Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis


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Editorial team. Dirk Schlimm. History and Philosophy of Logic 35 1 Dirk Schlimm McGill University. Edit this record. Mark as duplicate. Find it on Scholar. Request removal from index. Revision history. From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy dx. Configure custom resolver. Patrick Allo - - Philosophical Studies 3 An Introduction to Formal Logic. Peter Smith - - Cambridge University Press. By Catarina Dutilh Novaes. Cambridge UP, Dutilh Novaes " Reasoning biases, non-monotonic logics, and belief revision " C.

Dutilh Novaes, H. Veluwenkamp " Conceptual genealogy for analytic philosophy " C. Dutilh Novaes " What is logic? John MacFarlane " In what sense if any is logic normative for thought? Who Shaves the Barber? Loading Downloads. Follow Share. Following More There have been several distinctive explanations of what a linguistic "meaning" is. Each has been associated with its own body of literature.

Philosophy of the Mind, the Cognition and the Language

Other theories exist to discuss non-linguistic meaning i. Investigations into how language interacts with the world are called theories of reference. Gottlob Frege was an advocate of a mediated reference theory. Frege divided the semantic content of every expression, including sentences, into two components: sense and reference. The sense of a sentence is the thought that it expresses. Such a thought is abstract, universal and objective.

The sense of any sub-sentential expression consists in its contribution to the thought that its embedding sentence expresses. Senses determine reference and are also the modes of presentation of the objects to which expressions refer. Referents are the objects in the world that words pick out. The senses of sentences are thoughts, while their referents are truth values true or false. The referents of sentences embedded in propositional attitude ascriptions and other opaque contexts are their usual senses.

Bertrand Russell , in his later writings and for reasons related to his theory of acquaintance in epistemology , held that the only directly referential expressions are, what he called, "logically proper names". Logically proper names are such terms as I , now , here and other indexicals. Hence Donald J. Trump may be an abbreviation for "the current President of the United States and husband of Melania Trump.

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Such phrases denote in the sense that there is an object that satisfies the description. However, such objects are not to be considered meaningful on their own, but have meaning only in the proposition expressed by the sentences of which they are a part. Hence, they are not directly referential in the same way as logically proper names, for Russell. On Frege's account, any referring expression has a sense as well as a referent.

Such a "mediated reference" view has certain theoretical advantages over Mill's view. For example, co-referential names, such as Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain , cause problems for a directly referential view because it is possible for someone to hear "Mark Twain is Samuel Clemens" and be surprised — thus, their cognitive content seems different. Despite the differences between the views of Frege and Russell, they are generally lumped together as descriptivists about proper names.

Such descriptivism was criticized in Saul Kripke 's Naming and Necessity.

Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis

Kripke put forth what has come to be known as "the modal argument" or "argument from rigidity". Consider the name Aristotle and the descriptions "the greatest student of Plato", "the founder of logic" and "the teacher of Alexander". Aristotle obviously satisfies all of the descriptions and many of the others we commonly associate with him , but it is not necessarily true that if Aristotle existed then Aristotle was any one, or all, of these descriptions.

Aristotle may well have existed without doing any single one of the things for which he is known to posterity. He may have existed and not have become known to posterity at all or he may have died in infancy. Suppose that Aristotle is associated by Mary with the description "the last great philosopher of antiquity" and the actual Aristotle died in infancy. Then Mary's description would seem to refer to Plato. But this is deeply counterintuitive. Hence, names are rigid designators , according to Kripke. That is, they refer to the same individual in every possible world in which that individual exists.

In the same work, Kripke articulated several other arguments against " Frege—Russell " descriptivism [43] see also Kripke's causal theory of reference. It is worth noting that the whole philosophical enterprise of studying reference has been critiqued by linguist Noam Chomsky in various works. A common claim is that language is governed by social conventions. Questions inevitably arise on surrounding topics. One question is, "What exactly is a convention, and how do we study it? However, this view seems to compete to some extent with the Gricean view of speaker's meaning, requiring either one or both to be weakened if both are to be taken as true.

Some have questioned whether or not conventions are relevant to the study of meaning at all. Noam Chomsky proposed that the study of language could be done in terms of the I-Language, or internal language of persons. If this is so, then it undermines the pursuit of explanations in terms of conventions, and relegates such explanations to the domain of "meta-semantics".

Metasemantics is a term used by philosopher of language Robert Stainton to describe all those fields that attempt to explain how semantic facts arise. Etymology the study of the origins of words and stylistics philosophical argumentation over what makes "good grammar", relative to a particular language are two other examples of fields that are taken to be meta-semantic. Not surprisingly, many separate but related fields have investigated the topic of linguistic convention within their own research paradigms.

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The presumptions that prop up each theoretical view are of interest to the philosopher of language. For instance, one of the major fields of sociology, symbolic interactionism , is based on the insight that human social organization is based almost entirely on the use of meanings. Rhetoric is the study of the particular words that people use to achieve the proper emotional and rational effect in the listener, be it to persuade, provoke, endear, or teach. Some relevant applications of the field include the examination of propaganda and didacticism , the examination of the purposes of swearing and pejoratives especially how it influences the behavior of others, and defines relationships , or the effects of gendered language.

It can also be used to study linguistic transparency or speaking in an accessible manner , as well as performative utterances and the various tasks that language can perform called "speech acts". It also has applications to the study and interpretation of law, and helps give insight to the logical concept of the domain of discourse. Literary theory is a discipline that some literary theorists claim overlaps with the philosophy of language.

It emphasizes the methods that readers and critics use in understanding a text. This field, an outgrowth of the study of how to properly interpret messages, is unsurprisingly closely tied to the ancient discipline of hermeneutics. Finally, philosophers of language investigate how language and meaning relate to truth and the reality being referred to. They tend to be less interested in which sentences are actually true , and more in what kinds of meanings can be true or false. A truth-oriented philosopher of language might wonder whether or not a meaningless sentence can be true or false, or whether or not sentences can express propositions about things that do not exist, rather than the way sentences are used.

In continental philosophy , language is not studied as a separate discipline, as it is in analytic philosophy. Rather, it is an inextricable part of many other areas of thought, such as phenomenology , structural semiotics , [3] hermeneutics , existentialism , structuralism , deconstruction and critical theory. The idea of language is often related to that of logic in its Greek sense as " logos ", meaning discourse or dialectic.

Language and concepts are also seen as having been formed by history and politics, or even by historical philosophy itself. The field of hermeneutics, and the theory of interpretation in general, has played a significant role in 20th century continental philosophy of language and ontology beginning with Martin Heidegger. Heidegger combines phenomenology with the hermeneutics of Wilhelm Dilthey. Heidegger believed language was one of the most important concepts for Dasein.

Heidegger believed that language today is worn out because of overuse of important words, and would be inadequate for in-depth study of Being Sein. For example, Sein being , the word itself, is saturated with multiple meanings. Thus, he invented new vocabulary and linguistic styles , based on Ancient Greek and Germanic etymological word relations, to disambiguate commonly used words. He avoided words like consciousness, ego, human, nature, etc.

With such new concepts as Being-in-the-world , Heidegger constructs his theory of language, centered on speech. He believed speech talking, listening, silence was the most essential and pure form of language. Heidegger claims writing is only a supplement to speech, because even a reader constructs or contributes one's own "talk" while reading.


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The most important feature of language is its projectivity , the idea that language is prior to human speech. This means that when one is "thrown" into the world, his existence is characterized from the beginning by a certain pre-comprehension of the world. However, it is only after naming, or "articulation of intelligibility", can one have primary access to Dasein and Being-in-the-World. Hans-Georg Gadamer expanded on these ideas of Heidegger and proposed a complete hermeneutic ontology. In Truth and Method , Gadamer describes language as "the medium in which substantive understanding and agreement take place between two people.

For example, monuments and statues cannot communicate without the aid of language. Gadamer also claims that every language constitutes a world-view, because the linguistic nature of the world frees each individual from an objective environment: " The world as world exists for man as for no other creature in the world.

Other philosophers who have worked in this tradition include Luigi Pareyson and Jacques Derrida. Semiotics is the study of the transmission, reception and meaning of signs and symbols in general. In this field, human language both natural and artificial is just one among many ways that humans and other conscious beings are able to communicate.


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  6. It allows them to take advantage of and effectively manipulate the external world in order to create meaning for themselves and transmit this meaning to others. Every object, every person, every event, and every force communicates or signifies continuously. The ringing of a telephone for example, is the telephone. The smoke that I see on the horizon is the sign that there is a fire. The smoke signifies. The things of the world, in this vision, seem to be labeled precisely for intelligent beings who only need to interpret them in the way that humans do.

    Everything has meaning. True communication, including the use of human language, however, requires someone a sender who sends a message , or text , in some code to someone else a receiver. Language is studied only insofar as it is one of these forms the most sophisticated form of communication. In modern times, its best-known figures include Umberto Eco , A. Another of the questions that has divided philosophers of language is the extent to which formal logic can be used as an effective tool in the analysis and understanding of natural languages. While most philosophers, including Gottlob Frege , Alfred Tarski and Rudolf Carnap , have been more or less skeptical about formalizing natural languages, many of them developed formal languages for use in the sciences or formalized parts of natural language for investigation.

    Some of the most prominent members of this tradition of formal semantics include Tarski, Carnap, Richard Montague and Donald Davidson. On the other side of the divide, and especially prominent in the s and '60s, were the so-called " ordinary language philosophers ". Philosophers such as P. Strawson , John Langshaw Austin and Gilbert Ryle stressed the importance of studying natural language without regard to the truth-conditions of sentences and the references of terms.

    They did not believe that the social and practical dimensions of linguistic meaning could be captured by any attempts at formalization using the tools of logic.

    The Normativity of Logic - A Dialogical Account

    Logic is one thing and language is something entirely different. What is important is not expressions themselves but what people use them to do in communication.

    Universal Logic

    Hence, Austin developed a theory of speech acts , which described the kinds of things which can be done with a sentence assertion, command, inquiry, exclamation in different contexts of use on different occasions. While keeping these traditions in mind, the question of whether or not there is any grounds for conflict between the formal and informal approaches is far from being decided. Some theorists, like Paul Grice , have been skeptical of any claims that there is a substantial conflict between logic and natural language.

    One debate that has captured the interest of many philosophers is the debate over the meaning of universals. One might ask, for example, "When people say the word rocks , what is it that the word represents? Some have said that the expression stands for some real, abstract universal out in the world called "rocks".

    Others have said that the word stands for some collection of particular, individual rocks that we associate with merely a nomenclature. The former position has been called philosophical realism , and the latter nominalism. From the radical realist's perspective, the connection between S and M is a connection between two abstract entities.

    There is an entity, "man", and an entity, "Socrates". These two things connect in some way or overlap. From a nominalist's perspective, the connection between S and M is the connection between a particular entity Socrates and a vast collection of particular things men. To say that Socrates is a man is to say that Socrates is a part of the class of "men". Another perspective is to consider "man" to be a property of the entity, "Socrates". There is a third way, between nominalism and radical realism, usually called "moderate realism" and attributed to Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.

    Moderate realists hold that "man" refers to a real essence or form that is really present and identical in Socrates and all other men, but "man" does not exist as a separate and distinct entity. This is a realist position, because "Man" is real, insofar as it really exists in all men; but it is a moderate realism, because "Man" is not an entity separate from the men it informs. Many philosophical discussions of language begin by clarifying terminology. One item which has undergone significant scrutiny is the idea of language itself.

    Those philosophers who have set themselves to the task ask two important questions: "What is language in general?

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    Some semiotic outlooks have stressed that language is the mere manipulation and use of symbols in order to draw attention to signified content. If this were so, then humans would not be the sole possessors of language skills. More puzzling is the question of what it is that distinguishes one particular language from another. What is it that makes "English" English?

    What's the difference between Spanish and French?

    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis
    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis
    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis
    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis
    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis
    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis
    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis
    Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis Formal Languages in Logic: A Philosophical and Cognitive Analysis

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