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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