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What is PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE? What does PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE mean?

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Published on Nov 1, 2016

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What is PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE? What does PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE mean? PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE meaning - PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE definition - PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE explanation.

Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... license.

Philosophy of language is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language and reality. For continental philosophers, however, the philosophy of language tends to be dealt with, not as a separate topic, but as a part of logic (see the section "Language and continental philosophy" below).

First and foremost, philosophers of language prioritize their inquiry on the nature of meaning. They seek to explain what it means to "mean" something. Topics in that vein include the nature of synonymy, the origins of meaning itself, and how any meaning can ever really be known. Another project under this heading of special interest to analytic philosophers of language is the investigation into the manner in which sentences are composed into a meaningful whole out of their meaningful parts; and how or if the meanings of such complexes are derived from the meanings of parts thereof.

Secondly, they seek to better understand what speakers and listeners do with language in communication, and how it is used socially. Specific interests may include the topics of language learning, language creation, and speech acts.

Thirdly, they would like to know how language relates to the minds of both the speaker and the interpreter. Of specific interest is the grounds for successful translation of words into other words.

Finally, philosophers of language investigate how language and meaning relate to truth and the world. They tend to be less concerned with which sentences are actually true, and more with 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, semiotics, hermeneutics, Heideggerean ontology, 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. and instead talked holistically of Being-in-the-world, Dasein.

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. 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.

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