March 7, 2017

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language by Bernard Harrison (auth.)

By Bernard Harrison (auth.)

'... a masterly advent to the critical matters that experience outlined the sector because Frege.' instructing Philosophy

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Extra resources for An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language

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H. Price6 called a 'recognitional capacity' in common with the cat, in other words, does not make me a member of the cat's linguistic community; and therefore appeal to recognitional capacities cannot explain what is involved in membership of a human linguistic community. Nor, evidently, does it make much difference if we allow the cat the capacity to indicate negative instances, to say 'not blackbird' to thrushes, tits or rabbits, for example. Such feline mutterings go to show only that the feature, F, of blackbirds which the cat's utterance 'blackbird' picks out is not a feature which blackbirds share with thrushes, tits or rabbits.

If 'red' is a general term, as it clearly is, it must on Locke's account stand for an abstract idea. But how can there be an abstract idea of redness? An abstract idea is formed by omitting from the ideas of different particular things those features in which they differ. If we omit from the ideas of particular shades of red the features in which they differ, we shall be left with nothing: crimson and scarlet are simply themselves and simply different from one another; hence their status as shades of red cannot depend upon the possession of any abstractable common property.

Is it a site? Suppose, through the growth of some quarters and the decay of others, the city moves over the centuries three miles to the east? These examples raise no very troublesome metaphysical questions (no doubt the identity of the city, as Hume suggested in another context, consists in a continuous web of spatial relationships uniting the changing physical components of the city). But they do make it difficult to regard the proper name 'Moscow' as an arbitrary noise associated, by linguistic fiat, with an object, Moscow, which exists in the world and can be individuated without the exercise of any linguistic capacity (as Nixon and the child's mother can).

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