What is language? How does it relate to the world? How does it relate to the mind? Should our view of language influence our view of the world? These are among the central issues covered in this spirited and unusually clear introduction to the philosophy of language.
Making no pretense of neutrality, Michael Devitt and Kim Sterelny take a definite theoretical stance. Central to that stance is naturalism—that is, they treat a philosophical theory of language as an empirical theory like any other and see people as nothing but complex parts of the physical world. This leads them, controversially, to a deflationary view of the significance of the study of language: they dismiss the idea that the philosophy of language should be preeminent in philosophy.
This highly successful textbook has been extensively rewritten for the second edition to reflect recent developments in the field.
About the Author
Kim Sterelny is Professor of Philosophy at Australian National University and Victoria University of Wellington. His books include Language and Reality (with Michael Devitt; second edition, MIT Press, 1999); Thought in a Hostile World, Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest; and The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited (coedited with Brett Calcott; MIT Press, 2011).
"Their attacks are frequently potent and their defenses always able." —Kenneth Taylor, Philosophical Review