The philosophy of language

  1. What is the philosophy of language

    Philosophy of language is a branch of philosophy. Generally speaking, it is the study of linguistic phenomena by contemporary western philosophers, and it is a branch or variant of analytical philosophy. The method it uses is logical analysis of language, which is based on the application of modern mathematical logic. Philosophy of language is one of the most influential and outstanding philosophical schools in modern western philosophy.


       2.  What are the contents of philosophy of language

         Philosophy of language includes three aspects:

         a. Linguistic philosophy is a discipline that philosophically considers linguistic universals such as meaning, synonyms, syntax and translation, and studies the logical position and verification methods of linguistic theories. It is a special branch of the philosophy of science, which is juxtaposed with the philosophy of physics and psychology.

         b. Philosophy of language, including the study of any concept based on the structure and function of natural language or artificial language. For example, Aristotle's philosophical thinking on existence, Russell's special description theory and Lyell's works on the concept of mind are all within the scope of this kind of research.

         c. Philosophy of language is a philosophical treatise on the nature of language and the relationship between language and reality.


      3.  Main subjects

         The study of language is divided into three categories: logical positivism, speech act theory and generative linguistics. The core issues of the study include the following nine aspects: the essence of language; Language turn in the development of western philosophy: Theory of meaning and reference; Meaning and confirmation of language; "image theory", "usage theory" and context; Response theory and speech act theory; The expression and understanding of language; Syntactic analysis of natural language; Methods of logical analysis.


           Xiang Zhou, et al.,delineated in his paper the experimental turn in philosophy of language before distinguishing armchair theorizing from empirical testing and highlighting the complementarity between the two approaches, and then carry out an analysis of the experimental tools and methods available for philosophical experiments with examples by classifying them into three major types, viz., the method of survey, the method of big data, and the method of cognitive neuroscience. For information, please click: 



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  2. Xiang Zhou, Ya Gao. The experimental turn in philosophy of language. Forum for linguistic studies, 2020, 2(1): 19-26. DOI: