Language was at the heart of philosophical inquiry for Plato and Aristotle,
and in contemporary discussion it is no less central. In addition to the
history of philosophy's extensive investigations of language, analytic and
continental philosophy too have focused intensively on the matter. But
since most inquiries into language remain enclosed in their own
methodology, terminology, and tradition, the multiplicity of approaches is
often accompanied by their mutual isolation. This book shows that these
traditions can, however, speak meaningfully to each other on language:
rather than preventing dialogue, their differences provide opportunities
for fruitful inquiry.
The essays in this volume each treat a central topic in the contemporary
study of language. Part One addresses how expression determines thought
according to Humboldt, the use of paraphrase in Quine's semantic ascent,
and the non-ambiguity of the Frege-Russell senses of ‘is.’ Part Two
includes treatments of the possibility and impossibility of promising in
Nietzsche, and Derrida's re-working of Saussure's distinction between
language and world. Topics in Part Three include the origin and end of
language for Heidegger and Foucault, and the mutual sharpening of logic and
ordinary speech in Anselm.
This book fills a gap in current scholarship by bringing together nine
essays that, through rejecting the debilitating yet often unquestioned
divisions between disciplines, are able to illuminate the fundamental
nature of language.