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Philosophy of Language

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A Critical Introduction

Theories of Truth tackles one of the most difficult areas in philosophy. It surveys all of the major theories of truth, presenting the crux of the issues involved at a level accessible to nonexperts yet in a manner sufficiently detailed and original to be of value to professional scholars. Included are discussions of such theories as the correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, semantic, performative, redundancy, appraisal, and truth-as-justification theories. Also covered are the liar paardox, three-valued logic, Field's critique of Tarski, satisfaction, and recursion, as well as how the theories of justification, properly understood, differ from theories of truth.

A Bradford Book

The Managua Lectures

Language and Problems of Knowledge is Noam Chomsky's most accessible statement on the nature, origins, and current concerns of the field of linguistics. He frames the lectures with four fundamental questions: What do we know when we are able to speak and understand a language? How is this knowledge acquired? How do we use this knowledge? What are the physical mechanisms involved in the representation, acquisition, and use of this knowledge?

Starting from basic concepts, Chomsky sketches the present state of our answers to these questions and offers prospects for future research. Much of the discussion revolves around our understanding of basic human nature (that we are unique in being able to produce a rich, highly articulated, and complex language on the basis of quite rudimentary data), and it is here that Chomsky's ideas on language relate to his ideas on politics.

The initial versions of these lectures were given at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, in March 1986. A parallel set of lectures on contemporary political issues given at the same time has been published by South End Press under the title On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures.

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. Language and Problems of Knowledge is sixteenth in the series Current Studies in Linguistics, edited by Jay Keyser.

The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting

Anyone who has wondered if free will is just an illusion or has asked 'could I have chosen otherwise?' after performing some rash deed will find this book an absorbing discussion of an endlessly fascinating subject. Daniel Dennett, whose previous books include Brainstorms and (with Douglas Hofstadter) The Mind's I, tackles the free will problem in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of several fields usually ignored by philosophers; not just physics and evolutionary biology, but engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence.

In Elbow Room, Dennett shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the "family of anxieties' they get enmeshed in - imaginary agents, bogeymen, and dire prospects that seem to threaten our freedom. Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, he concludes that we can have free will and science too. Elbow Room begins by showing how we can be "moved by reasons" without being exempt from physical causation. It goes on to analyze concepts of control and self-control-concepts often skimped by philosophers but which are central to the questions of free will and determinism. A chapter on "self-made selves" discusses the idea of self or agent to see how it can be kept from disappearing under the onslaught of science. Dennett then sees what can be made of the notion of acting under the idea of freedomdoes the elbow room we think we have really exist? What is an opportunity, and how can anything in our futures be "up to us"? He investigates the meaning of "can" and "could have done otherwise," and asks why we want free will in the first place.We are wise, Dennett notes, to want free will, but that in itself raises a host of questions about responsibility. In a final chapter, he takes up the problem of how anyone can ever be guilty, and what the rationale is for holding people responsible and even, on occasion, punishing them.

Elbow Room is an expanded version of the John Locke Lectures which Dennett gave at Oxford University in 1983.

Philosophy of language is one of the hardest areas for the beginning student; it is full of difficult questions technical arguments, and jargon. Written in a straightforward and explanatory way and filled with examples, this text provides a comprehensive introduction to the field, suitable for students with no background in the philosophy of language or formal logic.The eleven chapters in the book's first part take up a variety of matters connected to questions about what language is for - what meaning has to do with people's ideas and intentions, and with social communication. Included are chapters on the innateness controversy, the private language argument, the possibility of animal and machine language, language as rule-governed or conventional behavior, and the speech act theory.In the second part, thirteen chapters concentrate on what language is about; treating sense and reference, extensionality, truth conditions, and the theories of proper names, definite descriptions, indexicals, general terms, and psychological attributions.Many recent books and courses in the philosophy of language treat the issues and approaches covered in the first or second part of this book; however, this is the first time they are presented together (although either part may be read and/or taught independently). The book's style is pedagogic, not polemical. It shows students how much has been accomplished by philosophers of language in this century while making them keenly aware of the fundamental controversies that remain.Robert Martin is an associate professor of philosophy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A Bradford Book.

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