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Philosophy of Language (Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy) [Kindle Edition]

Scott Soames
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this book one of the world's foremost philosophers of language presents his unifying vision of the field--its principal achievements, its most pressing current questions, and its most promising future directions. In addition to explaining the progress philosophers have made toward creating a theoretical framework for the study of language, Scott Soames investigates foundational concepts--such as truth, reference, and meaning--that are central to the philosophy of language and important to philosophy as a whole. The first part of the book describes how philosophers from Frege, Russell, Tarski, and Carnap to Kripke, Kaplan, and Montague developed precise techniques for understanding the languages of logic and mathematics, and how these techniques have been refined and extended to the study of natural human languages. The book then builds on this account, exploring new thinking about propositions, possibility, and the relationship between meaning, assertion, and other aspects of language use.

An invaluable overview of the philosophy of language by one of its most important practitioners, this book will be essential reading for all serious students of philosophy.

Editorial Reviews


"[Philosophy of Language] covers an impressive number of controversies in philosophy of language. And it does that in a nontechnical way that is likely to prove attractive to many instructors in the field."--Choice

"[T]his is, in my view, a very valuable (though not at all introductory) overview, from a particular perspective, to be sure, of the trajectory on the philosophy of language from Frege to the present. . . . [I]t covers a remarkable amount of ground in a short space, both presenting and contributing to an important network of themes that have shaped the philosophical study of language in the analytic tradition."--Kirk Ludwig, Philosophia

From the Back Cover

"This is a masterpiece. Scott Soames's work on these topics defines orthodoxy in contemporary philosophy, and having that work distilled into a single volume is enormously valuable. The first half of the book also contains the best analysis and explication yet written of the past century of work in the philosophy of language. I'm looking forward to teaching the subject again just so I can use this book."--Jeff Speaks, University of Notre Dame

"This is a very fine overview of philosophy of language from the late nineteenth century to the present. It discusses all the important issues with great lucidity. The treatment of technical material so as to make it accessible to the uninitiated is masterful. In short, this is an absolutely first-rate book. I have no doubt that it will be very widely read."--Jeffrey King, Rutgers University

Product Details

  • File Size: 371 KB
  • Print Length: 201 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0691138664
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (July 26, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YFJ4SM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,826 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Academic Overview September 23, 2011
By Reader
Published in 2010 Scott Soames' `Philosophy of Language' is an instalment in Princeton Foundations of Contemporary Philosophy series. Soames is a well known philosopher with numerous publications in the philosophy of language.

In this brief text (less than 200 pages) Soames focuses on two subjects that have occupied many thinkers in the analytic tradition over the last century, the search for a comprehensive theoretical framework for the study of language and the analysis of linguistic notions such as, reference, truth, meaning, and so on. The discussion takes place within the mathematic-logical strand of the philosophy of language, the tradition that runs through; Frege, Russell, Tarski, Carnap, Quinn, Kripke, and their successors. As opposed to the less formal strand that tracks through Latter Wittgenstein, Austin, Searle et al.

An accomplished philosopher in his own right Soames is particularly adept at summarizing and assessing the work of others. It is important to note that while this is an excellent piece of work; the writing is terse and dense, aimed very much at an expert audience. Despite being familiar with the subject matter the book caused me to go back and reread chunks of Frege, Russell and Tarski (by no means a bad thing). Soames' 2-Volume work `Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century' is also helpful in providing background information and context.

Overall, this is an excellent book by an excellent philosopher. I recommend it for advanced students of the philosophy of language. For readers seeking a broader introductory-level piece Searle's short essay `What is Language' available on internet may be worth a look.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Aaron
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Scott Soames in this text discusses various logics and associated philosophies of language with their appearance. The text is an introductory text to not just these languages and logics but some of the problems that guide analytic philosophy of language. The text covers influential work by David K. Lewis, Donald Davidson, Saul Kripke and others. The text also contains examples of the languages and basic intros on how to read them. It is a good book for someone who is interested in the field but unsure of where to begin because of its depth. It portrays the issues in philosophy of language as intermeshed with other issues which makes it accessible to an audience not familiar with philosophy of language and its problems. It would even be accessible for a person who is not familiar with philosophy itself because of the way it intermixes issues and is so problem focused. Knowledge of first order and second order logic would greatly aid in helping to appreciating this text because larger issues being focused on rather than local issues associated with the languages appear.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beutiful copy October 28, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a gem. The author is well known and his writings in this area of philosophy will only increase in value. It pays to own a book like this.l
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