism. the idea that speakers can make systematic mistakes would have to be unintelligible. A more sophisticated version of dispositionalism sees meaning as determined by facts about how speakers in ideal conditions would be disposed to use the expression. Rule-following Further reading: Miller (1998). It has been suggested that one way of meeting this objection is by the adoption of the Ramsey– Lewis style of reductive explanation.

the quantifiers of ordinary logic are unrestricted. among other things. Dummett reads Frege as. A demonstrative is a word whose reference varies according to the context of utterance. which could be a gesture of pointing to one thing. Dthat: A new word. coined by Kaplan. For Dummett. which means that they range over everything whatsoever. He is best known for his work on the philosophy of Frege. See Interpretation Donnellan. Famously. Similarly. or a sort of inner pointing (an intention directed towards one thing). For instance. which is stipulated to function as a true demonstrative. Modal operators range over that domain. Donnellan is credited with making the distinction between referential and attributive uses of definite descriptions. a philosopher of language who developed a semantics based on the two notions of sense and reference (Bedeutung). a realist . This is to say that anything at all is included in the domain. See Indexical Dummett. Michael (1925–): A British philosopher who spent his teaching career at Oxford University. Keith (1931–): He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of California. The reference of the demonstrative in context is partly determined by a demonstration.54 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Domain: In logic and semantics this is the collection of things or abstract entities over which the operators and quantifiers range and which constitute the input of functions. Los Angeles (UCLA). the domain of possible world semantics is the collection or set of all possible worlds. Dummett also argued that the whole debate between realism and anti-realism is best understood in semantic rather than metaphysical terms.

Dummett has also written extensively on causality and on the philosophy of mathematics. It was rotten and yellow’. in this instance ‘The thing picked up by John’. whose obtaining does not outstrip or transcend verification. hold. Dummett developed two arguments. and there will never be any evidence. Verification transcendence Further reading: Weiss (2002) E E-type pronoun: One kind of anaphoric use of pronouns. . E-type pronouns can be substituted by a noun-phrase constructed from the context. hold. known as the acquisition argument and the manifestation argument.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 55 about a certain area of discourse – e. that sentences in that area are true when some conditions.. as to whether or not this situation obtained. Wright has refined some of Dummett’s insights about the nature of the debate between realism and anti-realism. Thus. a realist about the past will say that the sentence ‘Caesar sneezed 10 minutes before crossing the Rubicon’ is true if and only if he did sneeze at that point. In recent years.g. An example is ‘it’ in ‘John picked something up. See Anaphora Ellipsis: An expression is said to be elliptical when some parts of it have been intentionally omitted. against realism. The anti-realist about a given area of discourse claims. See Communicability argument. the past – claims that sentences in that area are true only when conditions. whose obtaining might not be even in principle verifiable. even though there is now no available evidence. instead.

Noncognitivism Further reading: Ayer (1946) Empiricism: Early modern empiricists. Supporters of emotivism in ethics take talk about morality to be of this nature. They do not express beliefs and are not capable of being either true or false. claimed all knowledge is ultimately derived from experience. They claim that elucidation is akin to a clarification of logically primitive notions that cannot be defined. Emotive utterances: Utterances whose purpose is to express emotions and solicit the same emotions in others. They also denied the existence of any innate ideas or principles. Frege–Geach problem. like Locke. that moral judgements serve only to express emotions or sentiments of approval or disapproval. held by Ayer among others. ‘Boo! Murder’. . to say that murder is wrong is tantamount to expressing one’s disapproval of murder which could be equally expressed by saying. which despite appearances to the contrary for Frege fails to say anything about concepts. The process of elucidation is meant to involve the employment of nonsense sentences such as ‘Concepts are predicative expression’. have taken this notion to have a quasi-technical meaning. According to this view. for example. The term is sometimes used also to refer to the weaker thesis that experience is an indispensable source of knowledge. Emotivism: The view.56 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z ¨ Elucidation (Erlauterung): Some recent interpreters of Frege and Wittgenstein. More recently supporters of logical positivism claim that. the only sentences that are meaningful are those capable of being empirically verified or falsified. such as James Conant. with the exception of a priori truths and falsehoods. See Expressivism.

Equivalence class: A class of individuals related by an equivalence relation. Thus. the same income as. so that all the individuals in each class have the same income as that of all other individuals in that same class. for example.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 57 Entailment: Arguably the central notion in logic. and between b and c. Using the language of possible worlds. A proposition or propositions is said to entail some other or others when the latter proposition or propositions follow necessarily from the former proposition or group thereof. the propositions all mammals have lungs and whales are mammals entail the proposition whales have lungs. the individual members of each class are equivalent to each other with respect to income level. In this case. Jane. it also holds between a and c). all the human beings in the world can be partitioned into equivalence classes based on their individual income. symmetrical (if it holds between an object a and another object b. Equivalence relation: A relation such as having the same mass as. Thus. it also holds between b and a) and transitive (if it holds between a and b. .. Further. which is reflexive (it holds between an object and itself). having the same income as is an equivalence relation because any person has the same income as himself or herself. i. or the same number of members as. Enthymeme: An argument in which one or more premises are left implicit. Thus. if a person – let us call him ‘Bob’ – has the same income as another – say. Jane – then the second person. There is no agreement about which among different formal relations provides the correct understanding of the ordinary notion of entailment. A entails B is interpreted as saying that B is true in all possible worlds in which A is true. for example.e.

Finally. and numbers do not exist. Error-theory: A position about the status of a whole area of discourse. By contrast. it does not follow that Jane is taller than Bob (quite the contrary). then Bob has the same income as Jake. being taller than is not an equivalence relation because it is not symmetrical since if Bob is taller than Jane. first a student and subsequently a lecturer at Oxford University. It is the view that the atomic statements in that area aim to describe facts. who held that all the atomic ethical statements are false because there are no ethical facts. made several important contributions to the . Identity is an equivalence relation. since these facts do not obtain. Evans. Gareth (1946–80): Despite his early death. More recently. Mackie (1977) Eternal sentence: A sentence whose truth-value remains fixed at all times and for every speaker. See Equivalence class. Field has argued that all atomic statements of arithmetic are false because they aim to describe facts about numbers. Field (1980). all these statements are false.58 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z has the same income as the first. but. Relative identity Equivocation: A fallacy of reasoning that arises when a term or a phrase is used with two or more different meanings. such as ‘copper oxide is green’. See Cognitivism Further reading: Miller (2005). The first theory of this kind was developed by Mackie. namely Bob. if Bob has the same income as Jane. and Jane has the same income as Jake. Evans. Eternal sentences are contrasted with occasion sentences such as ‘that is copper oxide’ whose truth-value can change depending on the occasion of utterance.

Excluded middle holds because the negations of these sentences are true. law of: The law that states that for each proposition either that proposition or its negation is true. This law should not be confused with bivalence. It is symbolised by the schema: A ∨ ¬ A. Austin includes orders and commands in this broader category. In the same book Evans developed analyses of the notions of singular thought and of non-conceptual content. Russell’s principle Evidence transcendence See Verification transcendence Excluded middle. See Bivalence Exercitive: A term coined by Austin for a type of (illocutionary) speech act which consists in the exercise of power or assertion of influence. Expositive: A term coined by Austin for a type of (illocutionary) speech act which consists in the clarifying of reasons .PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 59 philosophy of language. He exposed some problems for a crude causal theory and put forward a defence for mixed theories that recognised the importance of both descriptive and demonstrative modes of identification. The sacking of an employee by uttering the words ‘You are fired’. See Argument from below. which states that every proposition is either true or false. the adjournment of the meeting by uttering ‘the meeting is adjourned’ are all exercitives. In his posthumously published book Varieties of Reference (1982) Evans made several important contributions to the theory of reference. There are logical systems in which excluded middle holds because any sentence of the form A ∨ ¬ A is a theorem and yet bivalence fails because the system admits of sentences which are neither true nor false.

The extension of a word is contrasted with its intension. but aim instead to express something. Thus. the concession of a point by saying ‘I see’ or ‘Oh. Expressivist accounts have been developed especially for discourse about morals and aesthetics. yes’. ‘London is a busy city’ is an extensional context since the substitution of ‘the capital of the UK’ for ‘London’ does not alter the truth-value of the whole. Thus. and yet it might be true that John believes that Venus is a planet.60 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z and the conducting of arguments. Expressivism: A family of views according to which judgements about a given area of discourse do not purport to describe facts. typically an emotion or a feeling of approval and disapproval. See Emotivism. some parts of natural languages do not seem extensional. the extension of a predicate is the collection of things to which it applies. The evening star is the planet Venus. and the extension of a sentence is its truth-value. For example. Notoriously. according to which whether an individual has . the extension of a singular term is its referent. Non-cognitivism Further reading: Miller (2003). Frege–Geach problem. chs 3–5 Extension: What a word stands for. are expositives. and the introduction of a quotation by saying ‘Quote’. Extensional context: A linguistic context within which expressions with the same extension can be substituted for each other without a change to the truth-value of the whole sentence (salva veritate). See Frege’s puzzles. Propositional attitude reports Externalism: A view primarily about the individuation of properties. and false that John believes that the evening star is a planet.

and false of the other. their thoughts have a common narrow content which can be characterised by saying that they think that the glass contains some of the odourless. But they also have different broad contents since the earthling has a thought which is true if and only if there is water in the glass and the twin has a thought which is true if and only if there is twater in the glass. In the philosophy of mind and language externalism is a view about what individuates mental and linguistic contents. colourless stuff that fills the lakes. Others. or alternatively have argued that each mental state has two kinds of content. narrow content. They would thus be analogous to states such as being sunburnt which is a state of the skin that is partly individuated in terms of what lies outside the skin. Externalism would be true of one kind of content. Thus. strong externalists. The classical arguments in favour of externalism are Putnam’s Twin Earth example and Burge’s arthritis example. See Internalism Further reading: Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996) . broad content. claim that the psychological states themselves partly lie outside the subject whose states they are. Externalists argue that facts about the environment external to the subject contribute to the determination of the contents of that subject’s mental states and to the meanings of the subject’s utterances. since being caused by the sun is what makes a sunburn what it is. when the earthling and his twin have thoughts which they would express by uttering the words ‘there is water in the glass’.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 61 a property of a given kind depends at least in part on facts which are external to the individual in question. Critics of these arguments have either denied the intuitions Putnam and Burge rely on. Some externalists think of psychological states as internal states of the subject whose individuation conditions lay partly outside the subject.

See Designated truth-value Family-resemblance: A notion introduced by Wittgenstein in the Philosophical Investigations (1953) to explain concepts such as that of (game). Wittgenstein points out that there are no features that all and only games have in common. while others. If it is inductive. then it might lead from true premises to a false conclusion. Thus. despite being truth-apt. the use of a ball connects these games with . fall short of stating an objective fact. they might say that to call something a fact is nothing more than saying that we claim something to be true when we state it. In their view a fact is just a shadow of a true claim. Other philosophers give ontological weight to the notion of a fact. Truth aptness Fallacy: A fallacious argument is one that is not valid. basketball and soccer are related by being ball games involving more than one team. See Deflationism. Some philosophers go even further and invoke a metaphysically heavy-duty notion of fact to explain the idea of a truthmaker. Thus.62 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z F Fact: Some philosophers deflate this notion. These philosophers insist that only some true assertions are genuinely factual. See Validity Falsity: The opposite of truth. What makes all games instances of the concept is a looser set of relations which holds between various examples of games. If the argument is deductive. In classical logic it is expressed by the non-designated truth-value: false. the premises do not offer sufficient evidence in favour of the truth of the conclusion.

there will be features shared among some of them and other features some of those might share with yet other members. supporters of fictionalism also hold that these false claims play a useful role. and the use of cards connects bridge to patience games with cards. and that therefore this kind of discourse should be preserved despite its falsity. The expression ‘“Fido”-Fido Principle’ was coined by Gilbert Ryle. in the same way in which members of a family do not necessarily share the same features. thought as abstract individuals. The other two are sense and tone. A supporter of the principle would treat general words like ‘dog’ or ‘triangle’ as names for the universals dog-eity or triangularity. such as morality or folk psychology. fictionalism is a kind of error-theory. Force: This notion was first introduced by Frege as one of three ingredients of meaning as ordinarily understood. namely Fido. Score-keeping links soccer to bridge.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 63 tennis but also with children’s games involving bouncing a ball against a wall. ‘Fido’-Fido principle: The principle followed by theories of meaning that treat all linguistic expressions as if they were names. Fictionalism: A view that can be held about different areas of discourse. and so forth. Thus. Thus. Further reading: Dummett (1981) . However. The central tenet of the view is that its supporters take atomic sentences belonging to an area of discourse to be literally and systematically false. A name like ‘Fido’ gets its meaning by referring to an individual. Force is the pragmatic component that makes an utterance of a sentence an instance of an assertion or a question or a command.

He is also widely held as the founder of contemporary formal logic.64 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Free variable See Variable Frege. Frege also develops the notion of a truth function such as ‘and’ or ‘not’ which takes truth-values as arguments and yields truth-values as values. The programme has faced enormous difficulties because of the discovery of paradoxes. his work has had an enormous influence on contemporary analytic philosophy of language and of mathematics. Predicates stand for functions which take objects as arguments and yield truth-values (truth or falsity) as their values. and objects are their arguments. and generates a falsehood in all other cases. logicians had no means to deal with sentences. his most important contribution not just to philosophy but to all areas of knowledge. arguably. In mathematics Frege offered a definition of number and developed a logicist programme aimed at reducing all arithmetical truths to logical truths. Gottlob (1848–1925): Frege was a mathematician who spent his whole academic career at the University of Jena. Using the language of functions and objects. Frege’s most important contributions to contemporary philosophy of language are his distinctions between concept and object. Relatively unknown in his lifetime. Frege employs the mathematical notions of function and argument to develop a language of logic which he called ‘concept-script’ (Begriffsschrift). Concepts are a kind of function. including multiple generalities such as ‘everybody loves somebody’. Concepts . ‘and’ generates a truth when it conjoins two truths. Proper names stand for objects. known as set-theoretical paradoxes. those with only one argument. Frege developed the notion of a universal quantifier which allowed him to express such generalities. Before Frege. and between sense and reference. For instance. affecting the commonsensical notion of a class or collection of items.

Frege (1892a and 1892b) Frege–Geach problem: A problem for all forms of noncognitivism. ‘If John comes home today. The emotivist owes an account of these uses.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 65 are the referents of predicates. to (C) genocide is wrong . are free-standing. besides their referents. the inference from (1) murder is wrong and (2) if murder is wrong. These senses are the constituents of the thoughts which are expressed by the sentences of which names and predicates are parts. then genocide is also wrong’ I am expressing my disapproval of murder. who attributed its development to Frege. and objects are the referents of proper names. An example is: ‘If murder is wrong. Thus. then genocide is also wrong’. then genocide is also wrong. The emotivist does not merely face the problem of providing some account of these embedded uses of moral discourse. I am not claiming that John is coming home today. Both proper names and predicates also have. senses. the emotivist cannot plausibly say that by saying ‘If murder is wrong. He cannot claim that in this example one is also merely evincing one’s disapproval of murder because we use conditional sentences such as these without committing ourselves to endorsing their antecedents. the account also needs to be such that the apparent validity of inferences involving moral discourse is respected. See Frege’s puzzles Further reading: Dummett (1981). Supporters of emotivism hold that to state that murder is wrong is equivalent to evincing one’s feeling of disapproval of murder by uttering ‘Boo! murder’. Geach points out that in moral discourse not all uses of sentences. some uses are embedded in more complex constructions. For instance. The problem as it affects emotivism was first discussed by Geach. I will bake a cake’. such as ‘murder is wrong’. if I say. Similarly.

2 Frege’s puzzles: First formulated in Gottlob Frege’s seminal article ‘On Sense and Meaning’ (1892a). the meaning of ‘murder is wrong’ in (1) and (2) must be the same. All other forms of non-cognitivism face what is structurally the same problem. Blackburn (1984) ch. Hence. Frege’s exclusive concern was with what in contemporary parlance is called the ‘semantic value’ of an expression. In other words. chs 3–5. Frege’s early account of language could not explain the difference between these identity statements because it focused exclusively on the truth-value of sentences and the contributions that the names and predicates in those sentences made to the determination of those truth-values. it can be valid only if it involves no equivocation. The statements themselves have the same semantic value. The second puzzle concerns propositional attitude reports and is only briefly addressed in Frege’s article. . Frege notes that identity statements such as ‘the evening star is the evening star’ and ‘the morning star is the evening star’ have different cognitive significance. truth. In order to ascertain the truth of the first we do not need to look at the sky. See Quasi-realism Further reading: Miller (2003). However. If we focus only on semantic values there is no difference between the two identity statements. But now the problem for the emotivist appears insurmountable. since he cannot give for the expression ‘murder is wrong’ as it appears in (2) the kind of emotivist account he wanted to give for its free-standing use in (1). 6.66 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z seems perfectly valid. the first puzzle concerns identity statements and constitutes the primary focus of the article. namely. and yet he also needs to attribute to the expression the same meaning in both cases. but the second expresses a substantial astronomical discovery.

He noted that a sentence like ‘John believes that the evening star is the evening star’ could be true and yet the sentence ‘John believes that the morning star is the evening star’ be false. because Venus (which is the semantic value of ‘the evening star’) is identical with Venus (i. and yet the truth-values of the sentences which differ only with respect to these clauses are different.. In order to explain the difference between the two statements Frege introduces the notion of the sense or mode of presentation associated with an expression. They present the object differently. The second is true. because they present it respectively as the last star to disappear in the morning and as the first to appear in the evening.e. the two sentences used in the statements above are said by Frege to differ in cognitive significance because they express different thoughts. but have different senses. Thus. Thus. because Venus (which is the semantic value of ‘the morning star’) is identical with Venus (i.e. Frege took examples like this one to show that the that-clauses in sentences such as these two contribute something other than their truth-value to the truth-value of the whole sentence in which they figure.. They cannot contribute their truth-values because those are the same. there is no difference between the two statements with regard to their semantic values or those of their parts. Frege proposed as a solution to the puzzle that in these contexts the thatclauses have indirect reference. is the semantic value of ‘the evening star’). and this reference is their . for Frege the two identity statements have different senses because they include names with different senses. Frege used the same distinction between sense and reference to solve a puzzle concerning propositional attitude reports. The names ‘the morning star’ and ‘the evening star’ refer to the same object. the thought expressed by the sentence. is the semantic value of ‘the evening star’). Hence.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 67 The first is true. Frege calls the sense of a sentence.

(2) a biological function is the purpose of a biological entity. and the value is 5. Intensional context.68 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z ordinary sense. the arguments are 2 and 3. Propositional attitude reports. See Direct reference. ‘Gavagai’ is an expression used by some imaginary natives whose language Quine imagines we need to translate from scratch. it is no surprise that the truth-values of the complex sentences are also different. For instance. This use of the teleological notion of design should be ultimately understood in evolutionary non-teleological terms. Thus. The natives use the expression when a rabbit is present. pumping blood is the function of the heart. since these thoughts differ. Quine points out that the expression can equally be translated as ‘there . Consequently. and many different solutions are being proposed. addition is the function. See teleosemantics G Game See Language-game Gavagai: This expression figures in Quine’s arguments for the indeterminacy of translation. Both puzzles are still widely discussed. the contributions made by these clauses to the overall truth or falsity of the sentences in which they appear are the different thoughts expressed by the clauses. Thought Further reading: Frege (1892a). in ‘2 + 3 = 5’. For instance. because this is what the heart is designed to do. Function: There are at least two distinct notions of function currently in use among philosophers: (1) a mathematical or logical function is an operation that takes arguments as its inputs and produces values as outputs.

Generative grammar: A notion developed by Chomsky to indicate the recursive. ‘water’ are all general terms. Natural kind term. Peter T. 3. Grasping a thought: For Frege. ‘apple’. He has made numerous contributions to philosophical logic. See Mass term. Grammar: A notion more commonly used by linguists rather than philosophers. general terms can appear in the predicative position prefixed by the copula. the philosophy of language and the philosophy of religion. See Stimulus meaning Geach. context-free rules that govern the deep structure of the language faculty and generate all phrase structures. they are what contemporary philosophers mean by ‘propositions’. What is characteristic of them is their role in predication. (1916–): A British philosopher who was for many years professor of philosophy at the University of Leeds. Chomsky in particular has argued for the existence of a universal grammar. See Frege–Geach problem. ch. for his theory of relative identity and for his work on the theory of reference. Hence. a generative grammar and a transformational grammar.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 69 is a rabbit’ or ‘there is an undetached rabbit part’ among other things. He is famous for his work on medieval and Aristotelian logic. Unlike singular terms. Sortal Further reading: Quine (1960). thoughts are abstract entities. thoughts are not psychological . Predicable Gedanke See Thought Generality: ‘Woman’.

Perlocutionary intention H Hermeneutics: The term is now used to refer to a specific approach to the study of the interpretation of texts. although the etymology of the term refers to interpretation in general. Grice himself attempts to reduce linguistic meaning (which he identifies as a kind of non-natural meaning) to speaker meaning. Natural meaning.70 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z entities. communicative intention theory of. California in the late 1960s. See Meaning. H. Among the founders of the hermeneutical . P. He calls this phenomenon ‘conversational implicature’ and provides a theory of it in terms of conversational maxims governing all conversations. He is the founder of psychological approaches to the theory of linguistic meaning. Since Grice sees language primarily as a means to communicate one’s thoughts to others. See Platonism Grice. but he used the expression ‘grasping a thought’ to convey the idea that thoughts as propositions exist even when they have never been thought or grasped by any human being. he also develops an account of what is conveyed in conversation by implication without being explicitly stated. His work has been extremely influential in bringing about a shift of focus away from language towards thought as the primary bearer of meaning. Frege never explained satisfactorily how we are capable of having knowledge of thoughts. (1913–88): Grice began his career at Oxford University but moved to Berkeley. He also analyses what a speaker means by his or her words on one occasion of utterance in terms of the speaker’s communicative intention.

The meaning of each part of the text depends on the meaning of the whole and the meaning of the whole depends on each part. the meaning of an expression depends on the meanings of other expressions. Thus. Further reading: Ramberg and Gjesdal (2005) Holism: A family of views according to which whether something has a given property is a matter of its relations to other items. Further reading: Peacocke (1999) Homonymy: The relation that holds between two different words that just happen to be written in the same way. See Indeterminacy of translation. Radical interpretation . The fact that they have distinct etymologies shows that what we have here are two distinct words rather than an ambiguous word with more than one meaning. One of the tenets of the approach is the idea that the parts and the whole of a text stand in a special relation of co-dependence. for instance ‘bank’ as in river bank and ‘bank’ as in money bank are homonyms in English. if meanings are holistically individuated. Thus. The opposite of holism is sometimes called atomism. As a result interpretation involves hermeneutic circles requiring the reader to go back and forth between the whole and its parts. and interpreted to mean what the same words mean for the interpreter. Their words are taken at face value. Homophonic translation: The preferred approach to a translation or interpretation of the utterances of other speakers of our language.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 71 approach to reading and interpretation are Friedrich Schleiermacher and Wilhelm Dilthey.

For example. The terminology was introduced by Peirce. It states that when interpreting others we should attribute to them the thoughts we would have if we were in their circumstances. possessed their sensory apparatus and lived through their life.72 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Humanity. where. An example is provided by belief and other propositional attitude contexts. hypostatisation is the fallacy of treating something which is not a thing or an object as if it were one. (2) The term is also used to refer to theories that take propositions to be basic entities. a person that thinks of justice as an abstract entity which is named by the word ‘justice’ would be guilty of this fallacy. which are not reducible to constructions out of possible worlds. A picture is an example of an icon. due to John’s ignorance. ‘John believes all triangles have three sides’ is false. I Icon: In semiotics. for instance. supporters of sophisticated dispositionalism . for example. Idealisation: The process of abstraction from actual limitations in order to consider ideal conditions. See structured proposition Hypostatisation: Also known as reification. Hyperintensionality: (1) Linguists use the term to indicate contexts in which expressions with the same intensions are not intersubstitutable salva veritate. ‘John believes all triangles have three angles’ might be true but. an icon is a sign that represents by resembling what it is a sign for. principle of: It is preferred by some philosophers to the principle of charity. which is to say if we had had their upbringing. Thus.

Illocutionary act: is defined by Austin as an act of saying something (locutionary act) with a certain force. then a has a property if and only if b also has it. because whenever it holds between a and b there cannot be another equivalence relation which does not hold between that a and b. In his view. where A is a sortal term. Iff: Shorthand for the biconditional sentential connective if and only if. See Leibniz’s law Identity conditions: The conditions that constitute a criterion of identity or identification for a given thing. Geach has argued in favour of relative identity. Under appropriate circumstances one can perform such an act. Identity so understood is an absolute equivalence relation. identity secures indiscernibility because if a is identical to b. Identity: The equivalence relation that each thing has with itself and nothing else. . by uttering the sentence ‘There is a dog in the house’.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 73 abstract from actual dispositions to use a word in order to focus on dispositions in ideal or optimal conditions. then a and b also stand in all other equivalence relations. It is the smallest equivalence relation. every claim that x is identical with y is an incomplete expression which functions as a shorthand for the claim that x is the same A as y. since if a is identical with b. Warning is an example of an illocutionary speech act. Idiolect: A language spoken by a single person or a single group. In particular. such as the force of a question or a command. for instance. Thus. Not all philosophers believe that ordinary languages have the resources to express absolute identity.

exercitives (like ordering). expositives (like making a point or explaining a reason) and verdictives (like issuing a judgement). Conventional implicature . one could utter words with meaning. Implicature See Conversational implicature. Outside logic. If I say. promising. disagreeing. But. which is merely the saying of something taking it to have a meaning. questioning. might be wrong to say that there is no difference between the performance of a locutionary (rhetic) act. What this adding might amount to is not clear.74 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Apologising. ‘I warn you that things are going to change’. however. See Perlocutionary act Imperatives: An imperative sentence is a command. I perform a warning. Arguably. declaring a meeting open are all examples of illocutionary speech acts. Austin believed that we get an illocutionary act when force is added to a locutionary act. It is often represented thus: P → Q. and the performance of an illocutionary act. so nothing is added to the mere saying to get something with the force of a warning. commissives (like promising). the term is sometimes used to indicate contents that are suggested by an expression without being part of its meaning. without thereby performing an illocutionary act of any sort. announcing a verdict. Implication: The expression is sometimes used to refer to the logical relation that holds between P and Q when it is not possible for P to be true and Q false. the content of the words I utter determines their force as well. Austin divided illocutionary acts into five categories: behabitives (like apologising). replying. Critics of Austin. as when we find ourselves for no particular reason voicing a sentence that comes to mind. in this instance.

known as the argument from above. Quine (1960) . known as the argument from below. The second argument. physical facts are all the facts there are. Further reading: Miller (1998). In his argument Quine uses the example of natives’ utterances of ‘gavagai’. 4. Quine provides two arguments for the thesis. However. relies on the idea that incompatible translations would equally account for all the evidence based on natives’ behaviour which would be available to a person engaged in radical translation. then there are no further facts that need to be determined. Hookway (1987).PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 75 Impredicativity: A definition or characterisation of a set or collection is said to be impredicative if it makes a reference to a totality to which that set belongs. and vice versa. for Quine. ‘there is an undetached rabbit part’. The admission of impredicative definitions has been taken by some as the main cause of paradoxes in set theory. the view that there are no meaning facts. which is to say a translation from scratch. and so is an instance of rabbithood. which he claims could equally be translated as ‘there is a rabbit’. Indeterminacy of translation: A thesis proposed by Quine according to which in many instances there is no fact of the matter about which among competing translations of foreign sentences is correct. ch. if physics does not determine the facts about translation. Thus. since. relies on the idea that once all the facts about physics have been fixed. so is an undetached rabbit part. the thesis is tantamount to meaning irrealism or scepticism. The reason why these incompatible translations are all compatible with the natives’ behaviour is that they appear to have the same stimulus meaning since whenever a rabbit is present. The first. the facts about translation are still underdetermined. ‘there is an instance of rabbithood’.

the pronoun is not used demonstratively. A photograph is an example of an index since it is causally connected to what it stands for. It always refers to the speaker himself or herself. but it is not very well defined. Thus. The terminology was introduced by Peirce. the speaker must point to somebody or at least intend a particular person. Sometimes all expressions whose reference shifts from utterance to utterance are labelled ‘indexicals’. modal words such as ‘possibly’. she was very happy’. Hence. is a pure indexical. some philosophers have also argued that the category extends further to include all words that indicate tense. and other indexicals such as ‘here’ and ‘now’. It should be noted that words like ‘she’ have both demonstrative and non-demonstrative uses. an index is a sign that represents what it stands for by being connected to it by means of a nonsemantic relation. and even.76 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Index: In semiotics. true demonstratives such as ‘this’. Philosophers have so far not being very successful in . ‘he’ and ‘she’. The pronoun ‘I’. Indexical: A linguistic category. on the other hand. some adjectives such as ‘big’ which are context-sensitive (what counts as big when talking of a mouse is different from what counts as big when talking of an elephant). ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’. if ‘he’ is used demonstratively in an utterance of ‘he is a spy’. It also includes complex demonstratives such as ‘that flower’ or ‘this dog’. in the sentence ‘Mary bought a new house. ‘that’. all vague expressions. including so-called pure indexicals such as ‘I’. For example. when uttering the sentence. but anaphorically. for a few philosophers. no gestures or intention need to be supplied in order to secure a reference. True demonstratives such as ‘he’ have their reference in a context determined in part by extra-linguistic factors. like the predicate ‘bald’. if the pronoun is to have a reference.

there is a sense in which they both say the same thing. Something indicates something else if and only if there is a constant connection. since misfunction is possible. They say the same thing in the sense that they utter the same words with the same unambiguous linguistic meaning. Kaplan has developed the most influential view of indexicals which respects this intuition. A mental state might have the function of indicating ice-cream. Most philosophical accounts of indexicals attempt to respect the intuition that. What remains unaltered in the two contexts is the linguistic meaning of the sentence which Kaplan calls its ‘character’. so the content of ‘I am British’ when Bob says it is different from its content in the context of Mary uttering it. are possible. Fred Dretske. but. Dretske explains the notion of having the function of indicating something . but not in indication. a supporter of this approach. between the two.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 77 explaining how the same word can have these different functions. This notion of indication cannot be equivalent to representation since errors in representation. He argues that the content of a sentence like ‘I am British’ changes relative to a context. proposes that representation is understood in terms of having the function of indication. what Bob says is true if and only if Bob is British. and another sense in which what they say is different. See Anaphora. Dthat Indicator semantics: This view proposes that we understand the notion of representation as a refinement or development of the notion of indication. Thus. for instance. when Bob says ‘I am British’ and Mary says ‘I am British’. and what Mary says is true if and only if Mary is British. lightning indicates thunder because whenever there is lightning there is thunder. But. typically causal. it might sometimes be mistakenly formed in the presence of sorbet.

they were recruited as part of the organism’s system for indicating S. See Teleosemantics Further reading: Neander (2004). Individualism See Internalism Individuation: A principle or criterion of individuation combines a criterion of identity or identification. A mental state R has the function of indicating something S if. an individual number. 2. and thus to answer questions such as ‘How many apples are in the bag?’ Mass terms provide criteria of identity but not of individuation. say. which states the conditions under which a is the same or different from b. together with a principle of unity that permits to single out a and b as countable items. for instance.. Crane (2003). Thus. perhaps. Further reading: Lowe (1999) . made up a ring. ‘Galileo said in Italian that the earth moves’.78 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z in etiological terms. such as. ch. ‘apple’ (which is a count term and a sortal) supplies a criterion of individuation for apples because it provides what we need in order to be able to count apples.e. typically either a particular (i. 5 Indirect speech: A report of an utterance without using a direct quotation. but gold is not the sort of thing that can be counted. for example. See Parataxis Indiscernibility of identicals See Leibniz’s law Individual: The referent of a singular term. since we can identify that this gold is the same as the gold that. a specific concrete thing or person) or an abstract entity. when the organism first formed R-mental states.

information covers both natural and non-natural meaning. are not capable of being either true or false. however. and so forth. suffer from infelicity when the necessary conditions for the successful performance of an act are not met. There are many formal notions of information which do not have much in common. so any argument which shows that a view leads to an infinite regress is a powerful objection to that theory. The inference is deductive if the truth of the premises establishes the truth of the conclusion. the conclusion is offered as the best explanation for the truth of the premises. Inferentialism See Semantics. see Wittgenstein’s argument against thinking that rulefollowing is a matter of providing an interpretation. Inference: A move from some premises to a conclusion. In this sense. It is inductive if the premises offer reasons in support of the conclusion. For an example. They can. both the rings on a tree trunk and words convey information. Informally. Thus. promises. Information: There are both formal and informal senses of this notion. . Fred Dretske has provided an account of information in terms of the notion of indication used in indicator semantics.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 79 Infelicity: Some speech acts such as orders. inferentialist Infinite regress arguments: Infinite regresses are typically considered vicious in philosophy. an utterance of ‘I hereby pronounce you husband and wife’ performed by a person lacking in the necessary authority do not constitute a valid declaration of marriage. such an utterance therefore suffers from an infelicity. for instance. In an inference to the best explanation.

contexts of direct quotation and intentional contexts involving propositional attitude reports. it is defined as a function that assigns for each possible world an extension to a term in that world. In this sense. It is sometimes thought as determining the extension of the term. the reference of ‘gavagai’ is indeterminate. even though ‘Mark Twain’ and ‘Samuel Clemens’ refer to the same person. to undetached rabbit parts or to instances of rabbithood. Further. Thus. between mutually incompatible interpretations. since there is no fact of the matter whether this expression refers to rabbits. See Connotation Intensional context: A context is intensional if co-extensional terms are not inter-substitutable salva veritate. Thus. ch. there is also no fact of the matter about the reference of expressions in our native language since it is just a language like any other. . Quine argues that in many cases there is no fact of the matter about which of several. assigns the correct reference to foreign expressions. mutually incompatible. 2 Intension: The term ‘intension’ is used in more than one way. it would be equally correct to translate ‘gavagai’ as either ‘there is a rabbit’ or ‘there is an undetached rabbit part’. if there is no fact of the matter about which. Technically. intension is similar to Frege’s notion of sense. Thus. Quine claims that radical translation begins at home. Further reading: Quine (1969). translations of a foreign sentence is correct. Examples of such contexts are modal contexts. for example.80 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Inscrutability of reference: A thesis developed by Quine which is closely related to his views about indeterminacy of translation. Hence. ‘John believes that Mark Twain was a great writer’ might be true.

See Permutation argument. and that truth is some sort idealised epistemic warrant. Most philosophers take intention to be a state of mind which is often involved in futuredirected practical reasoning and which. The position is not entirely clear but it is opposed to metaphysical realism.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 81 while ‘John believes that Samuel Clemens was a great writer’ is false. Thus. Such objects may not exist. See De dicto attributions Intention: There is a variety of philosophical accounts of the notion of intention. It is the view that there is no fixed totality of mind-independent objects. according to which whether an individual has a property of a given kind depends exclusively on facts . despite the fact that Pegasus itself does not exist. makes it appropriate to call that action intentional. Truth. but that questions about the number and kind of objects that exist can only be answered relative to a theory. For this reason. when properly related to an action. Internal realism: A position which was adopted by Putnam in the 1980s. Putnam also links it to the view that there is more than one true description of the world. Intentionality: The feature of mental states in virtue of which they are about something. epistemic theories of Further reading: Putnam (1981) Internalism: A view primarily about the individuation of properties. What they are about is called ‘the intentional object’ of the state. Pegasus can be the intentional object of a thought which is about it. many philosophers do not think of mental states as involving genuine relations to their intentional objects.

But they point out that in another sense we have such access as is demonstrated by our ability to express our thoughts by means of words without need for empirical evidence or further observations. externalism must be wrong. Externalists in reply simply deny the conceivability of the brain in a vat example. Internalists argue that only facts which are internal to the subject can contribute to the determination of the contents of that subject’s mental states and to the meanings of the subject’s utterances. what it is that one is thinking. They suggest that the contents of our own thoughts must be determined solely by what goes on inside our head because if they were not. Hence. Supporters of the view offer various considerations in its support. even though they have never really encountered any of them. In the philosophy of mind and language internalism is a view about what individuates linguistic and mental contents.82 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z which are internal to the individual in question. See Broad content. In the Twin Earth thought experiment both Oscar and Twin Oscar know by means of introspection alone that they have thoughts which they would express by means of the words ‘that’s water’. They also point out that we can conceive of a brain in a vat. and his thought about XYZ. is that his thought is about H2 O. what Oscar does not know. Narrow content Further reading: Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996) . it would be impossible for each one of us to know by means of introspection alone. The same considerations apply to his twin. fed neural stimuli by a computer. Their response to the first objection is more complex. as we surely do. having many thoughts and beliefs about all sorts of things. and could not know by introspection. Content. They acknowledge that there is a sense in which we do not have privileged access to the contents of our thoughts. if such cases are genuinely conceivable.

See Semiotics Interpretation: (1) Informally. In these cases ‘is’ means is identical. as in ‘Eric Blair is George Orwell’. each monadic (one-place) predicate will have a class of things assigned to it as its extension. Interrogative: An interrogative sentence is a question. In this manner. an interpretation is an assignment of meanings to expressions of a language. each constant will have one object assigned to it as its reference. Thus. (∃x) (Gx).PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 83 Interpretant: A term coined by Peirce to refer to any item that mediates the relation between a representation and the object it stands for. In this sense. Irrealism See Meaning irrealism Is: There are three distinct uses to which the verb ‘to be’ is put in English and some other languages. (2) In formal semantics the notion of interpretation has a technical sense first developed by Tarski. In the case of signs. . and so forth. as in ‘God is’. non-logical vocabulary. These uses are: (1) Existence. and assigning a reference to all primitive. it becomes possible to determine relative to the interpretation whether any given sentence of the language is true or false. each dyadic (two-place) relation will have a class of ordered pairs. an interpretation for a language consists in specifying a non-empty set as the domain of discourse or interpretation. To confuse them is to risk equivocation. (2) Identity. it is translated into logic using the identity symbol. Logical truths are sentences which turn out to be true in all interpretations. Thus. Thus. the interpretant is a mental state. In these cases ‘is’ means exists and it is translated into logic using the existential quantifier. Each has a different logical function and is translated differently in logic. a = b.

Thus. as in ‘London is pretty’.84 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z (3) Predication. Kaplan makes a . Pa. He has developed the most influential theory of meaning for indexicals. and vice versa. Kaplan takes the reference of demonstratives to be fixed partly by means of a demonstration which is a gesture or an intention directed towards an object or a person accompanying an utterance which includes a demonstrative. or to take P to be true. if and only if the elements of one can be put into a one-to-one correlation with the elements of the other. J Judgement: Judgement is the mental equivalent of assertion. In these cases. to have the same structure. David (1933–): An American philosopher. at the time of writing teaching at the University of California. The notion plays a crucial role in Immanuel Kant. ‘is’ functions as the copula which in logic is absorbed into the symbol for the predicate. This is to say. who was one the first philosophers to stress the primacy of the propositional over the subsentential. To judge that P (say. that for each element of the one theory there is exactly one element of the other that corresponds to it. that the Moon is the Earth’s only satellite) is to assent to P. Isomorphism: Two models or theories are said to be isomorphic. Los Angeles. Judgement-dependence See Response-dependence K Kaplan.

indexicals are rigid designators. For Kaplan. given the context as argument. In other words. once their reference has been fixed. Thus. What the weather might be like on any other day is irrelevant. while pointing to Mary. The character of a sentence. These sentences have contents with respect to contexts. the actual thing that they refer to. the contents of their utterances are different. Kaplan takes the contents of sentences relative to contexts to be propositions which can have individuals as constituents. it is a function which yields the content of the sentence. even though they use the same sentence. For instance. the same sentence has different contents in different contexts. Kaplan further claims that indexicals have direct reference. Bob says ‘she is British’ the content of this utterance is the same as what Mary has said. and two different sentences might have the same content in different contexts. Further if. what I say would have been false if today were not sunny. If I say ‘today is sunny’. he holds that their contribution to the content of the sentence is their referent. if Bob says ‘I am British’ and Mary says ‘I am British’.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 85 distinction between the content and the character of sentences which include indexicals. can be identified with its linguistic meaning. Instead. The character of a sentence does not vary with the context. during one of these other days I might also say ‘today is sunny’. of course. Propositions like these are called ‘singular propositions’. whether my claim is true or false in a hypothetical situation is determined by whether in that situation this very same day is a sunny one. This is why Kaplan holds that the contents of sentences . they refer to the same one thing in all possible worlds in which that one thing exists. What Bob says is true if and only if Bob is British and what Mary says is true if and only if Mary is British. even though. on the other hand. In other words. even though Bob has used a different sentence to express that content.

knowing that 2 + 2 = 4. Kaplan’s theory of direct reference is not quite Millian because he accepts that indexicals have characters which contribute to the character of the sentences in which they appear. Knowing-that: Propositional knowledge which is expressed using a that-clause. In the philosophy of language. Saul (1940–): A contemporary American philosopher who has made ground-breaking contributions to the philosophy of language. and formulated one of the first versions of the causal theory of reference. Kripke argued that both individuals and natural kinds have some of their properties necessarily. the character of ‘I’ is a function which for each context yields as value the speaker in that context. Some philosophers argue that practical knowledge can be explained in terms of propositional knowledge (knowingthat). For example. See Dthat. In metaphysics he revived the fortunes of essentialism. He developed some powerful arguments against the description theory of reference. Sense Knowing-how: Practical knowledge such as knowing how to ride a bicycle or how to build a nuclear reactor. Thus. Kripke introduced the notion of a rigid designator. to metaphysics and to logic. that water is H2 O. Kripke. These arguments lead Kripke to conclude that there are many a posteriori truths which are necessarily . It is still a matter of dispute whether practical knowledge or knowing-how can be explained in terms of propositional knowledge. that London is a city are all examples of propositional knowledge.86 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z including indexicals are singular propositions. The character is similar to what could be called the sense of the indexical.

and Davidson to argue for a recursive theory of meaning. Semantics. Further. One such truth is. has denied the existence of languages if these are understood as governed by conventions that determine the connections between words and what they might mean. Few would deny their existence. ‘water is H2 O’. Fodor has used these considerations to argue for a language of thought. Language acquisition: Several philosophers have made claims about what kind of features language must have for it to be learnable by creatures. See Acquisition argument. Some think of languages as structured by formal logical relations. The view that there is a form of necessity which is not logical or conceptual was quite revolutionary at the time. Dummett to argue against semantic realism. Davidson. with finite abilities. Kripke’s contribution to logic is also quite momentous since he was the first to develop a possible world semantics for modal logic. others prefer accounts based on the idea of speech acts. A priori.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 87 true. in his book Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982). possible world L Language: Philosophers have provided many different accounts of what languages might be. Semantics. Kripke provided a powerful sceptical argument in favour of meaning irrealism based on Wittgenstein’s rule-following considerations. like us. Modality. Reference borrowing. See A posteriori. however. Meaning scepticism. for example. truth-conditional .

. 10 Langue See Saussure. is only sensitive to the syntactical structure. are indiscernible). like language. In his view. is productive because we are able to think novel thoughts we had never entertained before. Lewis.e. David (1941–2001): One of the most influential North American philosophers of the twentieth century. and systematic because the meaning of a whole thought depends in a systematic manner on the meanings of its parts. In either case. of the representations processed. In favour of this claim Fodor argues that thought. Language of thought: A view in the philosophy of mind developed by Jerry Fodor. lessons are learnt about our actual language use by the study of these language games. For Fodor. like the computations of symbols performed by a computer. It is also known as the principle of the indiscernibility of identicals. It is intended to convey an analogy between language use and games. human cognition involves mental representations which are structured like sentences in a language. It is not to be confused with its converse which would state that if two things have the same properties. It is used to designate either fragments of actual linguistic practice or imaginary primitive ways of using words. then they have the same properties (i. the mental processing of representations. ch. Further reading: Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (1996). they are identical. Lewis .88 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Language game: A term coined by Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations (1953). and not the meanings. Ferdinand de Leibniz’s law: The principle that states that if a and b are identical.

If the sentence is supposed to be not true (either false or neither true nor false). Suppose. his modal realist account of possible worlds. If the sentence is supposed to be true. See common knowledge Liar paradox: The standard formulation of the paradox involves the self-referential sentence ‘This sentence is false’. Therefore. Suppose this sentence is true. it is false that it is false. In conclusion. if we suppose that the sentence is true. it turns out to be true. A way out of the paradox might be sought by arguing that the sentence is neither true nor false. it has to be true. Thus. and has left an important mark on the philosophical scene in that country. But if we suppose that it is false. He visited Australia often. epistemology and the philosophy of mind. it is false. It should be distinguished from linguistic performance. In particular. He also produced ground-breaking work in metaphysics. as well as his innovative account of the notion of convention. what it says is false. it offers no way out of the strengthened liar paradox concerning the sentence ‘this sentence is not true’. This approach does not solve all the paradoxes in the liar family. it follows that it must be false. Linguistic competence: The body of tacit or implicit knowledge in virtue of having which speakers are capable of speaking the language.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 89 held positions at the University of California. then. then. it must be true. then what it says is true. Lewis’s most important contributions to the philosophy of language are his semantics for counterfactuals. Thus. Thus. It says that it is false. See Chomsky. Los Angeles and at Princeton University. that the sentence is false. it is not true. Noam . since it says that it is false. since it is not true that it is not true.

The two easily come apart. this is their linguistic meaning. Meaning-scepticism. See Non-natural meaning Linguistic performance: Facts about speakers’ actual linguistic behaviour. when the speaker uses sarcasm or when she uses the wrong word. when the sentence meaning alone does not determine what the sentence is about. for instance. have turned their focus on language itself. Thus. but in terms of various features of the language used to talk about the topic at issue. such as ethics or ontology. however.90 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Linguistic meaning: The meaning of an expression such as a sentence. Non-cognitivism. My words mean that this is nice derangement of flowers. for example. Semantic realism Literal meaning: Philosophical theories of meaning tend to be concerned with this kind of meaning. See Anti-realism. See Chomsky. Thus. Cognitivism. what I mean by them. is that this is a nice arrangement of flowers. the speaker meaning. Linguistic meaning is often distinguished from speaker meaning. Noam Linguistic turn: This is said to be a feature of twentiethcentury philosophy. On that occasion. I might say the words ‘this is nice derangement of flowers’ meaning that it is a nice arrangement of flowers. Linguistic performance is to be distinguished from linguistic competence. which is roughly what a speaker intends to convey by means of an utterance on a specific occasion. characterised by the fact that philosophers instead of using language to talk about other things. It is contrasted with . disputes between realists and anti-realists about any given topic are often framed not directly in terms of the existence of facts of a given kind.



metaphorical meanings or the kinds of meaning conveyed by means of a variety of attitudes such as irony or sarcasm. See Metaphor Locke, John (1632–1704): A prominent early modern British empiricist, Locke made extensive contributions to the philosophy of mind and to political philosophy; he was a political activist and one of the founding fathers of liberalism. He proposed a view of language in which the meaning of a linguistic expression is the mental idea that the speaker intends to express when uttering the words. This suggestion has many problems; for example, it presupposes the notion of intention. It also must be supplemented with an explanation of how ideas have their meanings. If the suggestion is that ideas are images of what they are ideas of, it is hard to picture what the idea of ‘and’, the idea of ‘splendidly’, would be like. In any case the suggestion cannot work. Suppose that the idea of red is a red idea in the mind. Unless one already knows what red is like so that one knows that the mental picture is red, the mere presence of the red item in the mind could not count as thinking about red. It should be noted that word meaning rather than sentence meaning is the focus of Locke’s theory. He did not seem to think about sentences as something other than a mere list of words. See Meaning, ideational theory of Locutionary act: A kind of speech act defined by J. L. Austin as the act of saying something. Austin further classifies locutionary acts into three nested categories. At the lowest level are phonetic acts, which consist in the utterance of noises. The noises uttered by very small children are examples of such acts. At the next level are phatic acts, which are utterances of words. For example, to practise



the pronunciation of foreign words is to perform acts of this second kind. The highest level is occupied by rhethic acts, which consist in the utterances of words and sentences as meaning something. Thus, my utterance of the sentence ‘the cat is on the mat’ could be an example of a rhetic act. Every performance of a rhetic act, the uttering of words with meaning, is also a performance of a phatic act, the uttering of words, and of a phonetic act, the uttering of noises. It is clearly not possible to utter words with meaning without uttering words, and if ‘noises’ is understood broadly to include both scribbles and bodily gestures, it is also not possible to utter words without making noises. The converses, instead, do not hold. So rhetic acts presuppose phatic acts which in turn presuppose phonetic acts, but not vice versa. These three categories can be thought of as strata which build on one another to produce a complete locutionary act. See Illocutionary act; Perlocutionary act Logic: Frege once defined logic as the study of the laws of thought. It is not the study of how people think, but the study of how they ought to think. In contemporary parlance logic so understood is the study of valid inference. Frege has also proposed a different account of logic as the study of the most general truths, namely logical truths. Besides these two different conceptions, a third conception of logic as the study of the properties of a variety of formal languages is also currently a common currency. Logical atomism: A view endorsed by both Russell in ‘The Philosophy of Logical Atomism’ (1918) and Wittgenstein in the Tractatus (1922), it states that all complex propositional sentences can be analysed in terms of atomic sentences which are made true by atomic facts. More specifically, according to this view every complex sentence



can be uniquely analysed as a logical (in Wittgenstein’s case, truth-functional) construction of atomic sentences. Russell’s and Wittgenstein’s versions of the position differed with regard to their understanding of atomic sentences and facts. For Russell atomic sentences predicate a simple property or relation of one or more simple particulars, and atomic facts consist of simple particulars having simple properties or relations. For Wittgenstein, atomic sentences are concatenations of names of simple objects, and atomic facts are combinations of these same objects. The view has now been largely abandoned. See Analysis Further reading: Anscombe (1959) Logical category See Category Logical empiricism See Logical positivism Logical form: The logical form of a sentence is its logical structure. It is that in virtue of which the sentence can play the role it does in valid patterns of inference. Thus, because ‘John is tall and blond’ follows from ‘John is tall’ and ‘John is blond’, but ‘Somebody is tall and blond’ does not follow from ‘Somebody is tall’ and ‘Somebody is blond’, it follows that ‘John is tall’ and ‘Somebody is tall’ have different logical forms. See Predicate; Quantifier; Singular term Logical positivism: A position first developed by the members of the Vienna Circle, such as Carnap, at the beginning of the twentieth century. They adopted a kind of empiricism, and argued that a posteriori sentences were meaningful only if verifiable. Thus, they rejected the whole of ethics and metaphysics as meaningless. Logical positivists developed a verificationist theory of meaning according to



which the meaning of a sentence is given by its method of verification. However, all the attempts to spell out a satisfactory version of this verification principle ended up in failure. Logical positivists also subscribed to a conventionalist account of necessity and the a priori. In their view all necessary truths were tautologies. They were true simply in virtue of the conventional meanings of their constituent words, and said nothing substantive about reality. See Ayer, A. J.; Meaning, verification theory of Logically proper name: A singular term whose significance depends on the existence of its reference. Logically proper names are thus said to be object-invoking or objectinvolving since unless the object they purport to refer to exists, the sentences in which the name occurs fail to be either true or false. Logically proper names are sometimes called ‘Russellian singular terms’.

Malapropism: A misuse of words, such as ‘a nice derangement of epitaphs’, which involves a mistake concerning words that resemble one another. Davidson takes our ability to understand what the utterer of a malapropism meant as evidence that linguistic understanding does not rely on a previous tacit knowledge of rules governing the use of linguistic expressions. Manifestation argument: This is a challenge, put forward by Dummett, to semantic realism. Semantic realism is the view that to understand a sentence is to know the conditions under which it is true (its truth conditions), and that these conditions might be such that it is

to understand a sentence is to have certain practical abilities that we exercise in speaking and listening. oxygen molecules are parts of water which are not water. and there are parts of furniture which are not in themselves furniture. It does not follow. It is because it makes no sense to ask how many of them there are that furniture. as the semantic realist claims. Matter term. Dummett continues. mass terms have the semantic property of referring cumulatively: the sum of any two parts of it is also a part of it. Typically. there would be no actual practical abilities that could count as manifesting that knowledge. the truth conditions are evidence. water and gold are mass terms. Critics have argued that Dummett’s conception of what counts as a manifestation of a piece of knowledge is too narrow. But. refers to a non-countable kind. Natural kind term. Sortal Material adequacy. like ‘water’. See Count term.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 95 potentially beyond us to detect whether or not they obtain (that is. if to understand a sentence consisted in knowing some verification-transcendent truth conditions. Thus. This is because we are not able to detect or recognise evidencetranscendent truth conditions. Thus. our knowledge of them could not be manifested in our ability to recognise them when they obtain.or verificationtranscendent). Dummett argues that what we know when we understand a sentence must manifest itself in our use of language. that any part of the mass kind is referred to. the sum of any two parts of water that are water is also water. however. See Acquisition argument. That is to say. Communicability argument. Hence. criterion of See Convention T . ‘platinum’ or ‘furniture’. Verification transcendence Further reading: Hale (1999) Mass term: A term which.

However. Such a theory would spell out what is known by speakers who understand the expressions (i. See Truth.e. As a matter of fact most contemporary theorists of meaning deny that there are such entities. . In their opinion. at the time of writing holding a position at Pittsburgh University. The material conditional is often translated into English as ‘if . . especially the so-called rulefollowing considerations. His contributions to the philosophy of language include his work on singular thoughts and on the identity theory of truth. John (1942–): A British. Rather. Oxford-educated philosopher. McDowell. ’. It should be noted that many current philosophical theories of meaning do not presuppose a commitment to the existence of things called ‘meanings’. Philosophers have adopted numerous approaches. . it consists in having a complex set of abilities which are manifested in the appropriate use of the sentence in question. identity theory Meaning.96 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Material conditional: The truth functional sentential connective represented in formal logic by the horseshoe (‘⊃’). . it is a matter of philosophical controversy whether ordinary indicative conditionals in English are best understood as material conditionals. knowing the meaning of a sentence is not the same as knowing an object. Philosophical theories of meaning can be grouped under the following headings: the ideational theory (Locke’s view . theories of: A theory of meaning for a language is a theory that attributes to each expression in the language its literal meaning. and is true in all other cases. then . Its meaning is given by a truth-table which shows that ‘P ⊃ Q’ is false only when P is true and Q is false. as well as his work on themes in Wittgenstein’s philosophy. their linguistic competence)..

Meaning. Meaning. verification and assertibility theories (including the logical positivists’ view that the meaning of a sentence is given by its method of verification. and who offered an analysis of speaker meaning in terms of communicative intention. and Dummett’s account in terms of the conditions in which one is warranted in asserting the sentence in question). the picture theory (the early Wittgenstein’s view that sentences are pictures of facts with which they share a form). and more recent versions of possible world semantics). Meaning. assertibility condition. The founder of this approach in the 1950s was Grice. to psychology. picture theory of. The speaker’s communicative intention which determines what the speaker means is (a) the intention to induce an effect. Molecularity. Meaning. See Logical positivism. Davidson’s theory of meaning as a theory of truth. use theory of. psychological or communicative-intention theories (Grice’s programme to reduce the meanings of sentences to the intentions of speakers uttering them via a notion of speaker meaning). typically a . truth-conditional semantics (including Frege’s account of how the truth-values of sentences depend on the reference or denotation of their meaningful parts. Meaning. who attempted to reduce linguistic meaning to speaker meaning. communicativeintention theory of. inferentialist semantics which identifies meaning with inferential role. Semantics. Semantics.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 97 that meanings are ideas in the head). truthconditional Meaning. that is. communicative-intention theory of: In these theories linguistic meaning is ultimately reduced to the communicative intentions of speakers. inferentialist. Semantics. the use theory (the later Wittgenstein’s view that to ask after the meaning of an expression often is to ask about its use). ideational theory of. verification theory of.

and (c) the intention that the audience’s recognition plays a role in the explanation of why the effect was produced. Finally. objects have weight and mass but ideas do not. There are many problems with this view. See Non-natural meaning Further reading: Miller (1998). one of which is red. merely having ideas in the mind cannot be what understanding the meaning of language is about. like Locke. There are several problems for this account.. it cannot easily attribute a meaning to sentences that have never been uttered. Similarly. The view requires that ideas resemble in all respects what they represent. Second. The view in itself would only postpone the problem of explaining meaning. it cannot easily explain the compositionality of meaning. i. Some of the same philosophers held that ideas have meanings by being pictures that resemble what they are about. the fact that the meaning of the constituent parts determines the meaning of the sentential whole. (b) the intention that the first intention is recognised by the audience. ch. Grice also argued that the linguistic meaning of a sentence is explained in terms of what speakers regularly or conventionally use utterances of that sentence to mean (their speaker meaning). If I do not know what ‘red’ means or red is. in the audience. ideas cannot resemble in all respects what they are about. ideational theory of: The view held by some early modern philosophers. just having coloured ideas in the mind does not . and more seriously.e. some ideas concern abstract notions for which no picture is forthcoming. 7 Meaning. First. First. For instance. as Wittgenstein has argued. it will not help to have colour samples.98 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z belief. that the meanings of words are ideas in the mind. since I would not know which one is red. Second.

sentences are not really different from diagrams or other pictorial representations of facts. Logical Positivists relied on this theory to rule out sentences of metaphysics. According to the theory. See Berkeley. verification theory of: The view endorsed by the supporters of logical positivism. theology or ethics as lacking any factual meaning. George Meaning. Arguably Grice’s theory of linguistic meaning is also a kind of use theory. See Meaning. communicative-intention theory of Meaning. Thus. See Saying/showing Further reading: Anscombe (1959) Meaning.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 99 furnish the word ‘red’ with a meaning unless I already know which is red. For example. See Verification principle Further reading: Miller (1998). ch. picture theory of: The theory of meaning which is generally attributed to Wittgenstein in the Tractatus (1922). wrongly attributed to Wittgenstein. The view has contemporary supporters who subscribe to various sophisticated versions of dispositionalism. and therefore what ‘red’ means. use theory of: The view. that the meaning of an expression is determined by its use. Wittgenstein also argues that any attempt to state his theory was bound to end up in nonsense. and also by Quine. sentences represent facts in virtue of sharing the same pictorial form with them. 3 . the sentence ‘Feux is a black cat’ has a meaning which is given by the kind of observation which would be required to verify it conclusively. that the meaning of an a posteriori sentence is given by its method of verification.

its meaning that snow is white) about the Italian ` sentence ‘la neve e bianca’. although a different translation could be equally compatible with the facts. by Kripke and Quine. The first was developed by Quine as part of his argument for the indeterminacy of translation. Meaning irrealism: The view that there are no distinctive facts about meaning. Meaning facts are also called semantic facts. a supporter of the view holds that there is no special realm of meanings and other semantic properties which is described by those sentences which are about other sentences and appear to attribute ` meanings to them. Meaning scepticism Meaning scepticism: There are two versions of scepticism about meaning. The second was developed by Kripke in his book Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982). Kripke claims to find the root of this paradoxical conclusion in Wittgenstein’s rule-following considerations. A semantic irrealist does not hold that all sentences are meaningless. for different reasons and using different arguments. the sentence ‘ “la neve e bianca” means that snow is white’ does not state a semantic fact (that is. This view has been adopted. Thus. it would be a fact about them. Thus. Instead. See Indeterminacy of translation. supporters of the view would say that there is no fact of the matter about what any sentence means. it might be used to convey how the Italian sentence is usually translated into English. Kripke’s argument proceeds by considering all . Supporters of meaning irrealism do not believe in the existence of any such facts. Instead. In this book Kripke provides a sceptical argument for the claim that there is no fact of the matter about what any sentence means. since if that were true.100 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Meaning fact: A fact which constitutes a sentence meaning what it does.

about the images or occurrent thoughts in that person’s head. or even facts about the person’s dispositions to use that sign. Kripke’s sceptical paradox concludes that there are no facts about meanings. and consequently all sentences about what other expressions mean are neither true nor false. Kripke concludes that there are no facts that constitute the meaning of any expression. First. and showing that they fail to do the job. Facts about the meaning of an expression are facts about how the expression ought to be used.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 101 the candidate facts which might determine the meaning of various expressions. he is then presented with ‘68 + 57 = ?’ and answers ‘125’. Kripke uses an example concerning the sign +. Imagine that a person has never previously performed additions with numbers larger than 56. Although when we talk about meanings we do not describe any facts. Having considered all plausible candidates and shown that they fail in the task. about general rules. Second. Kripke raises sceptical questions about the existence of this second kind of fact. He shows that we cannot answer by citing facts about the person’s past behaviour. He challenges us to provide a fact that determines that in the past that person meant addition by + rather than quaddition. Kripke has two objections against the proposal that equates facts about meaning with dispositions to use the sign. where quaddition is like addition for numbers smaller than or equal to 56 but gives ‘5’ as a result of being applied to numbers larger than 56. It would seem that two kinds of facts make his answer correct: the arithmetical fact that 125 is the sum of 57 plus 68. His sceptical solution rescues talk of meaning. he does not take issue with mathematical facts. but facts about dispositions only tell us how it would be used. he claims that dispositions are finite. he claims that meaning is normative. this kind of talk is not pointless since it can . and the semantic fact that he means addition by +.

the term ‘Milan’ is used in the sentence ‘Milan is a city in Italy’ but mentioned in the sentence ‘ “Milan” has five letters’. for instance. Mentalese See Language of thought Mention: A term is mentioned. as opposed to used. who taught at the University of Graz. are about something even though Pegasus does not exist. have nevertheless other properties. they have assertibility conditions. Whilst the object language is the logical language . but such facts would seem to be the kind of facts about meanings that are said not to exist. In order to mention a term. and a student of Brentano. In his view the idea that there are some non-existent objects explains why thoughts about Pegasus.102 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z help when teaching the language to newcomers. See Use. Thus. although they fail to instantiate the property of existence. He is famous for believing that there are objects like Pegasus that. that is to say conditions under which their assertion is warranted. Russell’s theory of definite descriptions is intended as a solution of this puzzle that does not make reference to non-existent objects. chs 5 and 6 Meinong. Use–mention distinction Meta-language: This is contrasted in logic with the object language. Further although such sentences do not have truth conditions because they do not state any facts. Meaning irrealism Further reading: Miller (1998). Critics have objected that Kripke appears to suggest that there are facts about such assertibility conditions. when the term itself is the topic of discussion. See Dispositionalism. He adopted this counterintuitive position as a solution of some puzzles about intentionality. Alexius (1853–1920): An Austrian philosopher. we normally use its name.

metaphors only have literal meanings. Johnston claims these statements would be trivial. the concept of redness. Further reading: Moran (1999). See Liar paradox Metaphor: ‘The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters’ is an example of a metaphor. Their point is to cause us to notice something but not by stating what that something is. minimalist theory of Missing-explanation argument: An argument developed by Mark Johnston to show that our ordinary concepts of secondary qualities are not response-dependent concepts. For him. Davidson has denied these claims. for example. We think that statements of the form ‘x looks red (or more precisely: x is disposed to look red to standard observers in standard conditions) because it is red’ can be perfectly good. a view first developed by Paul Horwich. Consider. Yet.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 103 in use. and are literally true or false. Davidson (1991). The best-known form of minimalism is minimalism about truth. 17 Minimalism: To take a minimalist attitude towards an area of discourse is to believe that that kind of talk refers only to merely formal properties with no metaphysical nature or hidden structure. Some philosophers have argued that metaphors have metaphorical (as opposed to literal) meanings and express metaphorical truths. for Davidson. and . What is distinctive about metaphors. See Truth. true empirical explanations. ch. is not their meaning but their use. the meta-language is the language used to talk about the object language. The distinction between object and meta-language was introduced in order to avoid the paradoxes generated by permitting the existence of self-referential sentences such as the Liar sentences.

epistemic or doxastic (concerned with certainty and uncertainty in belief) and deontic (concerned with permissions and obligations). There also are different kinds of modality: alethic modality (concerned with what must or can be true). invoked by Johnston. An . This is not informative. possibility and contingency. Modus ponens: This is a deductively valid form of argument with the structure: If P. De re modality Model: A model for a theory is an interpretation (in the technical sense of the term) that assigns the value true to all the sentences in the theory. if the concept of redness were a response-dependent concept. Q. impossibility. See Response-dependence. They argue that the good explanations. If the concept of red were response-dependent. Peter Menzies and Philip Pettit defend response-dependent accounts against this argument. P. to be told that something is disposed to look red to standard observers in standard conditions because it is red would be tantamount to being told that something is disposed to look red to standard observers in standard conditions because it is disposed to look red to standard observers in standard conditions. See De dicto modality. explain why something is manifesting a disposition (and so looks red) in terms of its possession of that disposition (is red). Therefore.104 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z good explanations would go missing. Secondary qualities Modal operator: These are operators such as ‘necessarily’ and ‘possibly’. See Modality Modality: There are four main cases of modality: necessity. then Q.

then Q. Dummett contrasts this molecular view with holism. Moore’s main contributions to the philosophy of language consist in his account of the notion of analysis and his discussion of the naturalistic fallacy involved in deriving an ought from an is. Moore. (1873–1958): A British philosopher and one of the fathers of analytic philosophy. Therefore. See Validity Molecularity: In Dummett’s view adequate theories of meaning must be based on a molecular view of language. Therefore. he will improve his level of fitness. Hence. The match is not lit.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 105 example is given by the following argument: If John runs regularly. See Validity Modus tollens: This is a deductively valid form of argument with the structure: If P. you did not strike the match. ‘Went’ is a verb in the indicative mood. They must give explanatory priority to the grasping of individual concepts or of the meanings of sub-sentential expressions over the grasping of the language as a whole. Rule-following Morpheme See phoneme . E. An example is given by the following argument: If you strike the match it will light. Not Q. G. not P. Mood: A surface grammatical feature of verbs indicating whether the sentence seems to serve a fact-stating purpose (indicative) or expresses a counter-to-fact consideration (subjunctive). he will improve his level of fitness. See Normativity of meaning. ‘would be rich’ is one in the subjective. John runs regularly.

Supporters of narrow contents.’ and so forth.106 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z N Name: In ordinary parlance names are contrasted with verbs and adjectives. They include expressions such as ‘London’. but the same word (orthographically understood) is a predicate in ‘Margaret Thatcher is a woman’. Kripke in his causal theory of reference has developed the idea that a kind of baptism plays an important role in fixing the reference of singular terms and natural kind terms. Narrow content: A notion of content that is contrasted with broad content. ‘Tony Blair’. Thus. ‘woman. See Category. Predicable Naming: The act by means of which objects are assigned a name. known as internalists or individualists. ‘tiger’. have provided different accounts of what they might be. ‘gold’. Supporters of externalism deny that they do. instead they use logical categories such as singular term and predicate and assign different uses of names. For this reason. A standard definition states that the narrow content of a psychological state is that content of the state that is individuated exclusively in terms of the . to different categories. It is a matter of dispute whether narrow contents exist. as ordinarily understood. These terms can play different logical roles in different contexts and thus are said to belong to different logical categories in different contexts of use. ‘woman’ is a logical subject in ‘woman is the equal of man’. philosophers do not think of ‘name’ as a useful category. Similarly ‘Vienna’ is a singular term in ‘Vienna is the capital of Austria’ but functions rather differently in ‘Trieste is no Vienna’ where it is intended to convey the idea that Trieste is not a sophisticated metropolis.

The notion of an intrinsic property used here is that adopted by Lewis according to which any property that must be shared by duplicates is intrinsic. Grice contrasts this notion of meaning with the notion of non-natural meaning. See Internalism. Twin Earth Further reading: Brown (2002) Natural kind term: These are names for natural kinds. Thus. . They include mass terms such as ‘gold’ and ‘water’ and count terms such as ‘tiger’ and ‘tulip’. being a magnet would count as an intrinsic property of some objects according to this definition.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 107 intrinsic properties of that state. then its exact duplicate is also a magnet. since if one thing is a magnet. which is attributed to language and to other conventional signs. Thus. Instead. by analogy. the property is intrinsic despite the fact that being a magnet is a dispositional property since what makes a magnet what it is a matter of its power to attract iron and steel. the reference is fixed through original contacts with samples of these kinds which are identified by their chemical compositions or biological natures. Natural meaning: A label used by Grice to refer to those uses of the verb ‘to mean’ in which it expresses a natural (or non-conventional) relation. For realists the distinctions between natural kinds cut nature at its joints. Kripke argues that the reference of these terms must be understood in terms of a causal theory of reference according to which these terms are not abbreviations for descriptions formulated in terms of the observable properties of samples belonging to those kinds. The sentences ‘Those clouds mean rain’ and ‘The current budget deficit means that income tax will have to be raised’ are examples of uses of ‘means’ to express natural meaning.

However. See De dicto modality. That is. a necessary truth is true in all possible worlds. In classical logic. some philosophers have argued for the existence of a special kind of metaphysical necessity exemplified by claims such as that water is H2 O. Alethic necessity is instead concerned with necessary truths. Some necessities are broadly logical or conceptual. being a human being is a necessary condition for being a woman. Plantinga (1974) Negation: When discussed by analytic philosophers. however.108 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Necessary condition: Any condition which is necessary for the obtaining of something else. Thus understood. A proposition is said to be necessarily true if and only if it cannot be false. Thus. Possibility Further reading: Kripke (1980). What makes these necessities special is that their negations are not contradictions. and their denial is a contradiction. it is not sufficient to be a human being to be a woman. and their truth is only discoverable a posteriori. since some human beings are men. It is a matter of dispute whether there is more than one kind of alethic necessity. might not be sufficient. negation is conceived as a truth-functional sentential connective expressed by ‘not’. in order to be a woman it is necessary that one is a human being. the negation of a true proposition is false. Sufficient and necessary conditions are expressed by means of conditionals. by saying: something is a woman only if it is a human being. De re modality. Thus. following Kripke. See Sufficient condition Necessity: There is more than one kind of necessity. and the negation of a false . Epistemic necessity expresses lack of uncertainty. we can state that being a human is necessary for being a woman. Necessary conditions. for example. Thus. This idea is often reformulated in terms of possible world semantics.

typically supporters of dispositionalism. Some philosophers. These are all examples of non-natural meaning. they argue that facts about meaning are reducible to some combination of facts about how . Similarly. In Britain as a matter of convention. In some other logics. it is a matter of convention that in English ‘red’ means red rather than yellow. Non-cognitivism is opposed to cognitivism. double yellow lines painted by the side of the road mean that parking is not permitted there. in these logics to be ‘not true’ is not the same as being false. However. argue that meaning can be reduced to non-normative notions. Non-cognitivism: To be a non-cognitivist about a given area of discourse is to hold that judgements made in that area do not express beliefs and do not purport to describe facts. Grice contrasts this notion of meaning with the notion of natural meaning. Nominalism: The view that denies the existence of universals. Expressivism. emotivism and quasi-realism are all species of non-cognitivism. Normativity of meaning: Meaning seems to be a normative notion. the negation of a true proposition is not true.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 109 proposition is true. In particular. which is attributed to natural signs. since to use a term in accordance with its meaning is to use it correctly or to use it as it ought to be used. See Frege–Geach problem Further reading: Miller (2003) Non-extensional context See Intensional context Non-natural meaning: A label used by Grice to refer to those uses of the verb ‘to mean’ in which it expresses a nonnatural (or conventional) relation.

the sentence ‘everything is red’ is paraphrased as ‘For anything x. a demonstrative or a noun. the sentence ‘something is red’.. as opposed to the meta-language which is the language used to talk about the object language. first-order functions) as their arguments and yield truth-values (true or false) as their values. O Object: For Frege an object is the referent of a proper name or singular term.e. headed by a pronoun. For instance. See Meta-language Objectual quantification: The dominant interpretation of the quantifiers. See Concept Object-language: The language that is being talked about. Thus. in the sentence ‘London is the capital of the UK’. is true if and only if there is at least one object which is red. such as ‘that woman in the corner’. And the sentence ‘everything is red’ is true if and only if every object is red. that functions like a name. ‘London’ is a singular term whose referent is the city of London. given this objectual interpretation. are seen as secondorder functions which take predicates (i. for example. See Meaning scepticism Noun See Name Noun-phrase: A phrase. The quantifiers. x is . Thus understood. Others deny these claims and argue that the normativity of meaning is irreducible.110 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z we are disposed to use linguistic expressions.

is red’ is its argument. quantified sentences cannot be equivalent to sentences that are not quantified. the two cannot be equivalent. but since quantified sentences cover these cases also.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 111 red’. Observation sentences can be verified by means of observations. . ’ is the universal quantifier and ‘. The entities a theory is committed to are those which have to exist if the theory is to be true. . . Quine has argued that we do not look at the names in a theory to find out the theory’s ontological commitments. in his view a theory is committed only to those entities which must be in the . x . since there might be objects for which we have no name. is red’). See Quantification. See Logical positivism Occasion sentence See eternal sentence Ontological commitment: Theories have ontological commitments to the existence of some entities. Existential sentences like ‘something is red’ are true if an only if there is at least one object which satisfies the relevant first-order function (in our example ‘. We can now reformulate the initial point about the interpretation of these quantifiers in the language of formal semantics. where ‘For anything x. while theoretical sentences can only be verified indirectly by means of the verification of those observation sentences they entail. . Given the objectual interpretation. . Universal sentences like ‘everything is red’ are true if and only if every object satisfies the relevant first-order function. Observation sentences are contrasted with theoretical sentences. Instead. . No sentence without quantifiers could be construed as being about the nameless. Substitutional quantification Observation sentence: A sentence used to report an observation such as ‘this flower is red’.

if Mary does not know that Cicero was also called Tully. Thus. In the sentence ‘Cicero was a Roman orator’. See Interpretation. . the sentence ‘Mary believes that Cicero was a Roman orator’ might be true. Quantifier Further reading: Quine (1948) Opacity: A construction that changes a position which would be available for substitution salva veritate of coreferential terms into one that is not so available. This lack of . ’ is not extensional. Open sentence: An open sentence is not a genuine sentence. . ‘X is the capital of Wales’ is the open sentence obtained by substituting the variable X for the name ‘Cardiff’ in the sentence ‘Cardiff is the capital of Wales’. ‘Mary believes that . A construction that is not opaque is transparent. In his view. but it is transparent. rather it is the result of substituting in a sentence a variable for a singular term. for example. our definition of the concept of a cat leaves it open whether a creature capable of speech but that is like a cat in other respects is a cat. the name ‘Cicero’ can be substituted with ‘Tully’ (another name of the same man) without changing the truth-value of the sentence. Open texture: The term was introduced by Friedrich Waismann to refer to a phenomenon which he took to be common to most linguistic expressions. Thus. whilst the sentence ‘Mary believes that Tully was a Roman orator’ is false. Opaqueness is not the same as non-extensionality. since the modal construction ‘it is necessary that . . ’ is an opaque construction. .112 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z universe of discourse for the quantified sentences in the theory to be true. the application of our empirical concepts is only partially defined. However. For example.

Austin. . He quipped that when somebody points to the moon. if I utter the sentence ‘I call that “Morning Glory”’ and I point in the direction of a steamship. Oratio obliqua See Indirect speech Ordinary language philosophy: An approach to philosophy. since any concept can be made more precise if the need arises. a proponent of the approach. or concluding that somebody must be the mother of everybody from the premise that everybody has somebody as his or her mother. The approach is characterised by a distaste for metaphysics and for formal approaches to language. popular in Britain in the 1950s. What is also needed is the use of a sortal as in ‘I call that ship “Morning Glory”’. More seriously. the pointing and my utterance alone do not determine that the ship. Operator shift fallacy: A fallacy in reasoning involving an incorrect shift in the scope of an operator such as a quantifier or a modal operator.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 113 precision in our concepts is not thought by Waismann to be a problem. engaged in complex taxonomies of the ordinary uses of words. the fool looks at the finger. Ostension: The gesture of pointing or indicating. say. Wittgenstein has argued that the referent of a term cannot be fixed by ostension alone. rather than. Examples of such fallacious thinking are concluding that a white wall is necessarily white from the premise that necessarily a white wall is white. its burning furnace. is what ‘Morning Glory’ refers to. Operator: A functional expression such as a quantifier or an expression of modality or tense. which focused on the various ways in which words are used.

Antony Flew argued for the existence of free will on the basis of the fact that there are actions which are paradigmatic cases for the use of the word ‘free’. In the philosophy of ı language a variety of paradoxes has proved recalcitrant to any attempted solution. Parataxis: A grammatical construction that involves no subordinate clauses. Thus. Davidson has offered a paratactic interpretation of indirect speech. which normally would . These include the liar paradox and the sorites paradox. There are various kinds of paradoxes. paraphrase serves the purposes of explication and logical simplification. Thus. is not generally practised these days. In mathematics. for instance. wear its ontological commitments on its sleeve and serve as an explication for the paraphrased expression. Paradox: We have a paradox whenever by means of seemingly valid reasoning we move from true premises to a false conclusion.114 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z P Paradigm case argument: A form of argument much in use among supporters of ordinary language philosophy. the paraphrase of an expression should convey the same meaning as the paraphrased expression but have a less misleading logical structure. Paraphrase: As used by philosophers. Russell’s paradox concerning the class of all classes that are not members of themselves forced the rejection of na¨ve class theory. which concludes from the fact that there are paradigmatic uses of an expression of a concept to the conclusion that there are instances that satisfy the concept. This form of argumentation. together with the kind of philosophy that sustained it.

linguistic See Linguistic performance Performative: Austin coined the term to refer to utterances which are not truth-evaluable. The approach offers a neat solution to the second of Frege’s puzzles. Thus. Performance. Ferdinand de Particular: A concrete specific thing or person. Peirce’s main contribution to logic is his formulation of the distinction between three kinds of inference: deductive. the sentence ‘Galileo said that the earth moves’ is understood as composed of two self-standing sentences: ‘Galileo said that’ where ‘that’ functions as a demonstrative. ch. London. Individual Peirce.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 115 seem to involve subordinate clauses. where this second sentence provides the reference for the demonstrative in the first. 7 Parole See Saussure. particulars are those individuals which are not abstract. Further reading: Davidson (1991). inductive and abductive (inference to the best explanation). and are examples of ways . He also developed an extensive categorisation of different kinds of signs including the distinction between icon. and ‘the earth moves’. In his view. See Abstract entity. Finally. he also provided one of the first explicit characterisations of the type–token distinction. David Beckham are all examples of particulars. index and symbol. Mount Everest. Charles Sanders (1839–1914): He was one of the founders of American pragmatism and of semiotics (the science of signs). The result is that the initial complex utterance has the significance of ‘an utterance of Galileo said-the-same-as this: the earth moves’.

There is more than one version of the argument. Perfomatives are contrasted with constative utterances. H. Surprising. in the context of a wedding. might none the less be false. annoying somebody by talking non-stop is an example of a perlocutionary act. For instance. Putnam’s argument against the view depends on showing that language cannot stand in the kind of determinate referential relation to reality which the view requires. The argument is sometimes also called ‘Putnam’s model-theoretic argument’. that there is only one true description of the way the world is and that truth is correspondence to reality. As a result. frightening. P. See Grice.. See Speech act Perlocutionary act: A term coined by Austin for acts that consist in the production of certain effects in one’s audience by one’s utterance. startling a person by one’s utterances are also examples of this category. For example. the effect is to make the audience do something or believe something. Speaker meaning Permutation argument: An argument formulated by Putnam against metaphysical realism. Putnam’s basic idea is that there is always more than one interpretation . since in saying it one is thereby getting married. Locutionary act. which is by human standards epistemically ideal.116 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z of doing things by means of words. Typically. ‘I do’ can be a performative utterance. supporters of metaphysical realism are committed to the claim that a scientific theory. See Illocutionary act. Speech act Perlocutionary intention: The intention of a speaker to bring about an effect in his or her audience by means of an utterance. Metaphysical realism is the view that the world consists of a fixed number of mind-independent objects.

Internal realism Further reading: Hale and Wright (1999). It is a very radical form of empiricism. a model) also has other models with domains that have a different number of things in it. and thus change the assignments of reference to the names and predicates used in the theory without changing the truth-values at each possible world for the sentences in the theory. Critics have pointed out that Putnam’s is not a knock-out argument. It is also sometimes stated as the view that ordinary objects are logical constructions of our sense data. we can permutate or change the universe of discourse of the theory. See Inscrutability of reference. things and their collections cannot be uniquely determined. but it was once championed by Carnap and also Ayer. Putnam (1981) Phenomenalism: The view that statements about ordinary objects can be analysed without remainder into statements about actual and possible perceptions.. Phoneme: Basic unit of sounds that compose words (morphemes).PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 117 that assigns all the correct truth conditions to the sentences constituting our complete theory of reality. the referential relations between names. This view does not have many current supporters. predicates.e. again. Thus. it is more a challenge to the metaphysical realist to provide an account of what determines referential relations. reference cannot be fixed in the way required by metaphysical realism. Thus. . Earlier versions of the argument relied on model-theoretical ¨ results known as Lowenheim-Skolem theorems to argue that any theory that has an interpretation which makes all the sentences in the theory come out as true (i. In other words.

See Grasping a thought Possibility: There is more than one kind of possibility. when I think . and so forth. when I assert that I might not have been born in Italy. belief might be thought as whatever together with desire provides reasons for action. The concept is not empty if and only if there is one kind of thing that plays all the roles listed by the platitudes. Common-sense functional definitions of concepts usually begin by stating a number of platitudes that are part of the common understanding of the concept. I do not express doubt about my place of birth. See Necessity Further reading: Plantinga (1974) Possible world: The notion of a possible world has been introduced in philosophy to provide a semantics for modal discourse. Thus. what I mean is that as far as I know it is possible that he has. when I say that the postman might have delivered the parcel. and provides reasons for other beliefs. I am expressing the fact that I could have been born elsewhere.118 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Platitude: A trivial truth. Epistemic possibility expresses uncertainty. Alethic possibility concerns instead what is possibly true. Beliefs exist if and only if there is one kind of state that plays all of these roles. Thus. and can be justified by perception. Platonism: A view that is committed to the existence of mindindependent entities which are not spatiotemporally located and are knowable by some sort of non-perceptual intuition. for instance. A possible world is a complete way in which things might have been. which is to say true in some possible world. Thus. which is to say discourse that is concerned with necessity and possibility. Thus.

a necessary proposition is true if and only if it is true in all possible worlds. argue that linguistic . like the one in which we live. which are false at all possible worlds. complete stories about how the whole universe might have been. There is a debate among philosophers about the nature of possible worlds. what I am thinking is that there is a possible world in which I have won the lottery. A minority follows Lewis in believing that they are real universes. Some understand it as the study of those features of language which are not covered in semantics. a possibility is true if and only if it is true in some possible world. who oppose formal semantics. Counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. While counterfactuals are thought to be true if at the closest possible world in which the antecedent is true. Pragmatics: There are different views of what this area of study involves. An alternative view is to take pragmatics as the study of those properties of linguistic expressions which the expressions have in virtue of their context broadly construed. Others take them to be abstract entities of some sort. in mathematics. a basic principle such as an axiom. are true by default. De dicto modality. Several take them as descriptions. the consequent is also true. Each of these universes is completely isolated from the others. Thus. the study of syntax and phonology. De re modality Further reading: Divers (2002) Possible world semantics: Possible worlds have been used to develop a semantics for modal sentences about necessity and possibility and counterfactuals. See Counterpart. Some philosophers. Further reading: Lewis (1986b) Postulate: It is either an assumption or.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 119 that I could have won the lottery.

In this proposition. The extension of a predicate is the class of things (or of ordered pairs or triplets and so forth) that fall under it. Thus. the predicable ‘woman’ plays the role of predicate. ‘woman’ is a predicable because by attaching it to the expression ‘Queen Elizabeth II’. Further reading: Travis (1999) Pragmatism: A North American school of thought first developed by Peirce and William James in the nineteenth century which rejects abstraction in favour of practical utility. predicables do not always play the role of predicates in propositions in which they appear. Further reading: Murphy (1990) Predicable: An expression that produces a proposition about something when attached to another expression that stands for that thing. Rorty is the most prominent advocate of pragmatism. which refers to Queen Elizabeth II.120 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z expressions have their meaning in virtue of their contexts. They reject views that have no practical consequence or distinctions that make no difference in practice. we form the proposition ‘Queen Elizabeth II is a woman’ which is about that same individual. Predicate: The logical category of expressions used to attribute properties and relations to things. But. This piece of terminology was introduced by Geach. These philosophers thus argue that pragmatics rather than semantics offers the materials for a satisfactory account of meaning. Hence. Pragmatists are well known for supporting a view according to which truth is what works. In contemporary philosophy. . the extension of the predicate ‘is red’ is the class of red things. ‘Woman is the equal of man’ is an example.

the other pragmatic. we need to explain how the two are connected. it has a kind of unity. Thus. Britishness and instantiation. Frege claimed that the unity is given by the fact that the predicate is not a name for a universal. Instead. The pragmatic notion refers to a feature of speakers whose presuppositions are the propositions they believe constitute the background information in their current conversations. size and weight which is not a matter of a relation . we think of the subject as a name for a particular and the general term as a name for a universal.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 121 while the extension of the relation ‘is the capital of’ is the class of ordered pairs whose first member is a capital city and whose second member is the related country. Further reading: Stalnaker (1974). Strawson (1949) Primary quality: A perceptible property of things such as shape. It will not help to say that they are related by the relation of instantiation because this answer only gives rise to a further question about the connection between Tony Blair. A sentence or a proposition is not a list of names. its reference is a concept which is meant to be unsaturated by nature. the sentence ‘The mayor of Newport is a woman’ presupposes the sentence ‘Newport has a mayor’. The logical notion is used to refer to a sentence or statement whose truth is a necessary condition for another statement to have a truth-value. some philosophers have rescued the idea that the predicate names a universal and located the unsaturatedness which unifies the proposition in the copula. Presupposition: This notion has two senses: one logical. If. See Concept. in the sentence ‘Tony Blair is British’. More recently. Interpretation Predication: The problem of predication is also known as the problem of the unity of the proposition.

The solitary speaker of the language. The problem is not that the agent might misremember what the sensation is like. when the person has a sensation. because they could not know what ‘S’ stands for since they have no way of individuating the kind of sensation which corresponds to it. See Secondary quality Private language: A logically private language would be a language that only one person could speak and no one else could either learn or understand. Consequently. which is the language of only one person. no one else could learn it. Private language argument: In the Philosophical Investigations (1953) Wittgenstein argues that private languages are impossible. Wittgenstein’s private language argument is intended to show that private languages are impossible. Primary qualities are contrasted with secondary qualities. instead. The problem is rather that what makes two sensations instances of the same kind is simply the agent’s saying so. but which could at least in principle be understood or learnt by others. Wittgenstein asks us to imagine a person developing a language to name her inner sensations. A logically private language would be a language that only one person could speak and no one else could either learn or understand. This language would be private. However. like colour. It is thus different from a solitary language. Wittgenstein points out. which are typically thought to be so dependent.122 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z between the thing and the perceiver. Thus. she coins a name for sensations of that kind. the very idea that . is meant to be able by introspection alone to tell when she experiences the same sensation again and reapply the name ‘S’ to it. this would be an illusion. and therefore make mistakes when applying the name ‘S’. Let us say that the name is ‘S’.

even though the world includes only regularities or constant conjunctions. for David Hume we project necessary connections onto the world. if the idea of using the name incorrectly makes no sense here. Thus. These have two kinds of uses: (1) as demonstratives or indexicals. what we have here is not a genuine name. and. Consequently. Pronoun: An expression like ‘he’ or ‘it’ or ‘I’. See Rule-following Further reading: Hacker (1993) Productivity: A feature which is often attributed to linguistic understanding. He made a toast’. such as ‘For every number there is a number which is . However. finally. there is no difference between thinking that an application is correct and the application being correct. defend the utility and correctness of the sort of talk under scrutiny. as in ‘When John came for dinner. Language of thought Projectivism: The view that we project onto the external world some features which are in fact inner to the agent. A projectivist. and (2) as expressions standing in cross-referencing (or anaphoric) relation to nouns. he might adopt quasi-realism. Instead. the quantificational use. Wittgenstein claims. not a real language. as in: ‘Someone picked up the glass. But if mistakes are impossible.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 123 the subject could be wrong as to whether the name ‘S’ applies to a sensation is incoherent. and explain why it seems to state facts when in reality it expresses attitudes. See Compositionality. the e-type use. however. he brought a bottle of wine’. There are three kinds of anaphoric uses of pronouns: the so-called lazy use. does not need to hold that all our beliefs about the relevant area of discourse are false. the idea of using it correctly makes no sense either.

Bush is the US President in 2006. the proposition expressed by the sentence ‘George W. In the quantificational case. if Tony Blair says it. the sentence ‘I am hungry’ expresses different propositions when it is uttered by different people at different times. which is so called because the antecedent of the anaphor is an expression that functions as a quantifier. but do not really believe that there exist entities called ‘propositions’. Propositions are also generally taken to be the primary bearers of truth and falsity. Other philosophers believe in their existence. Bush is the US President in 2006’ is the set of possible worlds in which George W. Thus. The same sentence can in different contexts express different propositions. Some take propositions as sets of possible worlds. They use it for convenience’s sake. Bush is hungry at that time. If. Thus. Some philosophers do not take talk of propositions very seriously. See Anaphora Proper name See Singular term Proposition: Propositions are what sentences express. the pronoun can be substituted with a noun-phrase constructed from the context. George W. not so in the other two cases. instead. it expresses the proposition that Tony Blair is hungry at that time. Thus. The first kind of use is called lazy because in these instances the name could be substituted for the cross-referencing pronoun. Sentences would be true or false only in the derivative sense of expressing a true or false proposition. the sentence expresses the proposition that George W. For instance. In the e-type.124 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z greater than it’. Bush says it. it is not possible to substitute a name or a noun-phrase for the pronoun. however. in the example above we can substitute ‘the person who picked up the glass’ for the pronoun ‘he’. A problem for this .

’ and ‘all squares have four sides’. believing. which is what is believed. discovering. some philosophers have suggested that propositions are instead structured entities which typically have things. Belief. Further reading: McKay and Nelson (2005) Prosentence: Supporters of the prosentential theory of truth take expressions such as ‘that is true’ and ‘it is true’ to be prosentences.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 125 view of propositions is that it discriminates them very coarsely. since it is used to report that John has the propositional attitude of belief toward the proposition which is expressed by the sentence ‘Mark Twain is Samuel Clemens’. since they are both true in every possible world. such as ‘all triangles have three sides. desiring. knowing. These reports give rise to one of Frege’s puzzles. which is usually understood as a two-place relation between a person and a proposition. would be a relation of believing that holds between a person (the believer) and a proposition. such as intending. Truth-bearer Further reading: McGrath (2006) Propositional attitude: A psychological relation. and so forth. Thus. wanting. express the same proposition. knowing. In order to avoid this problem. properties and relations among their components. These are called ‘structured propositions’. See propositional attitude reports Propositional attitude reports: Sentences used to attribute a propositional attitude to a person. Prosentences are standardly considered . ‘John believes that Mark Twain is Samuel Clemens’ is a propositional attitude report. It is a counterintuitive consequence of the view that all tautologies. for example. See Singular proposition.

Instead. He formulated his well-known permutation argument. they are assumed to succeed in referring to the object. These people are not meant to associate any description with the name. and developed a position he called internal realism. According to this view. prosentential theory of Psychologism: A view of the nature of logic which Frege vehemently opposed. which is called anaphora. Hilary (1926–): At the time of writing Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. and . Prosentences relate to tokens of sentences in the same way in which pronouns relate to tokens of nouns. Before the 1980s he developed his celebrated Twin Earth and brain in a vat thought experiments in favour of semantic externalism. Q Qua-problem: A problem for a purely causal theory of reference. Putnam has made numerous contributions to the philosophy of language. In his later years Putnam’s views have become more sympathetic to pragmatism. See Truth. logic is the branch of psychology concerned with describing patterns of inference used by human beings in reasoning. their parts are not thought to be independently meaningful.126 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z semantically atomic. At that time he was a supporter of the causal theory of reference and a metaphysical realist. is one of cross-referencing. In the 1980s he abandoned these views. This point can be made by writing the prosentence thus: ‘that-is-true’. Putnam. This relation. According to this view names would be initially introduced into the language by baptisers who first perceive the object so named.

it is not enough to point to it and utter a word. The two main quantifiers used in logic are the universal and the existential quantifier. quantifiers are used to express general sentences in logic. which can be translated respectively as ‘every’ and ‘some’. There are two main quantifiers: the universal (symbolised as (x) or (∀x)) and the existential (symbolised as (∃x)). These are expressions of generality. together with negation. ‘every’ and ‘any’. Reference can be fixed only if we associate a description or a general term (sortal) with the newly introduced name. See Quantifying-in Quantifier: First introduced by Frege. the existential quantifier to translate expressions like ‘some’ and ‘there is’. What this problem shows is that in order to be able to name something. ‘at most one’ are all examples of quantifiers in English. ‘any’. Suppose they utter the noise ‘gatto’ when in the presence of a cat. ‘many’. merely in virtue of being causally related to it. They could be naming that particular cat. they could be introducing the general name ‘cat’. ‘few’. We succeed in referring to the particular cat if we use the description ‘that cat’ when introducing the cat’s name. The universal quantifier is used to translate expressions such as ‘all’. they are the means to talk about a collection of things.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 127 name it. ‘All’. ‘every’. Nothing could determine whether they are referring to the cat qua-cat or qua-feline. ‘most’. ‘there . they could even be introducing the general term ‘tail’ or ‘whisker’. But at any one time there are many different things the baptisers are equally causally related to. Either of the two can be defined in terms of the other. since when one perceives a cat one also perceives a feline. they could be introducing the general name ‘feline’. ‘there is’. Quantification: It concerns the use of quantifiers.

However.e. when the quantifiers are intended to range over everything there is. In . say ‘John’. . These are non-extensional contexts such as modal contexts (about possibility and necessity) or doxastic contexts (about belief). See Objectual quantification. Thus understood the sentence ‘Something is tall’ is true if and only if there is at least one object which is tall. since most philosophers believe that all restricted quantification can be paraphrased away using the unrestricted quantifiers. Unrestricted quantifiers have been interpreted in two ways. which can be substituted in the argument place of the predicate ‘. The first substitutional interpretation. It can also be taken to be restricted where the quantifier is taken to range over part of what there is. a class of things. then it is possible that it is blue’. Thus. ‘all animals’. whose support of a notion of relative identity has as a consequence the irreducibility of restricted to unrestricted quantification. for example.. the quantifier is said to be quantifying-in to a context. animals and people. Quantification can be unrestricted. the sentence ‘Everything red could have been blue’ can be paraphrased ‘For any object. . takes a sentence like ‘Something is tall’ to be true if and only if there is a name. Substitutional quantification. ‘someone’ which are best read as restricted quantifiers ranging respectively over flowers. ‘exist’. Variable Quantifying-in: In some sentences involving quantifiers.128 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z are’. An exception is Geach. if it is red. The second dominant interpretation of the quantifiers is called objectual. Some philosophers have argued that natural languages have expressions such as ‘some flowers’. they use unrestricted quantification to translate sentences from natural languages. is tall’. i. to yield a true subject–predicate sentence such as ‘John is tall’. which is largely discredited.

however.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 129 this example. which is outside. The quantifier. quietists are happy to use the same vocabulary as realists. See Non-cognitivism Further reading: Blackburn (1993) Quietism: The approach taken by those philosophers who aim to deflate metaphysical controversies. The quasi-realist. In the realm of moral discourse this view has been developed by Blackburn. In formal logical languages we express this point by saying that there is in the non-extensional context a variable which is bound by a quantifier that is outside that context. One of the greatest challenges for a quasi-realist is to provide a satisfactory answer to the Frege–Geach problem. He wants to show that moral discourse can seem to involve making claims about moral reality when. that the main purpose of moral discourse is to express emotions and attitudes. See Anaphora Quasi-realism: A form of anti-realism. especially the debate between realism and anti-realism. with the supporters of expressivism. we have a modal context (it is possible that it is blue) which includes a pronoun which cross-refers to a quantified expression (‘everything’) outside the modal context. The quasi-realist intends to explain this phenomenon. However. He holds. is therefore said to be quantifying inside the context. acknowledges that ordinary moral discourse seems to be used to make claims which are true or false rather than being merely a way of conveying approval or disapproval. Thus. they will assert that entities such as stars would exist even though we had never been around. . Typically. and that statements are true when they correspond to reality. as a matter of fact. It is not to make statements. it provides a sophisticated way of expressing approval and disapproval.

He is particularly well known for his debunking of the analytic– synthetic distinction for his arguments in favour of the indeterminacy of translation. an expression or a sentence obtained by putting that word. expression or sentence within quotes. Quote name. ‘Rome’. ‘Rome’ names the name. not the city. and his scepticism about de re modality. V. ‘Tony Blair’. The radical interpreter provides an interpretation of the sentences uttered by other speakers without presupposing that they mean the same things by their words as the interpreter means by hers. and that ‘snow is white’ is composed of three words. See Disquotation. (1908–2000): A very influential American philosopher.130 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z quietists also add that they can make these assertions without thereby committing themselves to the substantive metaphysics of realism. Use–mention distinction Quote name: The name of a word. it is true to say that ‘Rome’ has four letters. See Use–mention distinction R Radical interpretation: A notion introduced by Davidson which bears a close relation to Quine’s radical translation. Quine. Thus. W. He made several ground-breaking contributions to the philosophy of language. The problem faced by the . Further reading: Quine (1951). Quine spent most of his academic life at Harvard University. ‘snow is white’ are all quote names. (1960) and (1969) Quotation: It involves the use of quotes to mention a word or expression. O.

Quine imagines an anthropologist encountering a group of people. That is. See Humanity. she takes belief to be constant. principle of Further reading: Davidson (1991). The interpreter succeeds in providing an interpretation by deploying the principle of charity. in order to see whether ‘gavagai’ means rabbit. See Argument from above. She assumes that the individuals she interprets mostly hold beliefs which are true. the anthropologist might try out the expression ‘gavagai’ with the natives both when rabbits are present and when they are not. relying at the beginning exclusively on prompting the natives in various circumstances with expressions of their language to see whether they assent or not. Quine points out that even if natives only and always assent to ‘gavagai’ in the presence of rabbits.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 131 interpreter is that belief and meaning are interdependent. 9 Radical translation: An idea introduced by Quine in the context of his arguments in favour of the indeterminacy of translation. The interpreter can presuppose that most of her beliefs and most of the beliefs held by the people she interprets are true because omniscient interpreters. ch. The anthropologist attempts to translate the native language from scratch. Stimulus-meaning Further reading: Quine (1960) . She cannot figure out what a person might mean by his words unless she knows what he believes. and she has no other access to his beliefs besides his verbal reports of what they are. to be something she shares with those she interprets. ‘gavagai’ might mean undetached rabbit part rather than rabbit. who had been completely isolated up to that point. So. Argument from below. whose beliefs are true. would also assume that they share most of their beliefs with the individuals whose speech they interpret.

such that John has x2 and John has x3 and. . In such an instance we would have a case of circularity. The Ramsey sentence for this definition is: John is in state M1 (desires a beer) if and only if there is an x2 . For example. . . . Realism: A realist about a given area of discourse believes that talk about objects and properties in that area of discourse can be true because those objects and properties have objective. mind-independent existence. suppose one wishes to provide a definition of a mental state such as the desire to have a beer (let us call it M1 ). . . x3 . . and (x2 . . . . . xi ). . . The definition will make a reference to other mental states. Ramsey for producing explicit definitions while avoiding circularity. . (∃ xi ) [John has x2 and John has x3 and . . there is an x3 . . . John is in state M1 (desires a beer) if and only if John is in state M2 (believes a beer is present) and in state M3 (believes that he can reach the beer). and M (x2 . P. x3 . . John has xi . They are the result of a method developed by F. This can be avoided by substituting all the names for the other states in one’s definition with variables which are bound by the existential quantifier. Thus. xi ) are mental states. . . Thus. and in state Mi . . for instance. . See Anti-realism Further reading: Devitt (1991) Recognition transcendence See Verification transcendence . In logical notation this Ramsey sentence reads as follows: (∃x2 ) (∃x3 ) . John has xi .132 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Ramsey sentences: These are existentially quantified sentences. A scientific realist is typically also committed to the view that the objects of current scientific theories exists independently of us and actually have most of the properties we take them to have. suppose that the definition of a state makes reference to other states whose definitions make reference to the first. and there is an xi .

Thus. Hence. Thus. Supporters of the cluster theory of reference rely on this phenomenon to explain how we can use names to refer to their bearers. Elizabeth II. Description theory of reference. In this instance. Supporters of the causal view explain reference borrowing in terms of a causal chain. According to the first. even somebody who knows almost ¨ ¨ nothing about Kurt Godel can use the name ‘Godel’ and succeed in referring to him. the speaker when using the name defers to the authority of others in order to have the reference fixed. the reference of a name is secured by means of a description which uniquely identifies the referent. According to the second. the reference of ‘the Queen of England in 2004’ is a person. the reference of a proper name or a definite description is the thing named or designated. two different theories of reference are widely debated: the description or cluster theory and the causal theory. Frege uses the expression Bedeutung. Currently. Inscrutability of reference. speakers. . Semantic value. See Causal theory of reference. designation or meaning to indicate that for which a linguistic expression stands. which has been variously translated into English as reference. generally more competent. Sense Reference borrowing: This occurs when speakers use their words in order to borrow their references from the uses of those words made by other. even though we do not associate an individuating cluster of descriptions to each name. Supporters of the causal theory of reference also use the notion of reference borrowing in order to explain the dependence of uses of a name by later speakers on the use made by initial dubbers of the names.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 133 Reference: The reference of an expression is what it stands for. the reference is secured by a causal link to the thing referred to.

thus allowing the logical form of the piece of language under consideration to be made explicit. Others rely on the same facts to conclude that talk of thinking and believing does not express a genuine relation to what is believed or thought about. he states that any claim that a is identical with b is in fact a shorthand for the claim that a is the same F as b where F is a sortal. is a brother of . gives . Geach also claims that it is perfectly possible for a and b to be the same F. Second. . since it is possible to think about what does not exist. In his opinion the claim that a is the same F as b cannot be understood as saying that a is F and b is F. to . See Equivalence relation Regimentation: It involves translating a piece of ordinary language into the canonical notation of a formal language. but also to be different Gs. . such as ‘apple’ or ‘gold’. Geach offers a variety of arguments for the truth of this second thesis. . Relations can have any number of places. Relation: There are different sorts: ‘. . . It is generally thought that in order for the relation to exist. some of which presuppose the notion of a sortal. First. its relata (the things it relates) must also exist.134 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Reflexivity: The relation a thing has with itself. but some that do not. . he argues that it is not possible for any language to express the standard absolute notion of identity. . and a is identical with b. ’ is an expression for a triadic relation. See Intentionality Relative identity: A notion that has been defended by Geach. ‘. . For Geach relative identity cannot be explained in terms of absolute identity. . Some make exception for intentional relations such as believing or thinking. . . ’ is an expression for a two-place (dyadic) relation. Instead. who puts forward two distinct theses on this topic.

Arguably. Thus. Wright uses these equations to clarify the notion of a judgement-dependent predicate. response-dependent properties do not exist independently of subjects’ responses or judgements. it is in virtue of a convention that the English word ‘cat’ represents cats. There are different kinds of representations. 1 Response-dependence: Intuitively. Thus. a property is said to be judgement. thoughts are also representations. instead they depend on conventions. For example. Linguistic representations do not resemble what they represent. Thus pictures.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 135 See Quantifier. ch. for example. because it is associated with the mental idea of a cat. Philosophers who adopt this approach take the notion of mental representation to be basic. and claim that being red is simply a matter of looking red to standard observers in standard conditions. Sortal Further reading: Noonan (1999) Representation: Words and pictures are representations because they represent something. represent by resembling that of which they are a picture. one might hold that red is a response-dependent property. Thus. See Indicator semantics. Teleosemantics Further reading: Crane (2003). These intuitive notions have been made precise by Wright by means of the idea of provisional equations. the word ‘cat’ would represent cats.or response-dependent if and only if having that property is a matter of the judgements or responses issued by suitable subjects in suitable conditions. . Some philosophers attempt to explain these conventions in terms of associations between words and ideas in the mind. As a matter of contrast one might claim that being square is responseindependent because it is not true that to be square is nothing over and above being judged to be square by suitable subjects in suitable conditions.

is red’ co-varies with the predicate ‘a suitable subject S judges . For this reason. Proper names such as ‘Tony Blair’. (1) The a-prioricity condition requires that the equation must be true a priori. Wright claims that a predicate is judgement-dependent if and only if its provisional equation satisfies four conditions. The mere existence of a co-variation between being red and being judged to be red does not settle whether the subjects’ judgements infallibly track mind-independent red. or – on the contrary – the judgements themselves constitute what being red is. and vice versa. . 3 Restricted quantification See Quantification Rigid designator: An expression that refers to the same entity in all possible worlds in which that entity exists. in those conditions. (2) The substantiality condition requires that the ideal conditions are not specified in a trivial way. (4) The extremal condition requires that there is no better account for why the covariance presented by the provisional equation obtains than the hypothesis that the judgements in question determine the extension of the relevant predicate rather than merely reflect its pre-determined extension. and has no reference otherwise. to be red’. Appendix to ch. See Missing-explanation argument Further reading: Wright (1992). . ‘Ben Nevis’ are often considered examples of rigid designators. . ‘London’.136 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z The equation for the predicate ‘red’ would state that under ideal conditions. . whenever something is red. In other words. S would judge it to be red. They are contrasted with . (3) The independence condition requires that it must be possible in each case to ascertain whether the ideal conditions obtain independently of the truth of any attributions of the predicate whose status as response-dependent is under consideration. the predicate ‘ .

For example. ‘The sum of 2 + 2’ is a rigid definite description since it refers to the number 4 in all possible circumstances.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 137 non-rigid designators of which many common definite descriptions are examples. ‘Actual’ is one such rigidifying expression. Kripke thinks proper names are like this. . ‘the Prime Minister of the UK in 2006’ is not rigid because it could have referred to Gordon Brown. Rigidity: The semantic property of being a rigid designator. On the other hand. Reference Further reading: Kripke (1980) Rigidifying expression: An expression which. Description theory of reference. on the other hand. ‘the President of the United States in 2005’ refers to George Bush. transforms it into a rigid one. ‘the actual President of the United States in 2005’ is a rigid designator. Direct reference. however. ‘The actual winner of the Tour de France in 2004’ is also rigid since it refers to Lance Armstrong in all possible worlds in which he exists. if Bush is the actual President in 2005. De facto rigid designators. Some definite descriptions. The first are those designators that are stipulated to refer to a single object. See Causal theory of reference. are those definite descriptions which refer only to one thing because in every possible world the same thing is the one thing which satisfies the description. ‘Gordon Brown’ would instead be rigid because it always refers to him or to nothing if he did not exist. Cluster theory of reference. nobody else could be the actual President in 2005. Kripke makes a distinction between de jure and de facto rigid designators. are rigid. Thus. when used to qualify a non-rigid designator such as a definite description. but it could have referred to somebody else had the outcome of the 2004 presidential elections been different.

2. however. If today is Sunday. 3. and the addition of further rules to the premises will be of no help in getting him to accept the conclusion. Rorty describes himself as a supporter of pragmatism. to Davidson’s views on truth and epistemology. If ‘if P then Q’ and ‘P’ are true. he also defends deflationism about truth. He also notes that to think that .138 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Rorty. Rule: A norm which is usually taken to be codified by means of an explicit formulation. Carroll wants us to imagine somebody who accepts 1 and 2 but rejects 3. Today is Sunday. tomorrow is Monday. One might try to convince this person by stating the following rule: 4. tomorrow is Monday. can accept 4 as well as 1 and 2. Richard (1931–): He is an American philosopher who has held posts at Princeton University and at the University of Virginia. He has written many articles on topics ranging from politics and deconstruction. The interlocutor. Wittgenstein made several important remarks about rules and connected these to his private language argument. Wittgenstein points out that following or obeying a rule is different from acting in a way that accords with it. Lewis Carroll offered a neat argument why not all norms can take the form of explicitly formulated rules. What is required is the acceptance of a rule or norm of inference which cannot itself take the form of a premise of the argument. Rule-following: This issue was first discussed by Wittgenstein in the Philosophical Investigations (1953) and subsequently revived by Kripke inWittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (1982). Consider the following argument. then ‘Q’ is also true. which has the form of modus ponens: 1. and still reject 3. Therefore. First. In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1980) Rorty argued that philosophy since the early modern period has been mired by a picture of the mind as containing representations that mirror reality.

Meaning scepticism. as Wittgenstein shows. and that the two notions should not be allowed to collapse into one other. because it generates an infinite regress. ch. and so forth ad infinitum. 11 Russell. . His main contributions to the philosophy of language are his account of definite descriptions. Wittgenstein shows that when trying to elucidate the idea of following or obeying a rule we are tempted by two equally unsatisfactory accounts. and in particular for his formulation of the paradox of the class whose members are all the classes which do not have themselves as a member. and it is the second normative notion that is required by any satisfactory account of rule-following. The account fails. and a further interpretation to interpret that interpretation.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 139 one is following a rule is not the same as following it. and some features of his account of thought that has inspired others to develop the notion of Russellian thoughts. his version of the correspondence theory of truth. Any account in terms of regularity might explain what the person will do but not what it ought to do. we need an interpretation of how to interpret the interpretation. Bertrand (1872–1970): A British philosopher and committed pacifist. Normativity of meaning Further reading: McDowell (1998). Finally. The second account attempts to explain rule-following in terms of regularities of behaviour. In order to interpret the rule. See Dispositionalism. Russell was educated at Cambridge University where he subsequently lectured. The first account would explain rule-following in terms of offering an interpretation of the rule. and for his solution to this paradox by means of his theory of types. This account also fails because it cannot ground the distinction between behaviour that accords with the rule and behaviour that follows it. He is perhaps most famous for his contributions to mathematical logic.

. For Evans. Russellian thoughts would be a kind of singular or object-involving thought since their existence depends on the existence of the objects the thoughts purport to be about. See Demonstrative thought. Further reading: Evans (1982) Russellian proposition See Singular proposition Russellian singular term See Logically proper name Russellian thought: A thought is said to be Russellian if and only if it has. one must know which object it is one is thinking about’. the object it is about. Russell took his principle to imply that one must be able to distinguish that object from all other objects. . These thoughts are called ‘Russellian’ because sentences used to express their contents involve what Evans has labelled a ‘Russellian singular term’. Thus. singular proposition S Salva veritate: A Latin expression meaning ‘saving the truth’.140 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Russell’s principle: The principle attributed by Evans to Russell according to which ‘in order to be thinking about an object . There is disagreement even among supporters of the existence of singular thoughts as to whether Russell’s account of their constituents is correct. namely a logically proper name which is a singular term whose meaning depends on it having a reference. as one of its constituents. Descriptive thought. Two expression are said to be intersubstitutable salva veritate when one can be substituted for the other .

Further reading: Devitt and Sterelny (1999). semantic theory of Saussure. rather than by connections to extra-linguistic reality. the forefather of structuralism.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 141 in the context of a given sentence without changing the truth or falsity of that sentence. For instance. Syntagmatic relations hold between a word and other words with which it can be conjoined in a syntactically correct string (syntagm). semantic theory of Satisfaction condition See Truth. ch. Saussure’s most influential work. Paradigmatic relations hold between words which can be inter-substituted in strings without damaging their syntactical correctness. This distinction bears significant similarities to Chomsky’s distinction between linguistic competence and linguistic performance. ‘dog’ and ‘cat’ are thus related. There are two kinds of intra-linguistic relations: syntagmatic and paradigmatic. was published after his death and e e consists mainly of amalgamated lecture notes taken by his students. ‘a’ and ‘dog’ can form the syntagm ‘a dog’ and thus are syntagmatically related. who famously held that the meaning (signified) of a word (signifier) is determined by the relations between that word and other parts of language. See Extensional context Satisfaction: A notion developed by Tarski as part of his theory of truth. See truth. Ferdinand de (1857–1913): A Swiss linguist. For instance. the Cours de linguistique g´ n´ rale (1916). Saying/showing: A distinction that plays an important role in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (1922). He also drew a distinction between a rule-governed abstract linguistic system (langue) and its manifestation in the behaviour of actual speakers of the language (parole). In that book . 13.

Sellars provided an account of meaning in terms of functional classification and for this reason he has been seen as one of the forefathers of inferentialism. Similarly. in the sentence ‘Not everybody smokes’. whilst addition has a narrower scope which is indicated by the brackets. which is in some sense relative to a perceiver. Response-dependence Sellars. See Primary quality. picture theory of Scepticism about meaning See Meaning scepticism Scope: Functions. More recently. .142 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Wittgenstein appears to claim that there are features of reality and of language that show themselves but cannot be said. the property of being red is defined in terms of looking read to standard perceivers in standard circumstances. His most significant contribution to philosophy has been his sustained attack on the myth of the given. the whole expression is within the scope of the subtraction. Thus. Thus. Secondary quality: A perceptible property of things. John Locke thought of secondary qualities as powers or dispositions of things to cause in us a certain experience. Wilfrid (1912–89): He was an American philosopher who held posts at the University of Minnesota and the University of Pittsburgh. in (5 + 3) − 4. operators and quantifiers when used in complex expressions have a scope which is the part of the expression to which they apply. secondary qualities have been thought to be response-dependent. like colour or texture. See Elucidation. Meaning. the negation has a wider scope than the universal quantifier. Any attempt to put them into words is destined to end up as nonsense.

These include the acquisition argument and the manifestation argument. A semantic anti-realist about any given area of discourse claims that sentences in that area of discourse should not be seen as being made true or false by verification-transcendent truth conditions. Further reading: Wright (1993) Semantic ascent: A common move in recent analytic philosophy. for example. Dummett has provided several arguments against semantic realism and in support of anti-realism.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 143 Semantic anti-realism: A view first formulated by Dummett in terms of its opposition to semantic realism. It involves an ascent to language. Thus. attempt to explain them in terms of the causal relations between bits of reality and mental states. It is a shift away from using certain terms to talk about the terms themselves. for example. which is to say conditions whose obtaining or failure to obtain might be undetectable by us. are reformulated as disputes about the function and truth conditions of ethical discourse. They might. semantic ascent is involved when disputes about ethics. Supporters of the view believe that semantic properties are therefore ultimately explainable in naturalistic terms. See Indicator semantics . Semantic externalism See Externalism Semantic irrealism See Meaning irrealism Semantic naturalism: The view that semantic properties such as meaning are instantiated in virtue of the instantiation of natural properties expressible in the vocabulary of the natural sciences.

Semantic realism is opposed by supporters of semantic anti-realism. others have taken it to be its extension. Second. The semantic value of a predicate has been thought by Frege to be a concept. a property or a relation. such as objects to names and extensions to predicates. is the contribution that expression makes to the determination of the truth or falsity of the (possibly complex) sentences of which that expression is a part.144 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Semantic realism: A supporter of semantic realism about a given area of discourse holds that sentences in that area of discourse have verification-transcendent truth conditions. The notion of an index is crucial to the interpretation of sentences including indexical terms. Further reading: Wright (1993) Semantic value: The semantic value of an expression. whose reference is not fixed independently of a context. Thus. and truth functions to various operators. possible worlds and index. a name. truth conditions whose obtaining can outstrip our ability to recognise or verify them. that of a sentence is its truth-value (true or false). Paradigmatically. the semantic theory provides interpretations for complex sentences relative to a time. Reference Semantics: In recent years semantics has come to mean the study of formal theories of meaning rather than simply the study of the semantic (world-language) properties of some expression. the semantic value of a name is the thing named. predicate or sentence. Dummett’s acquisition argument and manifestation argument are intended as global arguments against semantic realism. for example. a formal semantics for a fragment of a natural language consists first in assignments of semantic values to various subsentential portions of the language. See Bedeutung. See pragmatics . that is to say.

possible-world semantics provides a way of assigning truth conditions to. possible-world: First elaborated by Kripke. Wright (1993) Semantics. Semantics. its assertibility conditions. inferentialist: A theory that explains the meaning of a sentence or utterance in terms of its inferential connections. Meaning. More specifically. chs 1–6. Roughly speaking. being incompatible with ‘Leo is a plant’. Thus.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 145 Semantics. assertibility conditions: It is Dummett who first elaborated an account of meaning in terms of the assertibility conditions associated with statements or sentences. See Semantics. Conceptual roles are often explained inferentially in terms of the roles played by the states in reasoning. and being entailed by ‘Leo is a lion’. the meaning of ‘Leo is a mammal’ is understood in terms of its entailing ‘Leo is an animal’. the meaning of a statement is what is known by the person who understands it. See Assertibility conditions. in other words. Dummett contends that what that person would have knowledge of is the conditions that warrant asserting that statement. conceptual role: A theory that explains the contents of mental states in terms of their conceptual connections to other mental states. and understanding the logical relations . theories of Further reading: Dummett (1996). their connections to perceptual inputs and behavioural outputs. This is a version of meaning holism because the meaning of each sentence is determined by its connections to the meanings of other sentences. The content thus attributed typically is understood as a narrow content. inferentialist Semantics. the contents thus attributed to mental states are a matter of the conceptual roles played by those states in the whole economy of mental states.

Thus. the following ` T-sentences are all true: ‘“la neve e bianca” is true if and ` only if snow is white’. for example. Davidson developed this idea in detail. Further reading: Divers (2002) Semantics. The basic idea is that if a person ` knows that the Italian sentence ‘la neve e bianca’ is true if and only if snow is white. ` T-sentences such ‘“la neve e bianca” is true if and only ` if snow is white’. ‘“la neve e bianca” is true if and only if grass is green’. situational: A formal semantics that deploys the notion of a situation which is a partial representation of the universe. necessary truths are interpreted as being true in all possible worlds. These different sentences are all true because any sentence of the . and so forth for each sentence in the language. an adequate theory of meaning for Italian formulated in English should have as theorems. do not seem to capture the meanings of the relevant sentences.146 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z between. Thus. It has been objected that Davidson’s adequacy requirement is too lax. ‘“l’erba e verde” is true if and only if grass is green’. Yet they cannot all be giving the meaning of the Italian sentence. Thus. for instance. ‘“la neve e bianca” is true if and ` only if snow is white and 2 + 2 = 4’. sentences expressing counterfactuals or involving various modalities. truth-conditional: Includes all formal theories of the meanings of linguistic sentences or utterances in terms of their truth conditions. Further reading: Barwise and Perry (1983) Semantics. He argued that any adequate formal theory of meaning for a natural language such as English or Italian should generate T-sentences for each sentence of the target language as theorems. intuitively. It would seem possible to have a theory which generates T-sentences which are all true but which. one knows what that sentence means.

and rules out the two rogue T-sentences above. signs are one kind of representation. Davidson also argues that a theory of meaning as a theory of truth is an empirical theory. For Peirce. Sense (Sinn): A notion introduced by Frege to solve a puzzle about identity statements. As a result it generates T-sentences in which parts of sentences such as the noun ‘neve’ (‘snow’) make the same contribution to the meanings of the sentences in which it occurs. Thus. See Convention T Further reading: Davidson (1991). that grass is green. chs 1–5 Semiology See Semiotics Semiotics: The most general science of signs was called ‘semeiotic’ by Peirce. accounts of the notion of sense. Contemporary semiotics is best seen as a development of Saussure’s linguistics rather than Peirce’s semeiotics. Further. not exactly equivalent. For Frege. the . more generally. namely those whose interpretant is a mental cognition. He offered several.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 147 form ‘P if and only if Q’ is true provided P and Q are both true or both false. evidence for which must be found when engaged in the project of radical interpretation. Davidson has replied to this objection by arguing that in his view the T-sentences must be generated by a recursive theory. About proper names he writes that the sense is the mode of presentation of the thing named. and that snow is white and 2 + 2 = 4. In this instance the biconditional T-sentences are equivalent because it is true that snow is white. all kinds of expressions have a sense as well as a reference. Thus the theory respects the principle of the compositionality of language. he characterises the sense of an expression as what determines the reference of that expression.

For Frege. Frege writes that the sense of a sentence is a thought. as Evans pointed out. either a singular term and a predicate or a quantified expression and a verb. Thus. See Saussure. Hence. Ferdinand de Signifier: Any word or linguistic expression. there could not be a mode of presentation of that thing either. However. it is hard to see. and that such sense determines the reference of the sentence. this name lacks a referent. It is the smallest unit of speech by means of which it is possible to perform a speech act. If the sense of a proper name is understood as the mode of presentation of the thing named.148 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z sense of an expression is identified as that expression’s contribution to the cognitive content of the sentences of which the expression is a part. they express thoughts. An example is provided by names such as ‘Pegasus’. See Saussure. which is its truthvalue (the true or the false). although they lack a truth-value. Ferdinand de . If a thing does not exist. how names could have a sense while lacking a reference. See Frege’s puzzles. Word meaning Sign See Semiotics Signified: The meaning of a linguistic expression. expressions might have a sense without a reference. Since Pegasus does not exist. Sentence meaning See Linguistic meaning. the name must have a sense which contributes to these thoughts. Semantic value Further reading: Frege (1892a) Sentence: A complex linguistic expression typically constituted by. sentences in which the name occurs still have content. at least.

over and beyond the dispute of whether propositions exist. which are about a class of things rather than a particular one. The sentence ‘Tony Blair is a man’ is true in any actual or counterfactual situation if and only if in that situation Tony Blair exists and he is a man. and the proposition expressed by the second is not about the same person in all possible circumstances. They contrast these propositions with those expressed by sentences such ‘Whales are mammals’. Sense. Structured proposition. In its simplest Russellian version a singular proposition has an actual object as a constituent. so that the proposition exists only if the object does. was a man.000 metres high’. whether there are any singular propositions. Kripke takes ordinary . but where the particular is singled out by means of a description. So the two sentences can plausibly be said to express different propositions.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 149 Singular proposition: A singular proposition is a proposition whose identity is a function of the object it concerns. and thus cannot be said to involve one specific person. ‘Tony Blair is a man’. Rigid designator. Thought Further reading: Fitch (2002) Singular term: An expression that refers to one object and is translated into logic as a constant. whoever it might be. The proposition would thus be about that object in virtue of having it as one of its constituents. The sentence ‘The Prime Minister of the UK in 2004 was a man’ is true in any actual or counterfactual situation if and only if in that situation the UK had one and only one Prime Minister in 2004 and that person. Singular thought. and ‘He [while pointing to Bob] is British’. It is a matter of dispute. Those who believe in their existence take them to be expressed by sentences such as ‘Mount Everest is over 8. and sentences such as ‘The Prime Minister of the UK in 2004 was a man’ which express propositions about particulars. See Indexical.

The thought would exist only if Fido exists. it is not uncommon to see singular thoughts referred to as Russellian thoughts. although not all supporters of singular thoughts agree with Russell in taking the object itself to be a constituent of the thought. Also. Thus. Descriptive thought. thought of them as abbreviations of definite descriptions. The view that at least some thoughts are singular is not universally accepted. Russell’s principle Further reading: Evans (1982) Sinn See Sense Sorites paradox: Also known as the heap paradox. It was first formulated by Eubulides of Miletus a contemporary of .150 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z names like ‘London’ or ‘David Beckham’ as singular terms. for example. See Demonstrative thought. Thus. and uttered the words ‘That is a dog’. There is also a certain amount of variation in the terminology used by those discussing these topics. the expression ‘singular proposition’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘singular thought’ since in their Fregean conception thoughts. these words would express no thought at all. a few have used the expression ‘singular thought’ simply to mean the thought expressed by a proposition containing a singular term. the sentence ‘That [while pointing to Fido] is a dog’ could be said to express a singular thought about Fido. so that if one were hallucinating Fido’s existence. which are in his view quantified expressions. Finally. are basically the same as propositions. Singular thought: A thought which is object-involving in the sense that the thought’s existence depends on the existence of the object it is about. which are the senses of declarative sentences. instead. Russell.

because some valid arguments have at least some false premises. but do not supply criteria of individuation. It is a matter of dispute whether mass terms count as sortals or if only count terms are to be included. That is to say. there might be valid arguments for which no proof can be provided in the system. it is formal systems that are said to be sound or unsound. it is arguments that are said to be sound or unsound. So all sound arguments are valid. but not all valid arguments are sound. can be sound without being complete. Further reading: Lowe (1999) Soundness: This notion has two separate senses: (1) In the first sense. Validity . Sortal: A term like apple or book which supplies a criterion of identity or identification for the individuals that fall under it. by repeated applications of this principle we are led paradoxically to conclude that even one million grains of sand do not make a heap. It is obvious that one grain of sand is not a heap. A formal system is sound if and only if only valid arguments are provable in it. The root of this paradox is the vagueness of the term heap. See Completeness. Otherwise. However. A formal system.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 151 Aristotle (circa 350 BCE). An argument is sound if and only if it is valid and has true premises. Mass terms do supply criteria of identification. we are forced to conclude that even one grain of sand alone is a heap. (2) In the second sense. however. and it seems true that adding one grain to something which is not a heap does not turn it into a heap. the formal system is unsound. The same paradoxical results can be obtained when thinking about subtracting one grain of sand from a heap. and that is why some philosophers do not consider them to be sortals.

For instance. For instance. By his utterance. and finally I intend that the audience’s recognition of my intention plays a part in the explanation of why they produce the belief in question. the American intends . I may sarcastically utter the words ‘that’s great’ to mean quite the opposite. which is to say what the speaker intends to convey by means of the utterance. John Searle proposes the case of an American captured by Italian soldiers during the Second World War who tries to pass off as a German by uttering aloud in German a line of poetry from Goethe in which the poet asks the audience whether they know the land where the lemon blooms. however. counterexamples to this account of speaker meaning. Thus. On many occasions the speaker meaning and the linguistic meaning of the expression used can be quite different. I also intend my audience to recognise that that is my intention in making that utterance. Also. by uttering the words ‘The book belongs to John’ I mean that the book in question belongs to John if and only if in uttering those words I intend to produce in my audience the belief that the book belongs to John. There are. the effect that the speaker intends to produce in the audience is coming to believe something. I may use a word to mean something when its linguistic meaning is quite different. Grice did not assume that speakers are conscious of these complex intentions. Grice analyses speaker meaning in terms of the speaker’s intention to produce a certain effect in his or her audience by his or her utterance. he took these intentions to be tacit. out of ignorance or due to a temporary lapse.152 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Speaker meaning: A notion used by Grice to refer to what a speaker means by his or her words in a specific utterance. for example. her intention that the first intention is recognised by the audience. Instead. and that this recognition plays a role in the explanation of why the effect was produced. or doing something. Typically.

it is possible to make an apology either by saying ‘I apologise’ or ‘I am sorry’. quoting and asserting are among the things that can be done with words. typically a propositional content expressed by an indicative sentence. On other occasions. he intends them to recognise his intention and this recognition plays a part in the explanation why they come to believe he is German. See Meaning. Yet.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 153 the Italians to believe he is German. For instance. communicative-intention theory of. arguably. These are all called speech acts. and these are speech acts of different kinds. Thus. See Illocutionary acts. ‘Speech’ is here understood in a broad sense to cover every employment of language. Perlocutionary act Further reading: Austin (1975) Statement: This notion is closely related to that of assertion. Natural meaning. he does not mean by his words that he is German. Similarly. Non-natural meaning Speech act: Warning. Locutionary act. apologising. ‘statement’ is used to refer to the speech act itself. the same speech act can be performed by uttering different sentences. illocutionary and perlocutionary. when two people say the same thing. There is no simple one-to-one correlation between speech acts and sentences. baptising. can be used to make a statement or issue a warning. like ‘the gate is open’. they . including writing and signing (in sign language). Sometimes ‘statement’ is used to mean what is stated or asserted. sentencing. It is notoriously ambiguous. The same sentence. Austin classified speech acts into locutionary. Similarly. ordering. talk of uttering words and sentences is intended also to cover cases in which the words or sentences are either signed or written down.

and second of the sensory stimulations that prompt native dissent from the expression. Further. or a person. while the notion of stimulus-meaning is scientifically respectable. and developed an alternative to Russell’s account of definite descriptions based on the notion of a logical presupposition. Strawson is perhaps best known for his work on Kant and descriptive metaphysics. Stimulus-meaning: A notion introduced by Quine. the stimulus-meaning of ‘there is a blue flower here’ consists of an order pair whose first member is the sensory stimulations as of a blue flower. the notion of meaning is not. Inscrutability of reference Strawson. an assertion of the King of France is bald is neither true nor false since it presupposes (but does not state) falsely that there is one King of France. F. (1919–2006): A British philosopher at Oxford University. Hence. and so forth. Hence. Quine is a supporter of meaning irrealism. it is indeterminate. for Quine since meaning is not determinate by stimulus-meaning. For Strawson. The stimulus-meaning of an expression is the ordered pair consisting first of all of the sensory stimulations that prompt native speakers to assent to an expression. Further reading: Strawson (1950) Strengthened liar paradox See Liar paradox . or a rabbit. for example. and whose second member is sensory stimulations as of a yellow flower. For Quine. He was a supporter of ordinary language philosophy. See Indeterminacy of translation.154 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z have in the first sense of the term made the same statement. P. but in the second sense what we have are two different statements with the same content.

It originates in Saussure’s account of language in terms of its internal relations. propositions are complex entities that have parts. without any need to establish referential relations between the structure and anything outside.. Thus. rituals and systems. Fred’s hand and the relation of shaking.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 155 Structuralism: This label covers a broad range of views in anthropology and continental philosophy as well as linguistics. since it is capable of explaining how logically equivalent sentences (i. for example. Hence. . Saussure offered a view of language as a formal structure which can be understood in terms of relations between elements in the structure. among other things. Structured proposition: According to this view. Supporters of the view trace its lineage to Russell.e. Structuralists apply this methodological approach to all meaningful practices. the structured proposition expressed by the sentence ‘John shakes Fred’s hand’ has as parts John. institutions. If propositions are structured. but typically its supporters argue that the parts of a structured proposition are the semantic values of words or phrases occurring in the sentence expressing the proposition. the propositions expressed respectively by the sentences ‘all triangles have three sides’ and ‘all squares have four sides’ are different because. Supporters of direct reference have used the notion of a structured proposition to characterise a directly referential expression as one that only contributes its referent to the structured proposition expressed by the sentence of which it is a part. this account avoids one of the problems besetting the view that propositions are sets of possible worlds. one has the property of being a triangle as one of its parts and the other does not. There are different versions of the view. sentences which are true at exactly the same possible world) can nevertheless express different propositions.

. Subjective conditionals are contrasted with indicative conditionals. to yield a true subject – predicate sentence such as ‘John is red’. ‘cat’ is a substantival term because the expression ‘the same cat’ supplies a criterion of identity. Subjunctive conditional: Conditionals such as ‘If the president were to reduce the level of taxation. Names like ‘red thing’ are not substantival. a sentence like ‘something is red’ is true if and only if there is a name. Thus. Substantival term: An expression introduced by Geach as a label for those general terms for which ‘the same’ gives a criterion of identity. Is one of its sleeves a red thing? Is the thread used to stitch it another? See Relative identity Substitutional quantification: One of two interpretations of the quantifiers. Some of these conditionals involve an antecedent which is known or conceded to be false. The subject in a sentence is the expression which refers to the object or objects the sentence is about. According to this interpretation. All of these conditionals have the auxiliary verb ‘would’ in the consequent. the country would be bankrupt in no time at all’. say ‘John’. it is unclear how many red things I have. ‘The same red thing’ supplies no criterion of identity. is red’. . Imagine I have a red jumper. These are known as counterfactuals. (2) Elsewhere it indicates a distinct grammatical category.156 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Subject: This term has two distinct meanings: (1) In some instances it is used as a synonym of ‘agent’. which can be substituted in the argument place of the predicate ‘. A universally quantified sentence such as ‘everything is red’ is true if and only if for each and every name the sentence .

for example. and so forth are the names of each thing there is. See Necessary condition Superassertibility: A statement is said to be superassertible if and only if it is warranted. . and n is red. . or n is red. See Objectual quantification. and b is red. Thus. There are more things than there are names for them. we can state that being a woman is sufficient for being a human by saying: if something is a woman. ’ where ‘a’. might not be necessary. ’.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 157 that results by substituting that name in the argument place of the predicate ‘. Sufficient conditions. . . . . . . Sufficient and necessary conditions are expressed by means of conditionals. ‘b’. being a woman is a sufficient condition for being a human being. . Thus. . or b is red. on the other hand. The sentence ‘something is red’ is taken as shorthand for the sentence ‘either a is red. The sentence ‘everything is red’ is interpreted as shorthand for the sentence ‘a is red. That is. . then it is a human being. and its warrant would survive no matter how closely we scrutinise its pedigree and how . ‘n’. are meant to cover these nameless things as well. quantified sentences are treated as shorthand for long (perhaps infinitely so) sentences without quantifiers. This interpretation of the quantifiers is largely discredited because of the problem of the nameless. . hence. in order to be human it is enough or sufficient that one is a woman. Quantification Sufficient condition: Any condition which is sufficient for the obtaining of something else. so there are bound to be things without a name. is red’ yields a true sentence. The quantified sentences. . they are not about everything. The long sentences without quantifiers cannot refer to them. however. it is not necessary to be a woman in order to be a human being since men are also human beings. Thus. . . Hence. .

and neither true nor false in all other cases. epistemic theories of Further reading: Wright(1992). A supervaluation is a quantification over valuations. Thus. global and local). two acts could not differ morally. but the basic idea is that some facts or properties supervene on other facts or properties (base) if and only if there cannot be any difference in the supervenient facts unless there is a difference in the base facts. unless there is also some physical difference in the surrounding circumstances. See Truth. Thus. superassertibility is a stable property because a statement that has it cannot lose it. Thus. ch. ch. Further reading: Williamson (1996). Syncategorema: A term used by medieval logicians to refer to expressions that have no meaning by themselves but . Words are the paradigmatic example of symbols. false (or super-false) if and only if the sentence is false in all valuations. if moral facts are supervenient upon physical facts. a supervaluation is the assignment of truth (or super-truth) to a sentence if and only if the sentence is true in all valuations. 5 Supervenience: There are various notions of supervenience (weak.158 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z much further information we acquire. Symbol: In semiotics. strong. a symbol is a sign that represents what it stands for by being connected to it by means of a conventional relation. The notion was developed by Wright as a plausible candidate for a notion of truth as an epistemic notion. 2 Supervaluation: A valuation is an assignment of a truth-value to a sentence or of an extension to a predicate.

Synthetic truths are opposed to analytic truths whose truth depends only on the meanings of the words. 4 Synthetic a priori : Claims. has been revived by Kripke. statements or sentences which are true or false not merely in virtue of the meanings of the words. The notion. and yet are knowable a priori. if true. These days few would adopt Quine’s stark position. . and also that all and only analytic truths were knowable a priori. It is contingent truth because that very object S might not have been one metre in length. In his view the statement ‘S is a metre long’. Syntax: Contrasted with semantics and pragmatics. a synthetic truth. ch. it was not uncommon for philosophers to assume that all and only analytic truths were necessary. Synonymy: Two expressions are synonymous if and only if they have the same meaning. where S names the standard metre. claim or sentence which is true (false) partly in virtue of how things are. Until recently. Kant believed in the existence of such claims partly because he had a very narrow understanding of the notion of an analytic truth. syntax concerns the formal and grammatical features of linguistic structures. For instance. Quine has argued in ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’ (1951) that both this notion and the notion of an analytic statement stand on an unsound footing. or something like it. See Synthetic a priori Further reading: Miller (1998).PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 159 only acquire a meaning when they are linked to other expressions. is a contingent truth which is knowable a priori. Synthetic: A statement. ‘there is a cat on the mat’ is.

Thus the expression ‘the thought of going to hospital’ misleadingly appears to refer to an object when it is appears in the sentence ‘Jones hates the thought of going to hospital’. The schema is: S is True in language L if and only if p. we do not need to measure it to know its length.160 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z and yet since it is the standard metre. See Contingency Systematically misleading expressions: In his paper ‘Systematically Misleading Expressions’ (1932) Gilbert Ryle argued that many ordinary linguistic expressions are systematically misleading about their logical form. what replaces S is the name of the proposition that is expressed by the sentence that replaces p. The following are instances of T-schemes: ‘La . Misleading formulations can be substituted by paraphrases of the original sentence that are not equally liable to mislead. See Compositionality. If propositions. Kripke’s notion of the synthetic a priori is significantly different from what Kant had in mind. There are different accounts of what can be put in place of the place-holders S and p depending on whether the schema is thought to apply directly to sentences of a language or propositions. then the place of p is to be occupied by a sentence. If sentences. and that of S by a structural description or a quote name of that sentence. Language of thought T T-schema: The schema first used by Alfred Tarski to formulate his convention T. Systematicity: A feature which is often attributed to linguistic understanding.

Truth. Evans proposed a dispositional account. although their knowledge of them is tacit because they might not be able to formulate them or even recognise them as axioms or theorems when presented with them. See Semantics. ‘Snow is white’ is True in English if and only if snow is white. truth-conditional. Instead. See Semantics. See Convention T Tacit knowledge: Some philosophers. or given the second account: The proposition that snow is white is True if and only if snow is white.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 161 ` neve e bianca’ is True in Italian if and only if snow is white. See Truth. consisting of axioms and theorems for that language. Tarski claimed that any materially adequate theory of truth should have all the instances of the T-schema as theorems. semantic theory of T-sentence: Instances of the T-schema. Alfred (1901–83): A Polish logician whose permanent contribution to philosophy is his formal definition of the semantic concept of truth. such as Dummett. Speakers are said to know these axioms and theorems. This schema has also been used by Davidson to develop a theory of meaning as a theory of truth. Evans has argued that such knowledge that speakers are credited with cannot be taken as a genuine propositional attitude because it does not interact in the appropriate way with other propositional attitudes held by speakers. Semantic theory of . have invoked this notion to explain the relation that holds between competent speakers of a language and a theory of meaning. truth-conditional Further reading: Miller (1999) Tarski.

typically the most basic desires for food. This approach has some distinctive advantages over some of its rivals because arguably it avoids both the misrepresentation problem. Supporters of the view claim that at least some mental states have biological purposes (teleology). Teleosemantics: One kind of reductive naturalistic account of the semantics of mental representations. Reductive naturalistic accounts aim to explain the meanings of mental states by showing that they are nothing over and above some combination of non-normative states or properties of the organism which can be accounted for in scientific terms. its supporters need to offer a different kind of account of the contents of more sophisticated desires that appear to have no evolutionary purpose. such as either Cardiff is in Wales or Cardiff is not in Wales.162 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Tautology: A logical truth in propositional logic. the theory rules out the possibility of minds that have not evolved. yet it seems to be possible. They also claim that these situations give the contents or meanings of these mental states. It does. that . however. The basic idea behind the teleosemantic approach is to explain the content of some of the most basic mental states. which consist in bringing about situations that enhance the survival of the organism. face some serious difficulties. since it allows for the possibility of error and the disjunction problem. water or shelter in terms of biological functions. they will account for these sophisticated desires by building on the content of basic desires. albeit extremely unlikely. Second. Typically. such as the desire to buy a Prada bag. This sentence can be symbolised in propositional logic as ‘P or not-P’ which is a logical truth because it is true no matter what is actually the case in the world. the state whose biological function is to bring about that one has water is understood as a desire whose content is that one wants water. Thus. First.

Further. Thoughts. or even that some desires have evolutionary purposes. There are also similarities between tensed sentences and sentences containing indexicals. since it states that these alleged purposes explain the contents of the desires. are not psychological entities since they exist independently of our ability to think them. Before modern logic was developed it was thought of as the primary logical unit. thoughts are public so that different individuals can literally have the same . This claim requires evidence in support because it goes beyond stating only that at least some of our desires have evolutionary origins. law of Thought: For Frege. principle of: The logical principle that there is no third truth-value besides truth and falsity. There are structural parallels between the logic of tense and that of modality. Some systems of logic reject this principle and have other truth-values. See Excluded middle. See De se attribution Further reading: Galton (2003) Term: A subsentential expression. See Indicator semantics Further reading: Neander (2004) Tense: Tensed expressions such as the verbs ‘was’ or ‘will laugh’ are used to indicate time. in Frege’s view. Third.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 163 a mind might emerge suddenly by chance. such as indeterminate or neither true nor false. a thought is the objective content that we grasp when thinking. Tertium non datur. supporters of the view need to provide substantial evidence for their claim that the contents of desires are explained in terms of the biological purposes of the desires themselves.

the difference between ‘dead’ and ‘deceased’ or between ‘sweat’ and ‘perspiration’ are differences in tone only. The sentence ‘The cat is on the mat’ consists of six word tokens and five word types (because it includes two tokens of the type ‘the’). It has been argued by John McDowell that it is possible to wed a Fregean theory of thought as having modes of presentation as its constituents with the view that some thoughts are singular or object-involving. He thus rejects the idea that these singular terms could have genuine senses when they lack a referent. Demonstrative thought. An alternative to Frege’s theory can be found in Russell’s work. See Descriptive thought. whose senses they are. These are known as singular propositions. of the logical parts of that sentence. . with which Fregean thoughts have been identified. Tone. to have objects and properties (rather than their modes of presentation) as their constituents. have no semantic value if the objects they purport to refer to do not exist. is the sense of a declarative sentence and has as its constituents the senses. Tone: A term attributed to Frege by Dummett used to refer to any feature of the meaning of an expression that makes no difference to the truth or falsity of the sentences in which it occurs.164 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z thought. A thought. Russell takes at least some propositions. Thus. for Frege a thought is a proposition. rather than having thoughts which are only exactly alike. or modes of presentation. McDowell claims that some senses or modes of presentation (Fregean thought-constituents) are object involving since the singular terms. Thus. Singular thought Token: The type–token distinction was introduced by Peirce. so understood. It is a distinction between sorts of things (types) and their instances (tokens). Russellian thought. sense and force are the three ingredients of meaning as ordinarily understood.

as what works: Classical pragmatists defined truth as what is good in the way of belief. Kirkham (1992) Truth. Noam Translation: This issue has been discussed by Quine. deflationary theories of. the other way round. Truth. and not. work to get us what we want. Bradley. epistemic theories of Further reading: Kirkham (1992). See Chomsky. See Truth. According to this view. and deflationary or minimalist views which either deny that truth is a property or take it to have no substantive nature.3 Truth. as classical pragmatists would have it. the truth of a belief is a matter of its practical utility on the whole and in the long run. robust theories of Further reading: Alston (1996). Truth. who argued that it is indeterminate. H.2 and 3. chs 3. on the whole and in the long run. In their view. Radical translation Truth: There is a vast array of different philosophical theories of truth: robust theories which take truth to be a property with a substantive metaphysical nature. See Indeterminacy of translation. They might also add that it is the truth of a belief that might explain its utility. they think that ‘true’ is the label we use for beliefs that. In other words. Critics point out that it is not inconceivable that some beliefs might be useful and yet false. truth is primarily a property of a whole system of beliefs or . See Pragmatism. coherence theory of: The view that truth is a matter of coherence. It is one of the oldest theories of truth going back at least to the nineteenth-century neo-Hegelian philosopher F.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 165 Transformative grammar: It consists of rules of transformation which transform the product of the generative grammar into sentences with the surface structure of language.

See Truth.5 and 7. but is nevertheless false. beliefs. A persistent objection to this theory consists in the fact that we can always conceive of a system of beliefs (claims) that possesses all these good epistemic features. and so forth. Thus. utterances. . this is not an epistemic theory of truth. since a system that includes contradictions is not coherent. and that which is not is not. The system is true if and only if the beliefs (claims) it includes cohere with one another. explanatory power. and so forth. a system of beliefs (claims) is said to be true if and only if it contains no contradictions. correspondence theory of: The view that truth is a matter of a relation of correspondence between sentences. Since the notions of mutual support and of explanatory power are epistemic concepts. because something can have these features but lack truth. chs 3. the beliefs contained in it mutually support each other to a high degree. Individual beliefs (claims) are said to be true only in so far as they belong to a system which is true. It is the oldest theory of truth which was arguably endorsed by Aristotle with his claim that ‘to say that that which is. It is usually supplemented with ideas of mutual support. This notion of coherence is not easy to spell out.4 Truth. it is comprehensive. If such a system is genuinely conceivable truth cannot be the same as these good epistemic features. the coherence theory belongs to the family of the epistemic theories of truth. At the very least it requires consistency. There are several versions of the correspondence relation which is intended to explain truth: correlation and congruence are the two most common. epistemic theories of. But consistency alone is not enough. Truth. comprehensiveness. or propositions and reality. is. is true’. robust theories of Further reading: Kirkham (1992). Thus.166 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z claims. it has great power of explanation.

the disquotational theory and the prosententional theory. A. Truth. Kirkham (1992) ch. Truth. Some of these theories also include the claim that. The correspondence theory of truth has intuitive appeal. Truth. deflationary theories of: A family of theories of truth including the redundancy theory. See Truth. The second takes correspondence to involve also relations between the parts of sentences. 10.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 167 The first takes correspondence to be a relation involving exclusively whole sentences. Truth. 4 Truth. Arguably. ‘is true’ is not a predicate. Warranted assertibility Further reading: Stoljar (1997). Truth. This is the view put forward by Russell. minimalist theory of. truth. robust theories of Further reading: Kirkham (1992). identity theory of. disquotational theory of. despite contrary appearances. beliefs or propositions and whole facts or states of affairs. prosentential theory of. These theories deny that ‘true’ refers to a substantive property. for example. beliefs or propositions and the parts of the facts or states of affairs which are said to correspond to them. ‘snow is white’ is true . Minimalism. disquotational theory of: Supporters of this view claim ‘is true’ is a disquotational device. Aristotle’s claim might be an expression of this view. which is committed to treating truth as a merely formal property. Thus. belongs at least in spirit to the deflationist family. minimalism about truth. claims. Its main problems lie with providing a detailed specification of the notions of fact or state of affairs and of correspondence so as to make fully clear what it means to say that something corresponds to the facts. ch. See Deflationism. redundancy theory of. claims.

deflationary theories of Further reading: Kirkham (1992). See Truth. epistemic. the minimalist theory of truth consists of nothing more than a list of all the (uncontroversial) instances of the equivalence or T-schema: it is true that p if and only if p. warrant. verificationism and pragmatism. evidence or knowledge. Truth. Epistemic properties are those that concern justification. ch. Many different theories belong to this family. 7 Truth. Further reading: Hornsby (2001) Truth. including coherentism. identity theory: The view that the contents of thoughts are identical with the facts that make them true. and so on and so forth. snow is white since the sole function of ‘. 10 . Consequently. In other words. as what works. Minimalism. . the theory would consist of a list which includes: it is true that snow is white if and only if snow is white. it is true that London is in England if and only if London is in England. Truth. coherence theory of. See Disquotation.168 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z has the same content as B. deflationary theories of Truth. Truth. Truth. Epistemic theories of truth are typically associated with various forms of anti-realism. . verificationist theory of Further reading: Alston (1996). at least in part. See Deflationism. is true’ is to cancel out the effect of the quotation marks. minimalist theory of: The view developed by Paul Horwich that involves thinking of truth as a merely formal property with no hidden structure. epistemic theories of: These are robust theories that identify truth with a property which is. ch.

See Anaphora. See Truth. is not asserted. they stated that to say that p is true is equivalent to asserting p. These theories fail because. Instead. The advantage of this theory over other versions of deflationism is its ability to cope with sentences such as ‘everything the pope says is true’ which the prosententialist analyses as ‘for anything that can be said. as Frege pointed out. . the sentence ‘today is Wednesday’ which is said to be true. if the pope said it. supporters of the view claim that in all its uses ‘true’ appears as a syncategorematic fragment of a prosentence such as ‘that is true’ or ‘it is true’. Later versions of this approach took ‘true’ to be contentredundant.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 169 Truth. tomorrow is Thursday’. prosentential theory of: A theory of truth which denies that the expression ‘. The theory cannot be applied to uses of the noun ‘truth’. redundancy theories of: All those theories that take the expression ‘true’ to be redundant. prosentence. Truth. The disquotational theory of truth is an example of a content-redundant theory of truth. it is true’. for any sentence p. For example. All redundancy theories are examples of a deflationist approach to truth since they take truth to be metaphysically unimportant. Earlier versions took ‘true’ to be force redundant. ch. deflationary theories of Further reading: Kirkham (1992). and consequently also denies that truth is a property. in the conditional ‘If it is true that today is Wednesday. 10 . they cannot explain embedded uses of ‘true’. 10 Truth. Truth. they stated that the content or meaning of ‘it is true that p’ is the same as the content of ‘p’ for any sentence p. disquotational theory of Further reading: Kirkham (1992). deflationary theories of. ch. is true’ is a predicate. .

For languages with an infinite number of sentences recursive rules are necessary. have constituents that are not sentences.170 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Truth. like ‘Something is white’. Truth. coherence theory of. Tarski takes truth to be a semantic concept which is to be defined in terms of another semantic concept: satisfaction. If the language only had a finite number of sentences. robust theories of: A theory of truth is robust when it takes truth to be a property which has a substantial nature. However. Truth. Truth. correspondence theory of. the corresponding T-sentence: S is True-in-L if and only if p (where S is the name of p). Robust theories of truth are opposed to deflationary accounts that deny that ‘true’ stands for any property at all. See Truth. These components are not sentences and therefore do not have a truthvalue. deflationary theories of. Truth. one cannot directly offer a recursive theory of truth because some sentences. the conjunction of the corresponding T-sentences would provide an adequate theory of the truth predicate in that language. semantic theory of: This theory was developed by Tarski during the first half the twentieth century. as coherence or theories that identify truth with a suitable epistemic property. they are obtained from the open sentences and quantifiers. Tarski uses the notion of satisfaction of an open sentence or a sentence by a sequence of objects in order . Instead. and to minimalist accounts which hold that truth is a mere formal property with no nature or hidden structure. which are not atomic. A theory of truth in L is materially adequate if and only if the theory entails for each sentence p of the language. Robust theories of truth include accounts of truth as correspondence. verificationist theory of Truth. For Tarski any correct theory of truth will have to meet a criterion of material adequacy which is known as convention T. as what works.

Tarski defines truth as satisfaction by all sequences. but if a sentence is satisfied by a sequence. This view was first developed by Dummett. so that in their view nothing either true or false can be said in that area. ch. See Acquisition argument. Verification transcendence Further Reading: Alston (1996). This idea can be fleshed out thus: to say that a sentence is true is to say that there is a warrant to assert it. it is satisfied by all sequences. ch. Kirkham (1992). Manifestation argument. 5. if and only if London is in England. 8 Truth aptness: Sentences in an area of discourse such as ethics or aesthetics are said to be truth apt if and only if they can be assessed for their truth or falsity. Hence. The intuitive idea of satisfaction is simple: the open sentence ‘x1 is in England’ is satisfied by a sequence of objects that has London in its first place. such that truth cannot in principle outstrip verification. Further reading: Kirkham (1992). The main idea behind this position is that there is a close connection between the evidence available for a claim and its truth. Tarski (1944) and (1969) Truth. It constitutes one of the main planks of the kind of anti-realism he has articulated in several articles. and if it is not satisfied by a sequence. 4. it is satisfied by no sequence. Open sentences are satisfied by some sequence and not others. verificationist theory of: It is the view that truth is a matter of verification. Some supporters of non-cognitivism about a given area of discourse deny that sentences in that area are truth apt. Further reading: Wright (1992) .PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 171 to define truth. ch.

Thus. for instance. For instance. ‘or’. such as ‘and’. or completely determined by. See truth-maker Truth condition: The condition which must be satisfied for the sentence or utterance. Negation. See semantics. Some argue that propositions are the primary truth-bearers. the composite sentence ‘Edinburgh is in Scotland and Cardiff is in Wales’ is true because both its component sentences are true. it is the object of which the property truth is predicated. . who think that propositions are dubious entities. disjunction. whose truth condition it is. ’ which connects sentences. prefer to take the truth-bearers to be linguistic entities such as utterances. Philosophers disagree about the nature of these objects. the material conditional and the material biconditional are the best-known examples of truth-functions. truth-conditional Truth function: A function which takes truth-values as its arguments and yields truth-values as its values. See Truth function . conjunction. The meaning of a truth-functional sentential connective is given by its associated truth-table.172 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Truth-bearer: It is what is said to be true or false. Others. See Conditional Truth-functional sentential connective: A part of speech. and that sentences or statements are said to be true only in so far as they express true propositions. . the truth-values of the component sentences. . It is said to be truth-functional because the truth or falsity of the resultant composite sentence is a function of. More specifically. . to be true. ‘not’ and ‘if . then . the truth condition of the sentence ‘snow is white’ is snow’s being white.

the cat. See Wittgenstein. Ludwig Truth-value: The value yielded by a function like a predicate or like a truth function for a given argument or arguments.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 173 Truth-maker: What makes a truth true. or of the proposition it expresses is something – a fact (that Pussy is on the mat) or a thing (Pussy) – which makes that sentence. Truth-bearer Further reading: Armstrong (2004) Truth-table: A table which provides all the possible combinations of the truth-values taken by complex truthfunctional sentences given the values assigned to their atomic sentential constituents. a truth-table shows that the conjunction of the sentences ‘it is raining’ and ‘it is windy’ is true when it is both raining and windy. and false in all other cases. ‘Pussy. They also offer an effective method for testing the validity of arguments in propositional (sentential) logic. this is a view held only by some of those philosophers who believe that truth is a metaphysical property with an interesting nature. Rather. the truth-maker of a sentence (say. robust theories of. Thus. Not everybody agrees that every truth requires a truth-maker. for instance. or of one of its an utterances. Classically. there are only two truth-values: the . Thus: It is raining T T F F It is windy T F T F It is raining and it is windy T F F F Truth-tables are used to illustrate the meaning of truthfunctional sentential connectives. is on the mat’). utterance or proposition true. For instance. See Truth.

This is the view. which he calls Twin Earth. Putnam asks us to imagine a faraway planet. Putnam asks us to imagine an earthling. Truth-valueless sentence: A sentence is said to be truthvalueless if it lacks a truth value. Putnam’s intuition is that the stuff on Twin Earth is . Twin Earth: The term is now used to refer to a family of thought experiments the first of which was formulated by Hilary Putnam. Twin Oscar also points to the contents of a glass and utters the words ‘That’s water’. now known as semantic externalism. Pegasus is a winged horse) can only be used to make pseudo-statements which lack a truthvalue. Twin Oscar. Strawson introduced this idea when he argued that sentences whose subject fails to denote (e. Inhabitants of Twin Earth use the word ‘water’ when talking about this stuff.. ¨ Oscar. neither has any knowledge of the chemical composition of the stuff they point to. neither true nor false.g. which proposes that physical and environmental factors external to a speaker contribute to the individuation of the meanings of her utterances. More recently. non-classical logicians have explored other types of truth-value such as both true and false. Putnam used the thought experiment to defend the slogan that meanings are not in the head. that is an exact duplicate of Earth with the exception that on Twin Earth what fills the lakes.174 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z true and the false. In his thought experiment. Oscar points to the contents of a glass and utters the words ‘That’s water’. has the chemical composition XYZ and not H2 O. both living in 1750. and is the odourless colourless liquid drunk by the inhabitants of the planet. and indeterminate. Since they live in 1750 when chemistry had not been developed. and his doppelganger on Twin Earth.

He also thinks that both Oscar and Twin Oscar say something true by means of their utterances. what gives their words different meanings must be not a matter of what goes on in their heads. namely XYZ. See Tacit knowledge Universal: The existence of universals is a matter of dispute. namely H2 O.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 175 not water. but the result of differences (although these are undetectable by them) in their physical environments. especially linguistic understanding with knowledge. they provide accounts of what speakers must know in order to count as understanding the language. Thus. Others believe that universals only exist when . Twin Oscar’s word ‘water’ is a word in Twin English that refers to twater. let us dub it ‘twater’. the universal could exist even though no particular instance or example of it would exist. Content. Individualism Further reading: Putnam (1979) Type See Token U Understanding: Contemporary philosophers tend to assimilate understanding. since Oscar and Twin Oscar are exactly alike. There are two versions of realism about universals. But now. Some believe universals to transcend particulars and to be capable of existing uninstantiated. Oscar’s word ‘water’ is an English word that refers to water. If they exist. See Broad content. they are those abstract entities which are the referents of general terms such as ‘red’ or ‘apple’. he concludes that their words have different meanings. Thus. it is something else. Therefore.

See Berkeley. they argue that the meaning of a term determines how it ought to be used (its correct use) rather than how it is used (its actual use). In the sentences ‘“Cardiff” has seven letters’ and ‘“Is” is a verb’ those words are mentioned. Dispositionalism. That is. Universe of discourse See Domain Univocal meaning: Said of an expression when it is used with only one meaning. Unrestricted quantification See Quantification Use: Wittgenstein famously remarked in the Philosophical Investigations (1953) that for the most part when we ask about the meaning of a term we are seeking instructions about how to use it. rather than to use the word or expression to talk about . Normativity of meaning Use–mention distinction: In the sentence. Subsequently. Thus. Others disagree because they think that meaning is irreducibly normative. ‘Cardiff is the capital of Wales’. Meaning. he later characterises it as a set of innate universal principles combined with parameters whose settings vary from language to language. to mention a word or expression is to talk about the word or expression itself.176 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z instantiated in particulars. the words ‘Cardiff’ and ‘is’ are used. George. some philosophers have interpreted this remark to indicate that facts about meaning can be reduced to facts about use. use theory of. See Abstract entity Universal grammar: First defined by Chomsky as the initial stage of the language faculty. Supporters of nominalism deny the existence of universals.

PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 177 something else. In this sentence the words within the quotation marks are mentioned since they are presented as Davidson’s words. What is uttered in an utterance is a token of a word. Consider. The phenomenon of vagueness is complicated by the existence of higher-order vagueness. Utterance: It consists in the writing or speaking of a sentence or an expression by one individual at a specific time. expression or sentence type. Thus. for example. There are competing philosophical accounts of vagueness. The distinction between use and mention is not always mutually exclusive. who are not keen on propositions. but they are also used since the whole sentence is not about those words themselves but what they convey. In standard English quotations are typically used to indicate that an expression is mentioned rather than used. We have higher-order vagueness when the demarcation of borderline cases is also vague. Thus. At times expressions are both used and mentioned simultaneously. take utterances to be the primary truthbearers. the following: Davidson writes that in lectures the introduction of quotation ‘was accompanied by a stern sermon on the sin of confusing the use and mention of expressions’. for instance ‘bald’ is vague since there are individuals who are neither clearly bald nor clearly not bald. we have also instances where it is a borderline case whether the case is a borderline case. Some philosophers. Some see vagueness as a feature . V Vagueness: A term is said to be vague if its range of application has borderline cases. we do not just have borderline cases of application.

true or false. the concept of being a cat is a function that yields the values true or false for each object in the universe. Its extension is the class of all things for which the function takes the value true. An argument is deductively valid if and only if it is not possible for the conclusion to be false when all the premises are true. Frege’s value-range for this concept is identical to this class. an argument is deductively valid if and only if it is necessarily the case that if all the premises are true. associated by the function with each object in the universe. the value of the addition function for the arguments 2 and 3 is 5. In classical logic these definitions are equivalent.178 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z of reality itself. Different functions can have the same value-range or extensions. Thus. all sorts of functions. Further reading: Williamson (1996) Validity: An argument is said to be valid if and only if its premises offer the right kind of support for its conclusion. others take it to be a feature of language or a consequence of human ignorance. for Frege. Alternatively. ¨ Value-range (Werthverlaufe): A technical term used by Frege to refer to the extension of a function. The most common notion of validity is deductive validity. Value: In mathematics and in logic the output of a function. For example. not only concepts. the mathematical functions x2 − 4x and . But. have value-ranges that give their extension. A concept is for Frege a one-place function from objects to truth-values. its extension is the class that has as a member each and every cat. which is the validity of a deductive argument. Thus. the conclusion is also true. In other words. There are two definitions of this latter notion. It is understood in terms of the range of values. for instance.

Logical positivists have developed accounts of the meaning of statements in terms of their verification conditions. Similarly the concepts of being a trilateral closed figure and being a triangular closed figure have the same extension because any closed figure with three sides has three angles. Variable: In logic. The occurrence of ‘x’ in ‘x runs’. and vice versa. on the other hand. for instance. A bound occurrence of a variable is one that is associated with a quantifier. Thus. The variable ‘x’ is in this instance bound by the quantifier everything. Verification condition: The verification conditions of a statement are the conditions under which it would be verified. ‘x’ is variable for which a name ‘John’. can be substituted. Verdictive: A term coined by Austin for a type of (illocutionary) speech act which consists in the giving of a verdict or the exercising of judgement. ‘everything has a mass’ is rendered ‘for everything x. because they yield the same course of values for each argument. the existence of a black swan is the condition that verifies the statement that some swans are black.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 179 x (x − 4) have the same value-range. They offer a convenient means of representing gaps in sentences or arguments which can be filled by a name or a sentence. x has a mass’. In predicate logic. is free because it is not bound by a quantifier. For example. variables are place-holders. Sentences do not have free variables as components. The acquittal of a defendant by a jury by uttering the words ‘Not guilty’ is the paradigmatic example of a verdictive. Thus. in logic. in ‘x runs’. the occurrences of variables are distinguished between free and bound. Meaning. See Logical positivism. verification theory of .

Ayer has attempted to provide weaker formulations of the principle which would treat statements such as these as meaningful. verification theory of Further reading: Miller (1998). Supporters might reply that the principle is not intended as a factual statement. Some of these seem legitimate scientific statements. many other statements which would fail to have a meaning in accordance with this formulation of the principle. Unfortunately. The principle was first formulated in terms of conclusive verification. allows for far too many statements to count as meaningful. so that only statements that could actually be conclusively verified were thought to be meaningful. He took statements to be meaningful if they could be weakly verified. however. Meaning.180 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z Verification principle: The principle according to which the meaning of any a posteriori sentence or statement is given by its method of verification. once made more precise. and are therefore never conclusively verified. 3 Verification transcendence: The truth conditions of a proposition are said to transcend verification if and only if even . They also include statements about any part of the universe which in practice or in principle is not accessible to observation. There are. according to this view because the observation that Boston is in Massachusetts conclusively verifies it. ch. See Logical positivism. Critics of the view often complain that any statement of the verification principle fails by its own lights to be meaningful since there are no possible observations which would make its truth probable. this formulation. The statement that Boston is in Massachusetts would have a meaning. which is to say if there are possible observations which would render the truth of the statement probable. They include all universal statements since these could always be falsified by a future observation.

In his early work the Tractatus (1922) he developed the idea of . ch. He finally resigned from Cambridge in 1947. ch. He returned to Cambridge in 1929 and lectured in the 1930s.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 181 in ideal conditions we are not in a position to tell whether they obtain or not.3 Verificationism See Meaning. Ludwig (1889–1951): Born in Austria. Further reading: Miller (1998). verification theory of W Warranted assertibility: A sentence has this property when one is entitled to its assertion. See Superassertibility Further reading: Wright (1992). where he taught the next generation of British philosophers. He concludes that deflationism is untenable. Wittgenstein spent most of his life in Britain. He was educated at Cambridge where he studied with Russell. 9. For Dummett this account of the truth conditions of sentences in a given area of discourse is a trademark of semantic realism. He also claims that such an identification is mistaken. Wittgenstein had an uneasy relation with philosophy and with Cambridge. He soon held teaching positions at Cambridge. Wittgenstein’s contribution to philosophy is immense. 1 Wittgenstein. before volunteering as a medical orderly in Newcastle during the Second World War. and subsequently he abandoned academia to be become a school teacher and then a gardener. He volunteered to fight for Austria in the First World War. Wright has argued that supporters of deflationism about truth are committed to the identification of truth with warranted assertibility.

If we were to translate the sentence into logic we would use different symbols for ‘waffles’ depending on whether it is a verb or a name. that is to recognise for any two signs whether they are tokens of the same or of different words. Sayingshowing Further reading: Kenny (1975) Word: The individuation of word-types is much harder than it might appear at first sight. according to this view. are derivative. Word meaning: Many philosophers. it is a matter of the contributions made by the words to the meanings of the sentences in which they can occur. This sentence is open to two interpretations. following Frege’s context principle. The meanings of words. In the Philosophical Investigations (1953) he formulated the private language argument. There are many examples of this phenomenon (known as homonymy) which indicate that we cannot rely on orthography (or phonetics) alone to individuate words. in the other as a name. This position suggests that word meaning is primary and sentence meaning is derivative. picture theory of. his rule-following considerations discussed the relation of meaning to use. On the other hand. See Meaning. Take the sentence ‘British left waffles on Falkland Islands’. In one of them ‘waffles’ functions as a verb. and developed the vocabulary of language games and family resemblances. the compositionality of language suggests that the meaning of a sentence is determined by the meanings of its constituent words together with facts about the sentence’s structure. argue that sentential meaning is primary in any philosophical account of meaning. . Ostension.182 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z truth-tables as well as the picture theory of meaning.

for his refinement of Dummettian semantic anti-realism and for his elaboration of the notion of response-dependence. and the emotional state she was in. Z Zeugmas: This is a figure of speech in which one word which qualifies other words in the sentence is used with two different senses. These are different senses of ‘in’. The use of ‘in’ in that sentence is zeugmatic because it does two jobs: it indicates what she travelled in.PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE A–Z 183 Wright. Andrews and at Columbia University. . Gilbert Ryle’s famous example of a zeugma is: ‘She came home in a sedan chair and a flood of tears’. He is well known for his revival of Frege’s logicism in arithmetic. Crispin (1942–): A British philosopher who is at the time of writing working at the University of St.

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