Philosophy of language

The phrase "linguistic turn" was used to describe the noteworthy emphasis that contemporary philosophers put upon language.

There have been several distinctive explanations of what a linguistic "meaning" is. Each has been associated with its own body of literature.

Some of the major issues at the intersection of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind are also dealt with in modern psycholinguistics. Some important questions regard the amount of innate language, if language acquisition is a special faculty in the mind, and what the connection is between thought and language.

An important problem which touches both philosophy of language and philosophy of mind is to what extent language influences thought and vice versa. There have been a number of different perspectives on this issue, each offering a number of insights and suggestions.

Some thinkers, like the ancient sophist Gorgias, have questioned whether or not language was capable of capturing thought at all.

The issue here can be explicated in examination of the proposition "Socrates is a man".

From the realist's perspective, the connection between S and M is a connection between two abstract entities. There is an entity, "man", and an entity, "Socrates". These two things connect in some way or overlap.

From a nominalist's perspective, the connection between S and M is the connection between a particular entity (Socrates) and a vast collection of particular things (men). To say that Socrates is a man is to say that Socrates is a part of the class of "men". Another perspective is to consider "man" to be a property of the entity, "Socrates".