THEORIES OF MEANING

theories of meaningOverview

A brief introduction to a difficult subject. Although many of the approaches are not much pursued now, or have developed far from their original intentions, philosophies of meaning add a good deal to literary matters, for good and ill. Meaning is not a self-evident matter, and the Postmodernist "prison-house" concept of language is unhelpful.

Meaning

What is meaning? Philosophers have struggled hard to arrive at a something that will tell them where and how meaning is to be sought. They have sought some theory that would encompass requirements like: There are sounds or marks on paper that possess meaning. They refer to things and can be true. Meaning is given in specified ways by the words themselves and syntax. Sentences should be composed of smaller units (propositions), each of which indicate the conditions to be satisfied to make each sentence true. There should be rules governing sentence composition. Language occurs in some context, and must express beliefs, hopes, intentions, etc. While these beliefs and hopes, etc. are no doubt states of the speaker's nervous system, the sentences should also relate to exterior objects and situations. Believing something is a relation to what is being believed: this relationships should be capable of being treated in some systematic way. Ultimately, though we cannot do so yet, semantics and psychology should reduce to physical acts and entities.

Has such a theory been found? No. Some requirements are satisfied by one theory, and some by another, but there is no single encompassing theory that commands general acceptance. Nor does one seem likely now. {1}

Logical Positivism

Why is that? Let us look at the various attempts to say something philosophically interesting and non-circular about meaning. An early attack on the problem was made by the Logical Positivists. Either, they said, sentences are statements of fact, when they can be verified. Or they are analytical, resting in the meaning of words and the structures that contain them. All other sentences — i.e. metaphysical, aesthetic and ethical statements — are only appeals to emotion, and therefore devoid of intellectual content. {2} Logical Positivists supposed that language had simple structures and that the facts they held were largely independent of that language. They supposed that matters which inspired the greatest reverence in individuals and which united communities could be dismissed as meaningless. And they supposed that verification, for which mathematics and science was the admired paradigm, amounted to no more than reference to straightforward, immediately-given sense data. {3} None of these is true, and the approach was not pursued much after the 1960s.

Linguistic Philosophy

Logical Positivism had nonetheless done good work in clearing away the tangle of philosophic argument. Perhaps more could be done? The later Wittgenstein argued that the purpose of philosophy was to clarify issues, to see through the bewitchment of language, to demonstrate that many conundrums of meaning arose through words being used beyond their proper remit. {4} In short, rather than immerse ourselves in abstruse theory, we should study language as it is actually used, by everyday people in everyday situations. Philosophy should not be the final arbiter on use, but more the humble investigator. Much had to be given up, but the gain is the roles words are now seen to play: subtle, not to be pinned down or rigidly elaborated. Games, for example, do not possess one common feature, but only a plexus of overlapping similarities.

What happened to such a modest programme? It was not modest at all, but proved on investigation to ramify into further difficulties, which only increased with greater depth of investigation. Gilbert Ryle and J.L. Austin were among many that created what came to be called linguistic philosophy. But clarification did not come, only a gradual realization that the problems of philosophy, meaning included, remained on the far side of linguistic analysis. {5}

Meaning as Propositional Calculus

Suppose we broaden its scope a little, but still require that meaning be as simple and transportable as possible. We can break a sentence into simple units (propositions) which conform to a simple assertions of fact. And we can remove the context: the who, why, how, etc. of its application. The result will assuredly be simplistic, but the sentences will rest on assured foundations and can be built in logically correct ways. The matter is often put in terms of two concepts: intension and extension. Intension is the meaning achieved by the words in the sentence. Extension is what the sentence refers to. In The moon is a planet, intension is whatever defines planets, and extension is what is referred to by the sentence, i.e. the moon. The extension is therefore the state of affairs to which the sentence refers, and the intension is that which allows us to pick out the extension of the sentence in all possible worlds.

The approach derives from Gottlob Frege who founded modern logic. Simple sentences are built of propositions connected by logical constants like not and or, and and and if - then. More complex sentences arise when there exist, some, supposing, all are employed. But the meaning is brought out by the logic of the connectives and the truth values of the propositions — i.e. what needs to be the case for the proposition to be true. {6}

There are many advantages in this approach: clarity, certainty, universality. Once expressions are reduced to propositions with truth values, it becomes harder to dally with relativism. Truth and falsity are universals, and apply across the different worlds of individuals, cultures and times.

But matters are a good deal less clear-cut when metalanguages and different logics are involved. {8} And, even without such complications, there is Quine's objection that translation is underdetermined, that we inevitably make assumptions in translating from one language to another which undermine any claim that truth is universal. {9} There is Hacking's objection that style of reasoning is important, there being no one true, fundamental language in which reasoning should be conducted. {10} And there is the question whether such a logic properly represents meaning. Are all sentences assertions of fact, and do we always intend to be so logical? More damaging still is the observation that language is not the self-evident and unmetaphoric entity that propositional calculus assumes. Arguments are commonly not matters of fact but rhetoric. {11} And finally there are the facts themselves. Even in science, the most objective of disciplines, facts are not matters immediately given but arrived at through a communality of practice and assumption. {12}

Intention-Based Semantics

Perhaps we should start from another direction altogether and ask why human beings use speech. What are their purposes and intentions? J.L. Austin's How to Do Things with Words was the seminal work, and his approach was extended and systematized by John Searle and others. Meaning is real and includes both what the speaker intended and what he actually said — i.e. the function of a sentence and its internal structure. Speech, moreover, is rule-governed, and we should be able to spell out these rules. {13} Paul Grice concerned himself with differences in intention between the said and the meant, and in analyzing conversational situations. Implication was conveyed by general knowledge and shared interest. And an action intended to induce belief would have to a. induce that belief, b. be recognized as such by the hearers, and c. be performed with every intention of being recognized as such. His cooperative principle introduced maxims of quality (things are not said which are known to be false or for which there is no evidence), quantity (appropriately informative), relation (relevant), and manner (brief, orderly, not obscure or ambiguous). {14} Intention-based semantic theories are still popular and are actively pursued. But they have not entirely succeeded in reducing meaning and psychology to actions and utterances. If meaning is defined as acting so as to induce belief and action in another, theories of meaning must be grounded in non-semantic terms to avoid circularity. And there is some doubt whether this can be done. Individuals act according to beliefs, and the communication of these beliefs eventually and necessarily calls on public beliefs and language. {15}

Meaning as Truth Conditions

Is there another way of cutting through the tangle of belief and language-dependence? One very influential programme was that of John Davidson, which made the meaning of the sentence simply its truth conditions. The meaning of a trivially simple example: The moon is round are the conditions that the sentence is true, namely that the moon is indeed round. No more than that. The programme sidesteps troublesome philosophical issues — the mind-body problem, problems of knowledge, deep grammar, social usage — to state "facts" in a logically-transparent language. {16}

But is this really what is meant by meaning? Philosophers have not generally thought so, still less linguists, sociologists, and literary critics. And even by its own lights the programme was unsuccessful. Its logical consistency was weakened by the need for two assumptions — that translation from natural to logical metalanguages was never with mishap, and that meaning was a holistic phenomena, i.e. that texts as a whole bestowed meaning on individual words rather than the other (propositional) way about. Moreover, and despite employing the powerful resources of symbolic logic, the programme proved unable to deal with many everyday expressions or sentences. {17}

Deconstruction

Since all attempts to ground meaning in more fundamental entities have failed, perhaps we should conclude that sentences have no meaning at all, no final, settled meaning that we can paraphrase in non-metaphorical language. That is the contention of Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction is the literary programme that derives from this approach, though Derrida himself does not see deconstruction as a method, and still less an attack on the western canon of literature, but more a way of investigating the textural contexts in which words are used. The social, cultural and historical aspects of that context, and how we interpret a text from our own current perspective, are the concerns of hermeneutics. Derrida's view goes deeper. There is no "thought" as such, he argues, that we create in our minds and then clothe with words. Words are the beginning and the end of the matter, the only reality. They refer only to other words, not to things — be they "thoughts" in the mind, or "objects" in the world. By looking carefully at a text we see where the writer has chosen one word in preference to others of similar meaning, and these choices tell us something about what the writer is trying not to say, i.e. is suppressing or hiding from us — either deliberately, or by thoughtless immersion in the suppositions of his time. In this sense, texts write themselves. Context and author are largely irrelevant. And not only texts. Institutions, traditions, beliefs and practices: none of these have definable meanings and determinable missions. All dissolve into words, whose deployment it is the philosopher's task to investigate. {18}

Who believes this? Very few in the workaday world. As a philosophic position it can be defended by making certain assumptions — that words predate thought, are beyond our control, and do not make reference. But the cost is very high. Jettisoned are investigations into the linguistic development of language, the social purposes it serves, its aesthetic aspects. Political injustices — which Derrida cares passionately about — are only personal views, mere words at last. Derrida is a subtle and learned writer, vastly more accomplished than the majority of his followers, but deconstruction severs language from its larger responsibilities.

Reference

And do words make only reference to themselves? Ultimately they make sense of our thoughts, our emotions, our sense impressions. We register something as loud, heavy, yellow, pungent, etc. and no amount of word shuffling can set these impressions aside. We expect objects to retain their properties, just as words retain their meaning, the two being locked together and finally cohering in a world we understand. No one supposes that words do not mediate in the way we use our senses, and that complex chains of understanding do not underlie the simple statement "that is a chair". Or the power of ideology to evoke violent reactions to concepts that are not experienced and may be largely abstract: communist, terrorist, etc. But the culprit is the tangled chain of reference, the spurious associations and the procedural sleights of hand that practised demagogues employ.

Certainly we can declare: "Aha! See, words always enter into things." But that is the source of their power and properties. Words cannot generally be entirely divorced from context, any more than things can be handled at any length without words. Yet even this power of language can be exaggerated. Many skills are learnt by watching and doing. Painters learn from each other's paintings, not from the clever words of art critics. Musicians discussing a tricky bit of interpretation will demonstrate what they mean. In all of these cases the verbal explanation comes belatedly, and is accepted to the extent it expresses what has already been intuitively grasped. Literary critics, philosophers and academics naturally exalt the power of language, but many things in this world run perfectly well on a very slender vocabulary indeed — as driving a car, house-building, and lovemaking amply demonstrate.

Be that as it may, reference is clearly an essential part of linguistic philosophy, and the literature is extensive. One popular approach, deriving from Wittgenstein and developed by Peter Strawson and John Searle, is to establish name and reference by a cluster of descriptions. Unfortunately, however, references may be borrowed without being properly understood, and names may not require descriptions: the Cataline Plot is simply what Cicero denounced and thwarted. A second approach developed by Saul Kripke is therefore gaining ground. Naming is introduced by dubbing (ostensively, i.e. by pointing). People not present at the dubbing pick up the word, and others use it. This theory of designating chains (d-chains as they are called) has several advantages. The chains are independent of their first use and of those who use them, and they allow name substitution. Identity is speaker-based. We accept the linguistic and non- linguistic contexts, but understand that the speakers' associations forge the link between language and the world. And speakers can be precise, unclear, ambiguous and/or plain wrong. D-chains can designate things meaningless and false, as well as things meaningful and true.

Gareth Evans looked at how change of reference is possible. Sometimes we muddle up the references and then have to ground names in another way. Sometimes we can use names knowing next to nothing about their meaning, but realizing nonetheless that the category still has to be right — nouns used as nouns, lakes used in geographical and not psychological description. But what happens when we move to more abstract terms? Then matters become much more contentious, several workers arguing for reference fixing and reference fixing theories. {19}

Hermeneutics

Do we have to understand the cultural aspects of reference? Undoubtedly, say the hermeneutists. There is no final, unchanging, ahistorical basis for interpretation. Language is not neutral, but needs to be understood through certain filters — the continuance of the historical past for Gadamer, through labour and shared expression for Habemas, and through cultural artifacts and shared ways of understanding for Ricouer. We live on our historical inheritance, says Gadamer, in a dialogue between the old traditions and present needs. And there is no simple way to assess that inheritance except by trial and error: praxis, living out its precepts and their possible reshapings. Rationality of the scientific or propositional kind is something we should be wary of, since it evades any direct apperception of reality, the "truth that finds us". Validity comes from a communality of practice and purposes, not by reference to abstract theory. {20} Habermas is a Marxist and criticizes the "rationality" of science as too much placing control in the hands of specialists, an undemocratic procedure. Man is entitled to his freedoms — from material want, from social exclusion, and from practices that alienate him from better nature. Labour is not simply a component of production, but how men are forced to live. Class ideologies that reduce liberties in this way are perversions of language which we need to exhume and examine. {21} Cultural objects are shared ways in which a community understands itself. But communities change. How we arrive at a proper interpretation of objects from past civilizations is something, says the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, that Gadamer does not explain. All things are relative: no one interpretation is to be preferred over another. Habermas is more concerned with method, but has also failed to bring praxis and theory together — i.e. is far from achieving Husserl's hope for a rigorous science. Ricoeur's own suggestion is to search the text itself for the complex relationship between explaining and understanding. {22}

Relativism in Social Context

Societies have very different customs, particularly those of native peoples isolated by history and terrain from contact with others. Anthropologists have found much that is puzzling in their myths and social practices. Some tribes claim a close kinship with the animal world, even to the extent of believing themselves to be red parakeets, etc. So there grew up a notion that the "primitive " mind was somehow different from its western counterpart, a notion strengthened when it was found that some native languages attribute gender to inanimate objects, or have no past or future tense. {23} Much of this can be discounted. Though their language may not have a past tense as such, Hopi Indians have no difficulty working to western schedules. Cerveza is feminine in gender, but not otherwise regarded as female. Native peoples live too close to extinction for them to indulge in mystifying beliefs, and no doubt anthropologists would impute primitivism to a Roman Catholic mass. Indeed, later investigations showed that red parakeets were being used metaphorically, or partly so. {24} But are languages (and hence meanings) culture-dependent? We can translate between different languages, but is what comes over an adequate transcription? In one sense the answer must be "yes". It remains a possibility that a native speech will one day be found expressing concepts so entirely foreign to us that translation is impossible. But none of the 4,000-odd languages has yet done so. Many examples of the native's "irrational mind" prove to be misunderstandings, or words used in a non-literal way. All the same, in another sense perhaps, the answer may be "no". Polyglots can switch languages easily, but the switch is into a paraphrase rather than a word-for-word transcription. What is given in translation is a guide to a different linguistic terrain, to a world recognized slightly differently. So with jargon and styles within a particular language. Vocabularies change, and so do syntax and metaphor. Human beings create models of cognition that reflect concepts developed in the interaction between brain, body and environment. Such models, called schema, may provide our five different conceptual approaches — images, metaphors, part for whole, propositional and symbolic. Linguistic functions are propositional and symbolic. Grammatical constructions are idealized schemas. And so on. Much remains to be done, not least to convince the many specializations involved, but language is not the unambiguous, neutral medium that literalists have supposed. {25}

Religious Meaning

What is the meaning that religious adherents derive from their faith? Certainly it seems compelling, even if not communicable to those who have not experienced that reality. Wishful thinking, hallucination? No. It is not possible to prove them to be false or logically incoherent. Theism is rational within a given conceptual system, such systems being judged on their match with the evidence, on their explanatory or transforming power, on their consistency, coherence, simplicity, elegance and fertility, and on the rules which arise out of the system rather than a-priori. {26} Religion can be seen as the sacralization of identity, which presupposes order and consistency in our views of reality. It becomes meaningful in acts: ritual, prayer, mystical encounters. As in myth, the language of religion is closed and self-supporting, not easily translated or transferred from one culture to another. Meaning is formed by acts of communication and has to be recreated in those acts time and again. It is always possible to reduce religion to anthropology or social science, but such explanations are ultimately unsatisfying, lacking the emotion-laden demonstration of a man's place in a meaningful world. {27}

Conclusions

Semiotics is still an obsession of literary theory, but clearly only one of many approaches to meaning, and may indeed be fading now from the American philosophy scene. {28} Very few of its ten thousand professional philosophers are rattling the bars of the prison cage of language. Linguistic philosophies continue, but in addition to the traditional fields — philosophy of existence (ontology), meaning (epistemology) art (aesthetics), morals (ethics) and political history — there is increased emphasis on new fields: computer issues, applied ethics, feminism, rights of parenthood, etc. Though most philosophy is still written by academics for other academics, an applied philosophy is being attempted, even if its impact on public opinion is still very small.

The upshot for the arts, and poetry {29} in particular? We surely now have a richer understanding of the resources and shortcomings of language. Inspired by the example of science in its search for objective and fundamental knowledge, philosophy and its kindred disciplines have attempted to ground language in something incontrovertible, free of individual and cultural suppositions. They have failed. And even if cognitive science should one day be able to explain language in terms of the chemical or physical processes of the brain, those very processes would rest on findings produced by the shared beliefs and practices of the scientific community. There is no escaping the human element. Even if expressed entirely as mathematics, the processes could not escape the lacunae discovered by human beings at the heart of mathematical logic. But this is no cause for dejection. The various disciplines of art, philosophy and science each make their own starting assumptions, and consequently map the world differently. And surely each is appropriate in its own sphere: composing a poem will not mend a broken leg. But the spheres are not wholly distinct and detached from each other, so that better understanding and cooperation between the disciplines could be immensely enriching.

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References

1. Chapter 1 of Stephen Schiffer's Remnants of Meaning (1987).
2. Nicholas Fotion's Logical Positivism in Ted Honderich's (Ed.) The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (1995).
3. p. 136 in A.C. Grayling's An Introduction to Philosophical Logic (1982).
4. pp. 431-41 in John Passmore's A Hundred Years of Philosophy (1978), and Schiffer 1987.
5. Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind (1949), and pp. 449-59 in Passmore 1978.
6. For example chapter 2 of AC Grayling's An Introduction to Philosophical Logic (1982).
7. Wilfred Hodges's Logic, modern in Honderich 1995, Chapters 4-6 of Susan Haack's Philosophy of Logics (1980), Barker 1980, Chapters 5 and 6 of Roger Scruton's Modern Philosophy (1996, Chapters 4 and 7 of Anders Wedberg's A History of Philosophy: Volume 3: From Bolzano to Wittgenstein (1984) and Chapter 2 of Sibyl Wolfram's Philosophical Logic: An Introduction (1989).
8. R.W. Hepburn's Relativism, Epistemological in Honderich 1995, W. Newton-Smith's Relativism and the Possibility of Interpretation in Martin Hollis and Steven Lukes's (Ed.) Rationality and Relativism (1982), and Chapter 12 of Haack 1978.
9. pp. 116-120 in Newton Smith 1982.
10. Ian Hacking's Language, Truth and Reason in Hollis and Lukes 1982.
11. Alan Gross's The Rhetoric of Science (1996).
12. Stewart Richards's Philosophy and Sociology of Science: An Introduction (1983), M.J. Mulkay's Science and the Sociology of Knowledge (1979). Also Mary Hesse's Truth and the Growth of Scientific Knowledge (1976) and her Truth and Value in the Social Sciences (1978).
13. pp. 459-67 in Passmore 1978, and P.F. Strawson's Intention and Convention in Speech Acts (1964).
14. PP 19-21 in Passmore 1988, John Searle's The Philosophy of Language (1971) and Intentionality (1983), Geoffrey Leech and Jenny Thomas's Language, Meaning and Context: Pragmatics (1990), Chapter 10 in Bernard Harrison's An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (1979), Chapter 4 of Simon Blackburn's Spreading the Word (1984) and Paul Grice's Logic and Conversation (1975).
15. Schiffer 1987.
16. pp. 157-160 of Grayling 1982 and Blackburn 1984.
17 Chapter 4 in John Passmore's Recent Philosophers (1988).
18. Christopher Norris's Deconstruction: Theory and Practice (1982), J. Sturrock's Structuralism and Since: From Lévi- Straus to Derrida. (1984), Chapter 8 of Bernard Bergonzi's Exploding English (1990), Chapter 11 of George Watson's The Literary Critics (1986), J.G. Merquior's From Prague to Paris (1986), pp. 29- 33 of John Passmore's Recent Philosophers (1985), Roger Scruton's Modern Philosophy (1996), Raman Seldon's A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory (1985), and the works listed on page 65 of Wendell Harris's Literary Meaning (1996).
19. Michael Devitt and Kim Sterelny's Language and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (1987) for a theory incorporating Chomsky's linguistics that also provides a clear introduction to reference and related matters.
20. pp. 1-3 and 8-10 in Roy Howard's Three Faces of Hermeneutics (1982) and Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method (1975).
21. Nicholas Davey's Jürgen Habermas in Jenny Teichman and Graham White's (Ed.) An Introduction to Modern European Philosophy (1995). Also David Couzens Hoy and Thomas McCarthy's Critical Theory (1994) and Jürgen Habermas's Towards a Theory of Communicative Competence (1970).
22. Charles Reagan and David Steward's The Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur: An Anthology of his Work. (1978). Also Eric Hirsch's The Aims of Interpretation. (1978).
23. Geoffrey Sampson's Schools of Linguistics: Competition and Evolution (1980) and Dale Pesmen's Reasonable and Unreasonable World: Some Expectation of Coherence in Culture Implied in the Prohibition of Mixed Metaphor in James Fernandez's Beyond Metaphor: The Theory of Tropes in Anthropology (1991).
24. Dan Sperber's Apparently Irrational Beliefs in Hollis and Lukes 1982.
25. David Leary's (Ed.) Metaphors in the History of Psychology (1990), and G. Lakoff and M. Johnson's Metaphors We Live By (1986).
26. Basil Mitchell's The Justification of Religious Belief (1973).
27. L. Kolakowski's Religion (1982) and Hans Mol's Identity and the Sacred. (1976).
28. N. Rescher's American Philosophy Today. (1994).
29. William Dowling's The Sense of the Text: Intensional Semantics and Literary Theory (1999).

Internet Resources

1. Logical Positivism. Garth Kemerling. October 2001. http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/6q.htm. Good overview with in-text links.
2. Ludwig Wittgenstein. Duncan Richter 2001. http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/w/ wittgens.htm. Straightforward account of life and work.
3. Ludwig Witgenstein. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wittgenstein/. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry, with brief references.
4. Gilbert Ryle. http://www.erraticimpact.com/~analytic/ryle.htm. Brief articles from various sources.
5. Gibert Ryle's The Concept of Mind. Alex Scott. 2003. http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/ryle.html. Summary of Gilbert Ryle's 1949 book.
6. Analysis of Ordinary language. Garth Kemeling. Oct. 2001. http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/6u.htm. Brief entries on Ryle, Austin and Strawson.
7. J.L. Austin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._L._Austin Dec. 203. Wikpedia's entry: brief but with links.
8. Conversation with John Searle. Harry Kreisler. 1999. http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people/
Searle/searle-con0.html
. Easy introduction to Searle and his views.
9. Searle, John. http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/MindDict/ searle.html. Brief introductions to main ideas.
10. John Searle. The Philosophical Journey: An Interactive Approach. William Lawford. 2001. http://www.mhhe.com/mayfieldpub/lawhead/
chapter3/john_searle.htm
. An extended series of articles, somewhat technical.
11. Grice, Herbert Paul. Christopher Gawker. http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/ MindDict/grice.html. Brief introduction to his ideas.
12. Grice, H. Paul. Kent Bach. http://online.sfsu.edu/~kbach/grice.htm. Entry in MIT Encyclopaedia of the Cognitive Sciences.
13. Michael Dummet. Benjamin Murphy. http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/d/dummett.htm. Extended entry in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
14. W. V. Quine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._V._Quine. Wikepedia introduction.
15 W.V. Quine. http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/ W.-V.-Quine. Introduction to Quine's life and work.
16 Willard Van Orman Quine 1908-2000. http://www.wvquine.org/ Extensive bibliographies and notes on this Quine homepage.
17 Donald Davidson. 2000. http://www.erraticimpact.com/ ~analytic/davidson.htm. Brief sketch of the man and his importance.
18. Donald Davidson. Jeff Malpas. Nov. 2003. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/davidson/. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry: a more extended treatment, indicating the technical nature of Davidson's work.
19. Interviews with Jacques Derrida. 1995. http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/derrida/interviews.html. Introduction to Derrida's outlook and ideas.
20. Deconstruction. James E. Faulconer. Jun. 1998. http://jamesfaulconer.byu.edu/deconstr.htm NNA. Explores Derrida's aims.
21. Jacques Derrida. Jack Reynolds. 2002. http://www.iep.utm.edu/d/derrida.htm. Detailed Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry, somewhat technical.
22. Reference. Marga Reimer. Jan. 2003. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reference/. Putnam, Quine, Davidson and others.
23. Nonconceptual Mental Content. José Bermúdez. Jan. 2003. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/content-nonconceptual/. Includes the views of Gareth Evans.
24. A Brief History of Literary Movements. Chris Lang. Jan. 2004. http://www.xenos.org/essays/litthry3.htm. Essay touching upon Gadamer and hermenuetics.
25. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914). Garth Kemerling. Aug. 2002. http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/peir.htm. Introduction and good links.
26. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914). Eugene Halton. 1992. http://www.nd.edu/~ehalton/Peirce.htm. Brief outline of His philosophy with some relations to linguistics.
27. Hans-Georg Gadamer. Jeff Malpas. Mar. 2003. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/gadamer/. A detailed Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry, with good bibliography but few links.
28. Jürgen Habermas. Dec. 2003. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurgen_Habermas. Wikipedia article with good links.
29. The Jürgen Habermas Web Resource. Steve Robinson. http://www.msu.edu/user/robins11/habermas/main.html. Introduction: brief article and links.
30. Paul Ricouer. Bernard Dauenhauer. Nov. 2002. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ricoeur/. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry, with good bibliography.
31. Roman Ingarten. Amie Thomasson. Jun. 2003. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ingarden/. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry, with bibliography and links
32. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Daniel Chandler. 1994. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/ short/whorf.html. Introduction in terms of mould and cloak theories.
33. Regarding Benjamin Lee Whorf. Danny Alford. 1980. http://www.enformy.com/alford.htm#papers. Argues for a reexamination.
34. Color. Barry Maund. Jul. 2002. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/color/. Whorf concept from another point of view.
35. Mental Representation. David Pitt. Dec. 2002. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ mental-representation/. More on the ramifications of the Whorf hypothesis.
36. Relativism. Chris Swoyer. Feb. 2003. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/relativism/. Good summary of views and difficulties.
37. Religion. Feb. 2004. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion. Extended article on characteristics of religion.
38. Philosophy of Religion. Feb. 2004. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Philosophy_of_religion
. Incomplete introduction to the meaning and justification of religious beliefs.
39. Religion. Tim Holt. Jan. 2004. http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/. Simple coverage of religion's many aspects.
40. Religion. http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/ Rel.html#myth. University of Hong Kong's extensive listing of sites.


      C. John Holcombe   |  About the Author    | ©     2007 2012 2013 2015.   Material can be freely used for non-commercial purposes if cited in the usual way.