Philosophy of Language Introduction (Analyti vs. Continental, Course Outline)


Published on

This serves as an introduction to the subject Philosophy of Language.

Published in: Education, Spiritual
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Philosophy of Language Introduction (Analyti vs. Continental, Course Outline)

  1. 1. Analytic vs. Continental Philosophy By Kile Jones
  2. 2. What’s in a name? What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” --Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet “A riddle of symbols” -Wittgenstein “An explanation of concepts” --Russell “Many unneeded problems” --Ryle
  3. 3. Typical Definitions (difference in methodology by C.G. Prado and N. Levy) Analytic Continental Focused on analysis (analysis of thought, language, logic, knowledge, mind, etc.) Focused on synthesis (synthesis of modernity with history, individuals with society, and speculation with application) Solves philosophical problems by reducing them to their parts and to the relations in which these parts stand Addresses large questions in a synthetic of integrative way; considers particular issues to be ‘parts of the larger unities’ and dealt with only when fitted into those unities Problem-solving activity Closer to the humanistic traditions and to literature and art; tends to be more ‘politically engaged’ This distinctions can be “overgeneralizations,” however, these two camps are clearly divergent in emphasis, trajectories, motives, goals, and tools and must be understood in light of their independent and differing traditions. (Jones)
  4. 4. The Beginning of the Split  Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) -constructed a theory of knowledge to explain how ‘synthetic cognition is possibly a priori’* this divided the two realms: the noumenal* (things in themselves) and the phenomenal* (things as they appear to us) -there are things that can be known in appearance and things that are beyond any possible experience/ unknowable (e.g. God, immortality, freedom)
  5. 5. Reactions on Kant’s two realms  Hegel (1770-1831) -there can be no division between the noumenal and the phenomenal since he believed that all of reality was united in one Idea* -there could be no epistemic chasm between the knowable and unknowable, for there’s nothing outside the Idea left to be unknown -became the precursor/inspiration of the traditional continental emphasis on grand overarching narratives and the inclusion of everything (literature, history, art, etc.) into the problem of philosophy -dominated Europe and Britain’s leading philosophers by the late 19th Century (Bradley, McTaggart, Green)
  6. 6. Reactions on Kant’s synthetic a priori  G.E. Moore: insisted on the importance of analysing concepts  Russell: developed a reductionist approach to knowledge called logical atomism and a general focus on particular logical problems in opposition to a totalizing enterprise  Mach: joining metaphysics and epistemology is hazardous and ‘monstrous’
  7. 7. Vienna Circle  Or the Ernst Mach Society supported Mach and aimed to: - debunk Kan’t ‘synthetic a priori’ - eradicate metaphysics* (Carnap) - reclaim the supremacy of logic in philosophy (Gödel) - linguistic conventionalism (Waismann) They made the Humean distinction between a priori (non-observable) and a posteriori (dependent on observation) truth; and they said that the only truths are either tautological (true by definition) or empirical (verified by observation)
  8. 8. Heidegger and Wittgenstein Widen the Split  Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) -constructed his theories of ontology*: philosophy is, and should be, essentially ontology, a “universal phenomenological ontology” (vs. Vienna Circle’s view that “philosophy is mainly an epistemological project”) -for him Being preceds knowledge, and that phenomena (contents of experience) must be studies prior to any logical catergorization or interpretation “free philosophy from logic” (Matthews) “anti-analytic”
  9. 9.  Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) -shifted the emphasis in analytic philosophy to philosophy of language -developed a theory which saw propositions as logical pictures of states of affairs in the world, sentences were only meaningful if they painted logical pictures -destroyed metaphysics and God-talk, considering these as “nonsense” (along with Carnap and the Vienna Circle) -saw analysis of language as a tool whereby ‘philosophical pseudo-problems’ could be solved -conceptual or logical problems were mistakes about language: -stepping beyond the limits of language -semantically misguided statements that confused the logic of language -can be dissolved by an analysis of the propositions in question
  10. 10. Existentialism and its Effect on Continental Philosophy  Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) popularised ‘phenomenological ontology’ or existentialism: man is inescapably free and inescapably responsible for his actions (picking up Heidegger’s Dasein)  Albert Camus (1913-1960) popularised embracing absurdity in our existential state No longer is continental philosophy engaged in a totalizing project (Hegel), but on individualism ( a distrust in power monopoly due to WWII)
  11. 11. Logical Positivism and its Effect on Analytic Philosophy  Bertrand Russell developed ‘logical analysis’ as a rejection of all religious dogma and metaphysics and the discovery that many questions, formerly obscured by the fog of metaphysics, can be answered with precision  ‘logical analysis’ was to focus on logical issues, philosophical problems and epistemology with the tools of scientific testing and procedure (avoiding speculative metaphysics)  -the rise of analytic philosophy marked the end of Kant’s philosophy in Europe; logical positivism brought the thoughts of the Vienna Circle to fruition while decisively framing the focus of analytic philosophy
  12. 12. Postmodernism as Modern Continental Philosophy  In Europe there was a rise of a general trend of skeptical, anti-authoritarian philosophy or “postmodernism”: ◦ Jacques Derrida’s “deconstructionism” ◦ Michele Foucault’s examination of issues of government control, madness and sexuality ◦ Budrillard’s questions on hyper-reality and simulacra ◦ Vattimo’s resurrection of nihilism Postmodernism’s task is to deconstruct absolute views of reality, truth, value and meaning.
  13. 13.  Postmodernism vs. German Idealism ◦ Overarching systems of meaning results in disappointment of hope  Postmodernism vs. Analytic Philosophy  Parts of analytic philosophy are too optimistic and overly self-satisfied (trust in logic and science can be seen as ignoring the big issues of meaning and existence  Postmodernism can now be seen as furthering continental philosophy for continuing many of its classical traditions
  14. 14. Philosophy of Mind as Modern Analytic Philosophy  Philosophy of mind became one of the main concerns of analytic philosophy in the late 20th Century:  Hilary Putnam: one of the great pioneers of modern philosophy of mind, founder of functionalism (a theory which analyses mental states in terms of their function) and multiple realizability (posits that differing types of physical entities could experience the same mental state if there were the right organisational similarities)  Donald Davidson: “non-reductive physicalism” (only physical objects can cause physical effects, but the mind is not entirely reducible to the physical brain  David Chalmers: the mind cannot be reducible to the physical brain because of various hypothetical arguments, including zombies
  15. 15. Summary: Two distinct responses to Kant’s metaphysical and epistemological theories: 1.Hegel –rejected Kant’s 2-tiered world by monism  Heidegger- translated Hegel’s idealist ontology into phenomenology by placing strict emphasis on being-in-the-world  Existentialism adopted phenomenology and added issues of existence, freedom, angst and absurdity  Postmodernism attacks absolutist views of truth, historical meta-narratives, idealistic metaphysics and linguistic/semantic realism Thus, Continental philosophy started with German idealism, which was translated to phenomenology, reconstructed in existentialism, and is still in Postmodernism.
  16. 16. 2.Vienna circle- rejected Kant’s synthetic a priori by dividing what can be known into tautologies and empirically verifiable data  Wittgenstein- emphasized analysis of language; anti-metaphysics; language must mirror observable nature and nature along, if it is to be considered meaningful  Logical Positivism continued the analytic tradition; Russell and Ayer constructed theories of knowledge and methods of logical analysis  Modern Philosophy of Mind incorporated analytic thinking with biology, neuroscience, and physics Thus, analytic philosophy started as a reaction to Kant’s epistemology in the Vienna Circle, picked up its linguistic impetus through Wittgenstein, became strictly formulated by Logical Positivists and others, and continues strongly today in Philosophy of Mind, among other disciplines.
  17. 17. What’s the challenge for us?  Strike a balance between the two schools of thought, Neil Levy writes: “could hope to combine the strengths of each: to forge a kind of philosophy with the historical awareness of continental philosophy and the rigor of analytic philosophy.” Kile Jones writes: “The balance between love and knowledge, the knowing and the doing of the good, is the philosopher’s ideal state, and the promised land to which the modern sage must set her eyes.”
  18. 18. Why choose Analytic Philosophy as the direction for this Philosophy of Language class?  To strike a balance: Ateneo Philosophy tradition is predominantly Continental: ◦ Introduction to Philosophy: Existentialism of Sartre, Camus, Kierkegaard, Frankl ◦ Philosophy of the Human Person: Heidegger’s Dasein ◦ Moral Philosophy: Kant’s synthetic a priori ◦ Metaphysics: Ontological Questions, Heidegger ◦ Modern Philosophy: Hegel ◦ Socio-pol Philosophy: Foucault ◦ Philosophy of Religion: St. Thomas
  19. 19.  Only in Philosophy of Language can we be introduced and acquainted with the Analytic Philosophical Tradition: ◦ Focused on analysis (analysis of thought, language, logic, knowledge, mind, etc.) ◦ Solves philosophical problems by reducing them to their parts and to the relations in which these parts stand ◦ Problem-solving activity with the tools of scientific testing and procedure (avoiding speculative metaphysics)
  20. 20. How do we proceed?  We proceed with a focus on several problems on language using logical tools/linguistic analysis to solve them: ◦ Problem of reference and meaning ◦ Problem of speech and action ◦ Problem of meaning and truth ◦ Problem of non-literal meaning
  21. 21. Advisory Grading Period (broadly historical) ◦ “On Reference and Meaning”:  What are the properties of words making it meaningful? How are those properties made available to those who know the language?  What distinguishes the meaningful sounds and gestures made by speakers from the meaningless sounds and gestures that they also produce (e.g. humming, leg tapping, etc.)  Locke, Mill, Frege, Wittgenstein
  22. 22. Midterm Grading Period  On Speech and Action: ◦ What is the relation of words and action? ◦ Can the meaning of a word depend on the activities that the speaker does given the word? ◦ Is ‘use’ of the word that which distinguishes meaningful speech from meaningless noises? ◦ What are the variety of ways in which language is used? ◦ Austin, Alston, Searle, Wittgenstein
  23. 23. Midterm Grading Period  On Meaning and Truth: ◦ What is it for words to mean what they do? ◦ What is the meaning of the slogan ‘Meaning is truth-conditions’? ◦ How does the correctness of what we say depend on facts about the speaker and other speakers of this particular language? ◦ What is the relation of words and sentences? How can meaningful words translate to meaningful sentences expressing truth about the world? ◦ Davidson, Higginbotham
  24. 24. Final Grading Period  On Non-literal Meaning: Some Puzzles of Ordinary Language: ◦ How do speakers communicate using metaphors and language with non-literal meanings? ◦ How do we draw the distinction between general abilities of language users and the abilities that are specific to the speakers of a particular language? How do abilities of the two sorts work together in actual cases of linguistic communication? ◦ How do we understand and find meaningful religious language? ◦ Bergmann, Back, Hick
  25. 25. Assignment*  Kant’ synthetic a priori cognition  Kant’s division between the noumenal and phenomenal  Hegel’s totalizing Idea  Heidegger’s ontological theories vs. logical categorization  Vienna Circle’s problem with metaphysics