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Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy) Paperback – April 10, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0415957526 ISBN-10: 0415957524 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (April 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415957524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415957526
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This exceptional text fulfills two essential criteria of a good introductory textbook in the philosophy of language: it covers a broad range of topics well, all of which are the basis of current active research, and does so in an accurate manner accessible to undergraduate students."  –Mike Harnish, University of Arizona

"...an excellent textbook for teaching. the examples throughout are delightful and students will love them."  –Edwin Mares, Victoria University of Wellington
 

 

About the Author

William G. Lycan is William Rand Kenan Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina. He is the author of over 150 articles as well as seven books.


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Customer Reviews

Lycan's book is an excellent introduction.
Steve Jackson
I'm studying this book for the test at University ( I'm reading the italian translation of this book...a horrible one.).
ALESSANDRO ZANI
More concrete and easier to understand than most I've seen.
rbnn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 12, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't touched the philosophy of language for 20 years, so it was nice to pick up a text that gets you right back into this interesting subject. To appreciate the philosophy of language you have to be amazed that we can make noises or marks to others that carry meaning and elicit the variety of responses that take place in human social interaction. Lycan brings you right into the heart of this phenomenon and brings out all the important ideas and counter ideas in lively and occasionally funny prose. Most importantly, he makes the topic readily undertandable and interesting.
Beyond the topic of "meaning", Lycan surveys speech acts, metaphors, etc. I think it will give the interested reader a pretty good grasp of the central issues in the field. The introductory summaries for each section and the study questions and tips for further reading make this a great book for the student or interested nonstudent (like me).
If you are perplexed at how the philosophy of language can be fun and interesting, this is the book for you.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
this book has several things going for it:
first, it is an informative and brief, yet thorough, introduction to some central issues in the philosophy of language. for each issue, lycan summarizes the problems to be solved, explains some theories with which prominent philosophers have attempted to solve them, and provides possible objections and replies to those theories. lycan links each issue smoothly with the next, so that the reader sees clearly how the different problems in the field are related.
second, the reader is provided with chapter introductions, chapter summaries, review questions, and a long bibliography.
third, lycan makes his text entertaining with some great sarcasm, and by creating humorous (yet effective) examples. i actually laughed out loud several times while reading this text.
overall, this is a great book. i highly recommend it to beginners in the philosophy of language.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lawprof on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just want to echo the other reviewers. This is a wonderful introductory text. I am a law professor who is interested in learning more about philosophy of language. This was the first book I read, and it fit the bill wonderfully. It provides a nice overview of major debates in the field. And it is accessible, logically structured, and fun to read. It certainly warrants five stars. I hasten to add that I do not know (and have never met) the author of this book (I believe such disclaimers are necessary when reviewing books on amazon).
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Polymath-In-Training on August 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is THE book for beginners to have. It's a rare philosopher who knows what the word "introduction" means in a book title; most seem to write so-called introductory books as though the audience is professional philosophers.
Finally I have some idea what Russell, Frege, Strawson, Donnellan and others were trying to say. And I know why it is not the case that the present king of France is bald.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Reader From Aurora on September 1, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Philosophy of Language by William Lycan is an instalment in the Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy Series. This series is intended to provide a bridge between introductory and advanced study, primarily aimed at students/readers with some prior exposure to academic philosophy.

Overall, this is a solid addition to the contemporary introductions series. Philosophy of language can be an arcane and jargon-laden field. Lycan's methodology is generally helpful, introducing many of the key thinkers, and concepts, in the modern philosophy of language tradition (e.g. Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, etc.) The approach employed in the text is to introduce a philosopher's key thoughts then consider objections and potential retorts. This is not a bad tactic, however, from my perspective greater focus on a few key points would be preferable to the current emphasis on breadth (some of the points are too trivial or technical for an introductory text). Each section is followed by a summary of key points, questions for discussion and suggestions for further reading. Additionally, from a physical standpoint the paper back version is well constructed and has a usable font size.

Strengths aside, two stylistic weaknesses reduced my enjoyment of the text and its ultimate utility. The more trivial is the author's excessive self-reference, e.g. "your humble narrator", "you were expecting me to recommend someone else {referring to himself)?" etc. I think that this may have been done with the intention of adding levity to an otherwise dense and potentially dry subject. It was, however, over done and distracting; most of these comments should be removed. The second, and more significant, weakness is style.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on November 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you are going to understand contemporary philosophy, you have to understand the philosophy of language. Prof. Lycan's book is an excellent introduction. First, it is very clearly written and, second, it avoids excessive use of logical symbolism. My only complaints are that there could have been a longer discussion of Frege and more discussion of how questions raised impact other areas of philosophy such as metaphysics and religion. However, Prof. Lycan tells us that these matters will be taken up in the other works in the Routledge Contemporary Introduction to Philosophy series.
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