Philosophy, science, and common sense all refer to propositions—things we believe and say, and things which are true or false. But there is no consensus on what sorts of things these entities are. Jeffrey C. King, Scott Soames, and Jeff Speaks argue that commitment to propositions is indispensable, and each defend their own views on the debate.
In this collection of recent and unpublished essays, leading analytic philosopher Scott Soames traces milestones in his field from its beginnings in Britain and Germany in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, through its subsequent growth in the United States, up to its present as the world's most vigorous philosophical tradition. The central essay chronicles how analytic philosophy developed in the United States out of American pragmatism, the impact of European visitors and immigrants, the midcentury transformation of the Harvard philosophy department, and the rapid spread of the analytic approach that followed. Another essay explains the methodology guiding analytic philosophy, from the logicism of Frege and Russell through Wittgenstein's linguistic turn and Carnap's vision of replacing metaphysics with philosophy of science. Further essays review advances in logic and the philosophy of mathematics that laid the foundation for a rigorous, scientific study of language, meaning, and information. Other essays discuss W.V.O. Quine, David K. Lewis, Saul Kripke, the Frege-Russell analysis of quantification, Russell's attempt to eliminate sets with his "no class theory," and the Quine-Carnap dispute over meaning and ontology. The collection then turns to topics at the frontier of philosophy of language. The final essays, combining philosophy of language and law, advance a sophisticated originalist theory of interpretation and apply it to U.S. constitutional rulings about due process.
These are exciting times for philosophical theorizing about propositions, with the last 15 years seeing the development of new approaches and the emergence of new theorists. Propositions have been invoked to explain thought and cognition, the nature and attribution of mental states, language and communication, and in philosophical treatments of truth, necessity and possibility. According to Frege and Russell, and their followers, propositions are structured mind- and language-independent abstract objects which have essential and intrinsic truth-conditions. Some recent theorizing doubts whether propositions really exist and, if they do, asks how we can grasp, entertain and know them? But most of the doubt concerns whether the abstract approach to propositions can really explain them. Are propositions really structured, and if so where does their structure come from? How does this structure form a unity, and does it need to? Are the representational and structural properties of propositions really independent of those of thinking and language? What does it mean to say that an object occurs in or is a constituent of a proposition? The volume takes up these and other questions, both as they apply to the abstract object approach and also to the more recently developed approaches. While the volume as a whole does not definitively and unequivocally reject the abstract objection approach, for the most part, the papers explore new critical and constructive directions. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
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.
Concentrating on the period between 1945 and 1989, The Elusive Balance reevaluates Soviet and U.S. perceptions of the balance of power. William Curti Wohlforth uses a comparative and long-term approach to chart the diplomatic history of relations between the two countries. He offers new interpretations of the onset, course, and end of the Cold War, and the motivations behind Soviet behavior.
California. Legislature. Senate. Committee on Elections and Reapportionment
This text examines some of the main theories of international relations through a single major historical turning point namely the end of the Cold War. It deals with the tension between established international relations theories and the actual course of international politics, thus providing a critical assessment of one of the main theories.