LINGUIST List 11.325

Wed Feb 16 2000

Books: Philosophy of Language, Syntax, Semantics

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <scottlinguistlist.org>




Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.

Directory

  • Jud Wolfskill, Philosophy: The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy, C. Lafont
  • Jud Wolfskill, Syntax/Semantics: Economy and Semantic Interpretation, Danny Fox
  • Jud Wolfskill, Semantics, Tense, and Time by Peter Ludlow

    Message 1: Philosophy: The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy, C. Lafont

    Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 13:49:34 -0400
    From: Jud Wolfskill <wolfskilMIT.EDU>
    Subject: Philosophy: The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy, C. Lafont


    The following is a book which readers of this list might find of interest. For more information please visit http://mitpress.mit.edu/promotions/books/LAFLHF99

    The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy

    Cristina Lafont

    translated by Jos� Medina

    The linguistic turn in German philosophy was initiated in the eighteenth century in the work of Johann Georg Hamann, Johann Gottfried von Herder, and Wilhelm von Humboldt. It was further developed in this century by Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer extended its influence to contemporary philosophers such as Karl-Otto Apel and J�rgen Habermas. This tradition focuses on the world-disclosing dimension of language, emphasizing its communicative over its cognitive function.

    Although this study is concerned primarily with the German tradition of linguistic philosophy, it is very much informed by the parallel linguistic turn in Anglo-American philosophy, especially the development of theories of direct reference. Cristina Lafont draws upon Hilary Putnam's work in particular to criticize the linguistic idealism and relativism of the German tradition, which she traces back to the assumption that meaning determines reference. Part I is a reconstruction of the linguistic turn in German philosophy from Hamann to Gadamer. Part II offers the deepest account to date of Habermas's approach to language. Part III shows how the shortcomings of German linguistic philosophy can be avoided by developing a consistent and more defensible version of Habermas' theory of communicative rationality.

    Cristina Lafont is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. She is the author of Sprache und Welterschliessung. Die linguistische Wende der Hermeneutik Heideggers.

    6 x 9, 378 pp., cloth ISBN 0-262-12217-0

    Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought

    Message 2: Syntax/Semantics: Economy and Semantic Interpretation, Danny Fox

    Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 10:20:36 -0400
    From: Jud Wolfskill <wolfskilMIT.EDU>
    Subject: Syntax/Semantics: Economy and Semantic Interpretation, Danny Fox


    The following is a book which readers of this list might find of interest. For more information please visit http://mitpress.mit.edu/promotions/books/FOXEPF99

    Economy and Semantic Interpretation

    Danny Fox

    In Economy and Semantic Interpretation, Danny Fox investigates the relevance of principles of optimization (economy) to the interface between syntax and semantics. Supporting the view that grammar is restricted by economy considerations, Fox argues for various economy conditions that constrain the application of "covert" operations. Among other things, he argues that syntactic operations that do not affect phonology cannot apply unless they affect the semantic interpretation of a sentence. This position has a number of consequences for the architecture of grammar. For example, it suggests that the modularity assumption, according to which a language's syntax must be characterized independently of its semantics, needs to be revised. Another consequence concerns new answers to the question of exactly where in the syntactic derivation the various constraints on interpretation apply.

    Danny Fox is a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.

    6 x 9, 208 pp., paper ISBN 0-262-56121-2, cloth ISBN 0-262-06206-2

    Linguistic Inquiry Monographs No. 35

    Copublished with the MIT Working Papers in Linguistics series


    Message 3: Semantics, Tense, and Time by Peter Ludlow

    Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 13:48:47 -0400
    From: Jud Wolfskill <wolfskilMIT.EDU>
    Subject: Semantics, Tense, and Time by Peter Ludlow


    The following is a book which readers of this list might find of interest. For more information please visit http://mitpress.mit.edu/promotions/books/LUDSHF99

    Semantics, Tense, and Time

    An Essay in the Metaphysics of Natural Language

    Peter Ludlow

    According to Peter Ludlow, there is a very close relation between the structure of natural language and that of reality, and one can gain insights into long-standing metaphysical questions by studying the semantics of natural language. In this book Ludlow uses the metaphysics of time as a case study and focuses on the dispute between A-theorists and B-theorists about the nature of time. According to B-theorists, there is no genuine change, but a permanent sequence of events ordered by an earlier-than/later-than relation. According to the version of the A-theory adopted by Ludlow (a position sometimes called "presentism"), there are no past or future events or times; what makes something past or future is how the world stands right now.



    Peter Ludlow is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

    6 x 9, 264 pp., cloth ISBN 0-262-12219-7

    A Bradford Book


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