Philosophy of Language

In the history of philosophy of Language, Putnam’s “meaning and reference” is perhaps the turning point that many people were waiting for. A theory that allowed us to get past the subjectivity of language, without a serious metaphysics. He employed possible worlds to show that the assumption that having the same intension entails the same extension was bunk, thus concluding “meaning just ain’t in the head”. I think Davidson’s development of the window Putnam opened in philosophy is the most promising, there is definitely something to the idea that language is just a set of rules that we all know, and employ. A great symphony of syntax, semantics, and meaning. Still, though, there is a Strawsonian gnawing in the back of my head assuring me that language is heavily subjective a gnawing that is not satisfied by Davidson’s inclusion of context ect. I think philosophy of language will continue to develop down the non-psychological path, untill it cannot go any further. At which point, some grand mind will discover the relationship of the subjective in language to the not subjective, and a new course will be taken.

I can only hope, though, that the western philosophers get over the bias they have of claiming that western norms and traditions are necessarily rational. I read something by Grice recently, it was very appealing and convincing, but it left a real disappointment after I mulled it over for a few days. It tried to say that western socio-linguistic norms were necessarily rational, and it posited 5 or 6 quite brilliant “implicatures” within language. Now, I would expect this from Grice…his predilection to moralize philosophy of language with intentions and recognized intentions. But, I fear this bias has a firm hold on western philosophers.

Anyway, I have a few recommendations for Philosophy of Language

1.)We need to distance ourself from the assumption that language is necessarily logical, and that our norms are necessarily rational. As a corollary, we need to forget about Russell, see Grice for what it is, and focus on the Linguistic over logical aspects of language.
2.) We need to get philosophers who have experience with diverse cultures, and understand linguistic traditions that are opposed to our own. This, IMO, will produce a much richer theory of language.
3.) We need to incorporate the psychological and subjective aspects of the language experience into the linguistic aspects. These are largely dealt with separately, and need to be seen as inherently related. I don’t think we can hope to understand one without the other.
4.) Language is a human invention, I think this understood by recent philosophers, but they haven’t done anything with it. I think we need to study the development of language in history, and employ what we learn in our theories. Language is not in a vacuum, and I think we need theories that remember this…treat it like a behavior.

I partly agree… I think the problem you’re having is that many words and concepts in language are not conceptualized properly and they are misused… since language has open grammar. You can make new words on the spot like…

bludog (blue dog)

I think exclusively in pictures and 3D animations, with vocie and sound layed over…

Einstein was so brilliant because he said; “If I can’t visualize it, I can’t understand it”.

It’s a good ideas to always attempt to visualize the relationship or system before you start turning it into words.

… really?

I was thinking more along the lines that logical connectives do not capture the sense and overall meaning of there linguistic counterparts. Take “but” for example, it is logically interpreted as “and”, but we cannot replace “but” for “and” in many linguistic cases. There is a certain amount of contrariety in the word. The same goes for many other logical connectives.

If someone says “I saw that and was happy”, we automatically infer that they are tying to tell us that seeing “that” and “happy” are connected. “I got happy because I saw that” or something similar. However, if we simply interpret it as logical, then there is no connection implied in the sentence. The sentence is just two atomic sentences that are assumed.

The same goes with “if”, when what is meant is “iff”…“If you mow my lawn, I will give you 10 bucks”…There is nothing in the logic of a disjunction that tells us “if you do not my my lawn then I will not give you 10 bucks”, but that is understood by the speaker and the audience when “if you mow my lawn I will give you 10 bucks” is spoken. Hence, it is an A"iff" statement.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been hard on Grice in this thread, but I still think he made a monumental step when he systematized the discord between logic and language and offered norms for how we recognize what is meant when the discord occurs. But, he ultimately violated 2 of my other recommendations when he did it, and his theory is ultimately flawed because of it.

The question is, if language is a behavior that developed over time, why should we want to think that it is necessarily logical?.. That it mirrors logic in it’s practice? The fact is that it does not, but there is a Russellian tradition within the discipline that vehemently holds that it does. There is a recent trend in attempting to overcome Russell, but I don’t think it goes far enough. A proper theory must distance itself from the idea that language is logic in practice ect…

Language created logic, in the same way that language created General Relativity, that is to say, not at all. Now, language can put a limit on and/or facilitate other disciplines, but our meta-understanding of language shows that they can ultimately go beyond the immediate grammatical limitations of language. Such attempts will be perilous, and, indeed, will be ambiguous, but there has been some success nevertheless.

Our ability to change, morph, and sometime ignore linguistic rules is a strong indication that, while language limits the methodology of thought, thought can go beyond the assumptions of this methodology.

There is a strong sense in which language impacts everything we know and think, but it is just one part of a complex process, and to say “language created _____” seems much too strong. As I pointed out earlier, there is nothing that binds us to a specific set of linguistic rules, and when those rules hinder where we want to take a thought, we can change or ignore them. In this sense, “language created _____” is rather vacuous, as it is simply saying “we think with language”, but does not assume that our thoughts are determined or absolutely restricted by any given language.

Maybe the symbolism of logic, but not the process of logic. Even before the capacity for language evolved, the brain and nervous system worked logically.

According to DNA. Without logic and the genetic code, none of us would be here, DNA has extremely advanced error correcting protocols that prevent thermodynamic breakdown as well as from other forces.

Natural “logic” is a dialectical process wherein physical bodies interact according to laws. That is one simple way to put it. The “laws” hold the possibility for thesis and antithesis- changing a state or remaining a state. For example, a certain chemical reaction that occurs when two substances are combined is uniform in all cases. Therefore, the new state of the two combined substances is “logical”, not random or arbitrary or exceptional. Even at an atomic level particles behave with a degree of uniformity in their relations to the other parts of the atomic body. In an atom, charged particles orbit a nucleus. It is by law that they do this and what events that transpire must be logical- based from the dialectical process of thesis and antithesis, these “polarities” could be called “changing” or “remaining”. “States” are logical changes to bodies and always involve correspondence with law.

Logic in nature is the work of binary operations (the brain is no different). Because all events and bodies are determined, their possible states could only be logical consequences of law.

Written language is a product of religion.

From whence does syntax arrive on the scene?

I tend to see language as a product of man’s illogical emotions; that which is unmeasurable.

lol written word is a product of religion, lolll.

Counter it by all means. I’ll await your response.

I’m not sure how to counter it but to say that children come pre-equipped to learn languages or to ‘grow languages’ as they have adaptations to do it. I could expand quite endlessly on the evidence for that and how its independent of religion. If you’re going to say that religion lead about to the evolution/natural selection of language then i’ll wait until you fill out a claim to slap it to the dust for you.

As to written language, cave paintings of hunting strats/animals, pebbles to determine units of measurement, etc etc etc all existed independent of religion.

If you want to say that the same adaptations that give rise to religion as a byproduct also give rise to the type of intelligence/self-awareness that leads to a language/written word, thats another story. Fill out what you mean, elaborate fully when you make a nonsensical claim.

Written word originated from religious incantations and symbols of early shamans in the performance of rituals.

I’ll await your rebuttal.

Do you think religious symbols predate hunting/gathering /time keeping strats? It might be an early source among many, but to claim its patient zero is a bit absurd.