The contemporary discipline of biolinguistics is beginning to have the feel of scientific inquiry. Biolinguistics—especially the work of Noam Chomsky—suggests that the design of language may be "perfect": language is an optimal solution to conditions of sound and meaning. What is the scope of this inquiry? Which aspect of nature does this science investigate? What is its relation to the rest of science? What notions of language and mind are under investigation? This book is a study of such foundational questions.
In Language and Equilibrium, Prashant Parikh offers a new account of meaning for natural language. He argues that equilibrium, or balance among multiple interacting forces, is a key attribute of language and meaning and shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.
In Veritas, Gerald Vision defends the correspondence theory of truth—the theory that truth has a direct relationship to reality—against recent attacks, and critically examines its most influential alternatives. The correspondence theory, if successful, explains one way in which we are cognitively connected to the world; thus, it is claimed, truth—while relevant to semantics, epistemology, and other studies—also has significant metaphysical consequences.
Despite a recent revival of interest in pragmatist philosophy, most work in the analytic philosophy of language ignores insights offered by classical pragmatists and contemporary neopragmatists. In Pragmatism and Reference, David Boersema argues that a pragmatist perspective on reference presents a distinct alternative—and corrective—to the prevailing analytic views on the topic.
Recent research on the syntax of signed languages has revealed that, apart from some modality-specific differences, signed languages are organized according to the same underlying principles as spoken languages. This book addresses the organization and distribution of functional categories in American Sign Language (ASL), focusing on tense, agreement, and wh-constructions.
The publication of Paolo Virno's first book in English, A Grammar of the Multitude, by Semiotext(e) in 2004 was an event within the field of radical political thought and introduced post-'68 currents in Italy to American readers. Multitude between Innovation and Negativity, written several years later, offers three essays that take the reader on a journey through the political philosophy of language.
"Andrea Moro has gained a unique position in formulating and implementing constructive approaches to...difficult and demanding tasks. He is able to address them with a deep understanding of modern linguistics, a field to which he has made a major contribution of his own, and mastery of the relevant technology and its potential. His new book is a lucid introduction to these exciting areas, superbly informed and imaginatively presented, with intriguing implications well beyond biolinguistics.... A rare achievement...."
—Noam Chomsky, from the foreword
Ray Jackendoff's Language, Consciousness, Culture represents a breakthrough in developing an integrated theory of human cognition. It will be of interest to a broad spectrum of cognitive scientists, including linguists, philosophers, psycholinguists, neuroscientists, cognitive anthropologists, and evolutionary psychologists.
John Perry, Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, is one of a handful of contemporary analytic philosophers to combine the focused approach of most current work in analytic philosophy with the more expansive systems-building of earlier analytic philosophers and contemporary philosophers in other disciplines. Perry, like W. V. O. Quine, Donald Davison, David Lewis, and Hilary Putnam, focuses on narrow topics across a broad range of subjects.