Philosophy of language


Contemporary philosophy mind was launched by Brentano’s definition of intentionality and his thesis that intentionality is the mark of the mental. Contemporary philosophy of language arose from Frege’s arguments for the distinction between sense and reference. There are three kinds of deep reciprocal connections between contemporary philosophy of language and contemporary philosophy of mind. First, in the footsteps of Frege and Russell, the philosophy of language has offered fundamental tools for probing the conceptual structure and contents of an individual’s propositional attitudes (beliefs, desires, etc.). Secondly, building on Brentano’s tradition, philosophers of mind have tackled metaphysical issues raised by the puzzling nature of meaning. For example, what is it about the meaning of the English word ‘dog’ that enables a particular token used in the US in the twenty-first century BC to latch onto particular hairy and barking creatures that lived in ancient Egypt four thousand years earlier? Much discussion in the philosophy of language and mind has been devoted to the distinction between what Grice called respectively natural and non-natural meaning. Finally, both the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind have been deeply reshuffled by Grice’s research programme into human pragmatics, based jointly on his novel concept of speaker’s meaning and on his inferential view of human communication as a cooperative and rational activity. Several papers in this section, devoted to some of the puzzles first raised by Frege about the semantics of belief-ascriptions, display the impact of pragmatic research upon the semantics of belief-ascriptions.



(1990) Externalism revisited: is there such a thing as narrow content? Philosophical Studies, 60, 143-176.

(1991) Un millien peut-il gricéaniser un frégéen. In J. Bouveresse (dir) L'Age de la science. Lectures philosophiques. 4. philosophie de la logique et philosophie du langage. Paris : Odile Jacob, pp. 215-230.

(1993) Belief-attribution and rationality: a dilemma for Jerry Fodor. In D. Andler, P. Banerjee, M. Chaudury & O. Guillaume (eds.) Facets of Rationality. New Delhi: Sage, pp. 19-34.

(1997) Frege's Puzzle and Belief Ascriptions. In W Künne, A. Newen & M. Auduschus (eds.) Direct Reference, Indexicality, and Propositional Attitudes. Stanford: CSLI, pp. 215-246.