Philosophy of language essay

Scope and background Thought, communication, and understanding Language use is a remarkable fact about human beings. The role of language as a vehicle of thought enables human thinking to be as complex and varied as it is. Language enables one to imagine counterfactual objects, events, and states of affairs; in this connection it is intimately related to intentionalitythe feature of all human thoughts whereby they are essentially about, or directed toward, things outside themselves.

Philosophy of language essay

Philosophy of language essay

I have put lectures on Avenue as pdf files. Here is a quick guide. I have put up a copy of the exam: I have also put up an exemplar of a Comments Portfolio: Course materials are now available under Contents on Avenue to Learn.

There is also a Dropbox for your first and second portfolios, and for your essay. You are encouraged to develop your own topic. You might want to do a variation on one of the ones listed here.

Analytic Philosophy | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

You should sketch how your argument is going to go, and what sources you have lined up. What beliefs about language are implicit in the doctrines of the Kabbalists? Compare and contrast with modern ideas of language and its relation to reality.

What lessons can be learned from this about the nature of language? Discuss the role of nationalism in the search for an original mother tongue.

Does the fact that, for instance, the Nazis appealed to the existence of an original Indo-European language to validate their ideal of an Aryan race invalidate the idea of Indo-European?

What difficulties are there in constructing a language to be comprehensible to anyone, no matter what their tongue? Can symbols directly convey their meanings? What do these attempts tell us about the nature of language? What can we learn from the attempts in the seventeenth century to construct an a priori philosophical language?

Research further the attempt of one of either Wilkins, Dalgarno or Lodwick, and use it as a case-study to illustrate the aims, successes and failures of such an approach to language. What was Leibniz trying to achieve with his universal characteristic?

Discuss the connection between his idea of a lexicon of real characters that would enable blind thought, and modern developments, such as the invention of computers. What was the point of the verifiability criterion of meaning?

Is a computer language a language, or only a weak analogue of one? Discuss with reference to proposed criteria for what is to count as a language. What is the relation of language to thought?

Are our thoughts determined by the language we have at our disposal, as Orwell assumed in his novel ?

Philosophy of language essay

Discuss with reference to the criticisms of the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis. Is there such a thing as mentalese, a language of thought proposed by Steven Pinker that is prior to written and spoken language?

Discuss the views of Pinker and criticisms of his views. What is the relation of language to logic? Discuss the prospects for a causal theory of reference.

What problems is such a theory designed to resolve, and how well does it manage to achieve this? Is it a defensible view? DIscuss with reference to modern commentaries on the subject.Philosophy of Language is the reasoned inquiry into the origins of language, the nature of meaning, the usage and cognition of language, and the relationship between language and reality.

It overlaps to some extent with the study of Epistemology, Logic, Philosophy of Mind and other fields (including. Philosophy of language in the analytical tradition explored logic and accounts of the mind at the end of the nineteenth century, with English-speaking writers Frege and Russell being pivotal, followed by Wittgenstein (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus), the Vienna Circle and the Logical Positivists, Quine, while on the continent a foundation work was Ferdinand de Saussure's Cours de linguistique.

Philosophy of language - Russell’s theory of descriptions: The power of Frege’s logic to dispel philosophical problems was immediately recognized. Consider, for instance, the hoary problem of “non-being.” In the novel Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, the messenger says he passed nobody on the road, and he is met with the .

There is also a Dropbox for your first and second portfolios, and for your essay. suggested paper topics. Describe and evaluate the successes and failures of logical positivism/empiricism as a philosophy of language. General Information. The West Valley College Philosophy department offers an unusually large number of courses in Philosophy and introductory Religious Studies..

One major aim of the Philosophy program is to encourage clarity and rigor of thought and expression. John Locke (—) John Locke was among the most famous philosophers and political theorists of the 17 th century.

He is often regarded as the founder of a school of thought known as British Empiricism, and he made foundational contributions to modern theories of limited, liberal government.

Locke, John | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy