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What do ‘meaning’ and ‘truth’ mean? And how are they situated in the concrete practices of linguistic communication? What is the relationship between words and the world? How―with words―can people do such varied things as marry, inaugurate a president, and declare a country’s independence? How is language able to express knowledge, belief, and other mental states? What are metaphors and how do they work? Is a mathematically rigorous account of language possible? Does language make women invisible and encode a male worldview?
These are the kind of questions that have been addressed by philosophers of language since ancient times. Interest in the subject stretches back to the beginnings of western philosophy (for instance, in his Academy, Plato considered the question whether the names of things were deemed by convention or by nature). Interest in the philosophy of language has also been enduring―and has blossomed anew in the past century.
This new title in the Routledge series, Critical Concepts in Philosophy, meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of the subject’s vast literature and the continuing explosion in research output. Edited by A. P. Martinich, one of the subdiscipline’s leading scholars, this collection brings together in four volumes the canonical and the very best cutting-edge scholarship in the field to provide a synoptic view of all the key issues, figures, concepts, and current debates.
With comprehensive introductions to each volume, newly written by the editor, which place the collected material in its historical and intellectual context, Philosophy of Language is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by philosophers and linguists―as well as psychologists and cognitive scientists working on language―as a vital research resource.
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