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LINGUIST List 16.1795

Tue Jun 07 2005

Diss: Philosophy of Lang: Drozdovsky: 'Energy of ...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <takolinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Dmytro Drozdovsky, Energy of Linguothinking

Message 1: Energy of Linguothinking
Date: 05-Jun-2005
From: Dmytro Drozdovsky <drosdovsckyrambler.ru>
Subject: Energy of Linguothinking

Institution: National University of "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy"
Program: philology
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Dmytro I. Drozdovsky

Dissertation Title: Energy of Linguothinking

Linguistic Field(s): Philosophy of Language

Dissertation Director:
Olexander Bondar
Vera Rich
Olexa Riznychenko
John Waddington-Feather

Dissertation Abstract:

Philosophy of Language: True or False?

Philosophers of language are not much concerned with what individual words
or sentences mean. The nearest dictionary or encyclopedia may solve the
problem of the meaning of words, and to speak a language correctly is
generally to know what most sentences mean. What is more interesting for
philosophers is the question of what it means for an expression to mean
something. Why do expressions have the meanings they have? Which
expressions have the same meaning as other expressions, and why? How can
these meanings be known? And the best, and simplest, question might be,
'what does the word 'meaning' mean?'

In a similar vein, philosophers wonder about the relationship between
meaning and truth. Philosophers tend to be less concerned with which
sentences are actually true, and more with what kinds of meanings can be
true or false. Some examples of questions a truth-oriented philosopher of
language might ask include: can meaningless sentences be true or false?
What about sentences about things that don't exist? Is it sentences that
are true or false, or is it the usage of sentences?

Language, how things 'mean' something, and truth are important not just
because they are used in everyday life. Language shapes human development,
from earliest childhood and continuing to death. Knowledge itself may be
intertwined with language. Notions of self, experience, and existence may
depend entirely on how language is used and what is learned through it.

The topic of learning language leads to all kinds of interesting questions.
Is it possible to have any thoughts without having a language? What kinds
of thoughts need a language to happen? How much does language influence
knowledge of the world and how one acts in it? Can anyone reason at all
without using language?

The philosophy of language is important because, for all of the above
reasons, language is important, and language is important because it is
inseparable from how one thinks and lives. People in general have a set of
vital concepts which are connected with signs and symbols, including all
words (symbols): 'object,' 'love,' 'good,' 'God,' 'masculine,'
'feminine,' 'art,' 'government,' and so on. By incorporating
'meaning,' everyone has shaped (or has had shaped for us) a view of the
universe and how they have 'meaning' within it.

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