978-0-262-04089-1 / 9780262040891

Devitt: Language & Reality - an Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (Cloth)


Publisher:MIT Press



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About the book:

"Language and Reality" is an intermediate-level textbook for students in the philosophy of language both at beginning and advanced levels. It is unique in presenting a large range of work--the theory of meaning, the standard theory of transformational grammar, problems of linguistic competence and innateness, verificationism, structuralism, rational psychology, and many other concepts and issues--within a comprehensive framework. The authors' clear, lively, and argumentative approach and their method of structuring the material make this a useful text for students and professionals in literature, linguistics, anthropology, and cognitive science as well as in other branches of philosophy.

Although competing theories are given detailed discussion, the authors stake out a definite theoretical ground. Their perspective is naturalistic. This leads them, controversially, to a deflationary view of the significance of the study of language, a view that is opposed to a dominant trend in twentieth-century thought, represented in the work of such different thinkers as Rudolf Carnap, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Hilary Putnam, and Michael Dummett. They also favor the functionalist approach to the study of mind as represented in the work of Jerry Fodor, Daniel Dennett, William Lycan, and other creators of the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science. And they accept and apply the insights of transformational generative grammar, while "remaining skeptical of its claims about psychological reality."

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