Philosophy of Linguistics investigates the foundational concepts and methods of linguistics, the scientific study of human language. This groundbreaking collection, the most thorough treatment of the philosophy of linguistics ever published, brings together philosophers, scientists and historians to map out both the foundational assumptions set during the second half of the last century and the unfolding shifts in perspective in which more functionalist perspectives are explored. The opening chapter lays out the philosophical background in preparation for the papers that follow, which demonstrate the shift in the perspective of linguistics study through discussions of syntax, semantics, phonology and cognitive science more generally. The volume serves as a detailed introduction for those new to the field as well as a rich source of new insights and potential research agendas for those already engaged with the philosophy of linguistics.

Part of the Handbook of the Philosophy of Science series edited by:

Dov M. Gabbay, King's College, London, UK;
Paul Thagard, University of Waterloo, Canada; and
John Woods, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Key Features

  • Provides a bridge between philosophy and current scientific findings
  • Encourages multi-disciplinary dialogue
  • Covers theory and applications


Researchers, graduate students and senior undergraduates in all branches of the philosophy of science, as well as chemists and their students who are interested in methodological issues that arise in their discipline

Table of Contents

General Preface


Editorial Preface

Linguistics and Philosophy

1 The Interaction Between Linguistics & Philosophy

2 Linguistic Conceptions of the Nature of Language

3 Philosophical Conceptions of the Nature of Language

4 Key Concepts

5 Methodological Issues

6 Prospects



1 Introduction

2 The Chomsky Hierarchy

3 Conclusions



Logical Grammar

1 Formal Grammar

2 Logical Tools

3 Formal Syntax and Formal Semantics

4 Grammatical Frameworks

5 Why Might Grammar and Processing be Logical?




1 Minimalism as a Mode of Inquiry

Computational Linguistics

1 Defining Computational Linguistics

2 Narratives of Progress

3 Semantics in CL

4 Bayes's Rule

5 Syntactic Structure In CL

The Metaphysics of Natural Language(s)

1 Introduction

2 History

3 Basic Model Structure

4 Ontological Choices

5 From Natural Language Metaphysics to Real Metaphysics

Meaning and Use

1 Introduction

2 Meaning and Reference

3 Meaning and Use

Context in Content Composition

1 Introduction

2 Tools for the Lexicon from Dynamic Semantics

3 From Type Presupposition to Coercion

4 More on Types

5 A Sketch of a Formal Theory of Lexical Meaning

6 Modality, Aspect and the Verbal Complex

7 Discourse Intrusions Revisited

8 Conclusion

Type Theory and Semantics in Flux

5.2 Word meaning in flux

Language, Linguistics and Cognition

1 Introduction

2 Linguistics And Cognitive Data

3 Planning, Reasoning, Meaning

4 The Binding Problem for Semantics


Representationalism and Linguistic Knowledge



No. of pages:
© 2012
North Holland
eBook ISBN:
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About the series-volume-editors

Ruth Kempson

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Philosophy, King's College London

Tim Fernando

Affiliations and Expertise

Computer Science Dept, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Nicholas Asher

Affiliations and Expertise

Computational Linguistics Lab, University of Texas at Austin, USA