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Volume 31, 2014
Language and Value

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Displaying: 1-20 of 21 documents

1. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Ernest Lepore, Yi Jiang Introduction
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i. semantics and ontology
2. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Jiang Yi The Relation of Language to Value
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How does language relate to value? Why do we concern with the relation up to now? I will analyze the background of increasing interests in the relation of language to value in contemporary philosophy of language, provided with ideas that language has meaning with intention which determines the way of acts in relation with values in societies, and that, when we consider the value in language, we are searching for consequences of our speech acts for final goals of language.
3. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Chen Bo Refutation of the Semantic Argument against Descriptivism
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There are two problematic assumptions in Kripke’s semantic argument against descriptiv­ism. Assumption 1 is that the referential relation between a name and its bearer is only a metaphysical relation between language and the world; it has nothing to do with our public linguistic practice. Assumption 2 is that if name N has its meaning and the meaning is given by one description or a cluster of descriptions, the description(s) should supply the necessary and sufficient condition for determining what N designates; it is possible for us to find out such a condition for fixing the referent of N. Emphasizing the sociality, conventionality and historicity of language and meaning, this paper criticizes Assumption 1 and Assumption 2, and concludes that Kripke’s semantic argument fails.
4. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Samuel Cumming Semantics for Nominalists
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Nominalists should give up on one of Frege’s semantic tenets, and adopt an account on which the truth-value of a sentence depends on the senses, rather than the referents, of its syntactic constituents. That way, sentences like ‘2+2=4’ and ‘Hamlet did not exist’ might be true, without components like ‘2’ and ‘Hamlet’ having a referent.
5. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Adam Sennet Semantic Minimalism and Presupposition
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This paper is about the interface between two phenomena—context sensitivity and pre­supposition. I argue that favored competing treatments of context sensitivity are incompatible with the received view about presupposition triggering. In consequence, I will urge a reconsideration of a much-maligned view about how best to represent context s ensitivity.
6. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Fei YuGuo Compositionality and Understanding
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Contemporary debates on the principle of compositionality provoke a perplexing problem about its import on natural language. Whether the principle of compositionality makes any substantial constraints on the meaningfulness of natural language has an indeterminate answer. In this paper, I try to argue against the principle of compositionality for natural language by considering its significance for understanding. Part one is a general survey of the principle of compositionality pertaining to the meaning of a complex expression; and in part two, I will focus on the issue of understanding a sentence or more complex expression, pointing out that principle of compositionality is neither sufficient nor necessary for understanding, even though compositionality is true for natural language, it is trivial and useless; the final part aims to criticize the principle of compositionality from its underspecification of meaning, which is at odds with our general idea of the representational feature of natural language and the hypothesis of isomorphism among mind, language and reality.
7. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Zhu Zhifang Values Reduced to Facts: Naturalism without Fallacy
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Grammatically, “good” is a one-place predicate. Many authors were misled by the surface grammar and thus mistook good as a simple property. Pragmatically good is a relational property if it is somehow a property. As a term for relational property, “good” captures a particular type of relations between events and the needs of persons. Therefore, all statements in which “good” occurs are statements of facts. Moral terms such as “morally right”, “morally good”, “ought to do” can be adequately defined in terms of “good” and thus all statements of values are at final analysis statements of facts. There is no dichotomy between fact and value, and the question of derivation of an ought from an is is nonsensical. Moore misunderstood the property good or the predicate “good” and thus his objection to naturalistic approach to goodness is pointless. Naturalism concerning goodness commits no fallacy.
ii. word meaning, metaphor, and truth
8. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Ernie Lepore, Matthew Stone Philosophical Investigations into Figurative Speech Metaphor and Irony
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This paper surveys rich and important phenomena in language use that theorists study from a wide range of perspectives. And according to us, there is no unique and general mechanism behind our practices of metaphor and irony. Metaphor works in a particular way, by prompting the specific kind of analogical thinking And, irony works in its own particular way, by prompting new appreciation of the apparent contribution, speaker or perspective of an utterance exhibited for effect. Or so we will argue.
9. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Peter Ludlow Norms of Word Meaning Litigation
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In this paper I examine cases in which we attach different meanings to words and in which we litigate or argue about the best way of defining the term in dispute. I reject the idea that this is just a matter of imposing our will on our interlocutors – I think that the process of litigation is normative. To some extent recent work in the theory of argumentation has shed considerable light on this process, but we will need to retrofit that work for the kinds of considerations we are engaged with here. I’ll begin in Section 1, with some important terminological preliminaries. Then in Section 2, I will offer a general description of how we come to notice that there are disputes about meaning and how we engage the meaning variance once it is recognized. In section 3 I’ll then take up a case that is relatively less controversial – the definition of ‘planet’ – and use it to construct a model for our meaning litigation works. Finally, in section 4 I’ll then turn to more contentious and substantial issues – the definition of ‘rape’ and the definition of ‘person’ and begin exploring how disputes about the meanings of those terms can be normative and fail to be normative.
10. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Christopher Hom, Robert May The Inconsistency of the Identity Thesis
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In theorizing about racial pejoratives, an initially attractive view is that pejoratives have the same reference as their “neutral counterparts”. Call this the identity thesis. According to this thesis, the terms “kike” and “Jew”, for instance, pick out the same set of people. To be a Jew just is to be a kike, and so to make claims about Jews just is to make claims about kikes. In this way, the two words are synonymous, and so make the same contribution to the truth-conditions of sentences containing them. While the fundamental claim for the identity thesis that Jews are kikes sounds anti-semitic, it need not be actually anti-semitic. The identity thesis is usually bolstered with the further claim that the pejorative aspect of “kike” and other such terms is located elsewhere than in truth-conditional content, so what makes “kike” a bad word is a non-truth-conditional association with anti-semitism that is not shared with the word “Jew”. The exact nature and location of the negative moral content of pejoratives is a matter of some dispute among identity theorists. But whatever the intuitive appeal of the identity theory for those persuaded by such views, it is nevertheless inconsistent.
11. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Paul M. Pietroski Describing I-junction
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The meaning of a noun phrase like ‘brown cow’, or ‘cow that ate grass’, is somehow conjunctive. But conjunctive in what sense? Are the meanings of other phrases—e.g, ‘ate quickly’, ‘ate grass’, and ‘at noon’—similarly conjunctive? I suggest a possible answer, in the context of a broader conception of natural language semantics. But my main aim is to highlight some underdiscussed questions and some implications of our ignorance.
12. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Barry C. Smith Predicates of Taste and Relativism about Truth
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Is relativism about truth ever a coherent doctrine? Some people have argued that an answer to this question depends on whether there can be cases of genuine disagreement where those who disagree hold conflicting beliefs towards the same proposition and yet are each entitled to say that what they believe is true. These have been called cases of faultless disagreement and are often explored by considering the case of disagreements about taste. However, this is not the right way to formulate the relativist’s doctrine, and the discussions of taste are often based on a faulty view about the nature of taste and about the workings of predicates of taste. I examine the taste case in more detail and consider the prospects for a genuine form of truth relativism.
13. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
William B. Starr Mood, Force and Truth
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There is a big difference between saying Maya is singing, Is Maya singing? and Sing Maya! This paper examines and criticizes two attempts to rigorously explain this difference: Searle’s speech act theory and the truth-conditional reductionism advocated by Davidson and Lewis. On the speech act analysis, each utterance contains a marker which says what kind of speech act the utterance counts as performing. The truth-conditional reductionists try to reanalyze the non-declaratives (Is Maya singing? and Sing Maya!) as complex declarative forms. The former analysis fails to recognize the indirect relationship between sentence (or clause) type and utterance force. The latter analysis fails to recognize the distinctive and thoroughly compositional contribution that the imperative, interrogative and declarative mood make to sentences containing them.
14. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Aihua Wang A Semiotic Understanding of Thick Terms
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Thick terms, which express value concepts with significant descriptive content, have aroused a lot of controversial issues, among which the contextual variability of evaluation is the most disputed one. This paper argues that the semiotic notion of verbal medium and its workings can explain away this variability problem. We will first present this variability problem. Second, we will argue that thick terms should be regarded as verbal medium that is both a meaning-carrying substance and a meaning carrier. Third, we will discuss the conventional evaluation of thick terms as a meaning carrier. Special attention is given to the semiotic analysis of evaluative variability of thick terms. Finally, we will diagnose the mistakes of some philosophical views about the variability argument concerning thick terms.
iii. features of china’s analytical philosophy
15. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Guanlian Qian An Echo of the Classical Analytic Philosophy of Language from China: the Post-analytic Philosophy of Language
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It is necessary for us to know a methodological shift from Chinese philosophy to western A(nalytic) P(hilosophy). There is a unique pattern for some being partial to AP but others, to P(hilosophy) of L(anguage) in China. Simply, this unique pattern arises from different professional perspec­tives or preferences, namely, people from philosopher background see the same thing (“PL is nearly synonymous with AP”, Nicholas Bunnin and JiyuanYu 2001:755) with an analytic preference, while people from F(oreign) L(anguage) S(tudies) teacher background see, with a linguistic preference. The focus of this paper is on a narrow scrutiny of 5 case studies, which are regarded by the author as an explanation of the basic elements of the Post-A(nalytic) P(hilosophy) of L(anguage) in China. The epitome of the PAPL is mainly the heavy dependence upon the Chinese language, the strict insistence on the analysis of language and the hot pursuit of some new problems on the basis of western AP. However, the other colorful styles of doing the classic APL are keeping pace actively and effectively with the PAPL in the world of FLS at home.
16. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Limin Liu The Chinese Language and the Value of Truth-seeking: Universality of Metaphysical Thought and Pre-Qin Mingjia’s Philosophy of Language
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This paper argues that philosophy in the sense of metaphysical speculation is universal and not at all language-specific. At the beginning of traditional Chinese philosophy, the ancient Chinese thinkers were concerned with social morality, raising questions which differed greatly from those of ancient Greeks and the language they used was typologically different from the western languages, but in the end the thinking and debating over their questions gave rise to speculations on language names which were unmistakably metaphysical in na­ture and oriented toward the establishment of conditions of truth in language. This shows that truth-seeking is a universal predisposition.
17. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Ying Zhang Mthat and Metaphor of Love in Classical Chinese Poetry
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This paper has two interconnected themes. First, it is a study of metaphor of love in classical Chinese poetry. Second, Josef Stern’s semantic account on metaphor interpretation will be explored. By analyzing the common grounds and remaining differences in Chinese and English, I will try to challenge the view that metaphor is simply a function of semantics, specifically the analogy between metaphors and demonstratives. I will argue that metaphorical interpretation is not solely a semantic matter. With regard to metaphor in classical Chinese poetry, one of the pragmatic factors, Yi Xiang (the cultural image) should also be taken into consideration.
18. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
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19. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
On ProtoSociology
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20. ProtoSociology: Volume > 31
Digital Volumes available
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