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Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy

Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy

June 1997 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This auspicious new volume is designed for linguists who are interested in the deeper issues of their science. Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy lays a solid foundation of linguistic philosophy presenting theories of leading linguistic analysts such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, and Quine. I. E. MackenzieÆs exploration into these theories equips readers for advanced work on most topics in semantics and the study of language. The structure of this book reflects the fact that the philosophical study of language is not systematic, but centers on aspects of language that are considered to be of fundamental conceptual significance. Therefore, this book need not be read in any specific order. Whenever a chapter presupposes an understanding of something that is explained elsewhere in the book, a specific cross-reference is given. MackenzieÆs approach to the philosophy of language stresses the importance of observing how language is used rather than the assuming that it conforms to a pre-existing logical structure. In addition to dealing with foundational issues, such as truth, meaning, and the nature of language, this book explores specific linguistic phenomenaùdescriptions, names, non-extesional contexts and quantificationùwhich have attracted considerable philosophical attention. Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy is a student-centered resource that is recommended for students in linguistics, communication, and philosophy.

Meaning and the Nature of Language
The Semantic Conception of Truth
Logical Truth and Analyticity
Names, Sense and Nominatum
The Causal Theory of Names
Description and Analysis
Descriptions as Names
Modal Contexts
Propositional Attitudes
Indefinite Noun Phrases
Fregean Quantifiers and Class Theory


There are many things this book excels at, and taken together with Lycan students have some of the most accesible chapters on contemporary linguistic philosophy I have seen. The best chapter here is the one on descriptions - I will await to see what student feedback is like, but I am hoping I have found the 'holy grail' of a chapter on Russell which does not pre-suppose an existing grounding in philosophical logic and notation.

Mr Jonathan Tulloch
Newham University Centre, Newham College of Further Education
April 16, 2013

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