Talk by Paul Roth

The Lendület Morals and Science Research Group, RHC HAS, cordially invites you to the upcoming talk of its seminar series:

Prof. Paul Roth (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Does Language Exist?

Abstract: This talk is based on a combination of papers of mine that I am currently writing regarding the notion of meaning. I argue that philosophical skepticism about the existence of language famously articulated by Davidson—“there is no such thing as a language, not if a language is anything like what many philosophers and linguists have supposed”—presupposes and has its roots in Quine’s criticisms of Carnap’s views on linguistic frameworks. Specifically, I examine the conceptual and historical role within analytic philosophy of Carnap’s "Principle of Tolerance" in his account of linguistic frameworks, and reasons for Quine’s rejection of it. For if one sees, as does Quine, choices guided from the outset by pragmatic notions, then all so-called frameworks must be understood as post facto inventions by us. As a result, the thought that we can identify constraints on meaning, e.g., logic, proves philosophically misplaced and indeed idle.

Date: 29 March 2018, 4pm
Venue: 4 Tóth Kálmán st., 1097 Budapest; 7th floor

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