Skip to main content Accessibility help
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language
  • Cited by 3
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

In this textbook, Michael Morris offers a critical introduction to the central issues of the philosophy of language. Each chapter focusses on one or two texts which have had a seminal influence on work in the subject, and uses these as a way of approaching both the central topics and the various traditions of dealing with them. Texts include classic writings by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Quine, Davidson, Austin, Grice and Wittgenstein. Theoretical jargon is kept to a minimum and is fully explained whenever it is introduced. The range of topics covered includes sense and reference, definite descriptions, proper names, natural-kind terms, de re and de dicto necessity, propositional attitudes, truth-theoretical approaches to meaning, radical interpretation, indeterminacy of translation, speech acts, intentional theories of meaning, and scepticism about meaning. The book will be invaluable to students and to all readers who are interested in the nature of linguistic meaning.


"'This is a knowledgeable and very useful addition to contemporary introductions to the philosophy of language, somewhere in difficulty between Lycan's 2008 and Taylor's (1998) worthy texts. It is the right size for a 15-week semester course, at one chapter a week (students like to use what they buy) ...this book will give any motivated student a good survey of the subject."
--Robert Harnish, University of Arizona, Philosphy in Review

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Works cited
Works cited
Alston, W., Illocutionary Acts and Sentence Meaning (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000)
Aristotle, , De Interpretatione, in Categories and De Interpretatione, trans. Ackrill, J. L. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963)
Ashworth, E. J., ‘Locke on Language’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 14 (1984), pp. 45–73
Austin, J. L., ‘Truth’, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 24 (1950), pp. 111–29
Austin, J. L.,How to do Things with Words, 2nd edn, Urmson, J. O. and Sbisà, M., eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975)
Avramides, A., ‘Intention and Convention’, in Hale, B. and Wright, C., eds., A Companion to the Philosophy of Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), pp. 60–86
Avramides, A., Meaning and Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989)
Ayer, A. J., Language, Truth and Logic (London: Gollancz, 1936)
Ayers, M., Locke: Epistemology and Ontology (London: Routledge, 1991)
Bach, K., Thought and Reference (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)
Bach, K., and Harnish, R. M., Linguistic Communication and Speech Acts (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1979)
Baker, G. P., and Hacker, P. M. S., An Analytical Commentary on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983)
Baker, G. P.,and Hacker, P. M. S., Scepticism, Rules, and Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984)
Barker, S., Renewing Meaning: A Speech-Act Theoretic Approach (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)
Barwise, J., and Perry, J., Situations and Attitudes (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983)
Beaney, M., ed., The Frege Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997)
Bell, D., ‘How “Russellian” was Frege?’, Mind, 99 (1990), pp. 267–77
Blackburn, S., ‘The Individual Strikes Back’, Synthèse, 58 (1984), pp. 281–301
Boghossian, P., ‘The Rule-Following Considerations’, Mind, 98 (1989), pp. 507–49
Bradley, F. H., Appearance and Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1930)
Brown, J., ‘Natural Kind Terms and Recognitional Capacities’, Mind, 107 (1998), pp. 275–304
Burge, T., ‘Belief De Re’, Journal of Philosophy, 74 (1977), pp. 338–62
Burge, T., ‘Sinning Against Frege’, The Philosophical Review, 88 (1979), pp. 398–432
Burge, T.,‘On Davidson's “Saying That”’, in Lepore, E., ed., Truth and Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, pp. 190–208
Burnyeat, M., ‘Wittgenstein and Augustine De Magistro’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 61 (1987), pp. 1–24
Carnap, R., The Logical Structure of the World and Pseudoproblems in Philosophy, trans. George, R. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967)
Carnap, R.,‘The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language’, in Ayer, A. J., ed., Logical Positivism (Glencoe, IL.: The Free Press), pp. 60–81
Chomsky, N., Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1965)
Chomsky, N.,‘Language and Problems of Knowledge’, in Martinich,, A. P. ed., Philosophy of Language, 4th edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 581–99
Church, A., ‘On Carnap's Analysis of Statements of Assertion and Belief’, Analysis, 10 (1950), pp. 97–9
Davidson, D., ‘Theories of Meaning and Learnable Languages’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 3–16
Davidson, D., ‘Truth and Meaning’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 17–36
Davidson, D., ‘On Saying That’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 93–108
Davidson, D., ‘Radical Interpretation’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 125–40
Davidson, D.,‘Belief and the Basis of Meaning’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 141–54
Davidson, D.,‘Thought and Talk’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 155–70
Davidson, D.,‘On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 183–98
Davidson, D.,‘Reply to Foster’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 171–80
Davidson, D.,‘Reality without Reference’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 215–25
Davidson, D.,‘The Inscrutability of Reference’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 227–41
Davidson, D.,‘Moods and Performances’, in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 109–21
Davidson, D., Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984)
Davidson, D.,‘A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs’, in Lepore, E., ed., Truth and Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, pp. 433–46
Davidson, D., and Harman, G., eds., Semantics of Natural Language (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1972), pp. 253–355
Donnellan, K., ‘Reference and Definite Descriptions’, Philosophical Review, 75 (1966), pp. 281–304
Duhem, P., The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory, trans. Wiener, P. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954)
Dummett, M., Frege: Philosophy of Language (London: Duckworth, 1973);
Dummett, M.‘What is a Theory of Meaning? (i)’, in his The Seas of Language, pp. 1–33
Dummett, M.,‘What is a Theory of Meaning? (ii)’, in his The Seas of Language, pp. 34–93
Dummett, M., The Seas of Language (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993)
Evans, G., ‘The Causal Theory of Names’, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 47 (1973), pp. 187–208; reprinted in his Collected Papers
Evans, G.,‘Understanding Demonstratives’, in Parret, H. and Bouveresse, J., eds., Meaning and Understanding (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1981), pp. 280–303; reprinted in his Collected Papers, pp. 291–321
Evans, G., The Varieties of Reference (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982)
Evans, G., Collected Papers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)
Evans, G., and McDowell, J., eds., Truth and Meaning (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976)
Evnine, S., Donald Davidson (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991)
Fodor, J., A Theory of Content (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990)
Fogelin, R., Wittgenstein, 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 1987)
Føllesdal, D., ‘Quine on Modality’, in Gibson, R., ed., The Cambridge Companion to Quine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)
Forster, M., Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004)
Frege, G., Begriffschrift, eine der arithmetischen nachgebildete Formalsprache des reinen Denkens (Halle, 1879); trans. in full in Heijenoort, J., ed., From Frege to Gödel: A Source Book in Mathematical Logic, 1879–1931 (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1967)
Frege, G.,The Foundations of Arithmetic, trans. Austin, J. L. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980)
Frege, G.,‘Über Sinn und Bedeutung’, Zeitung für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, 100 (1892), pp. 25–50; trans. as ‘On Sense and Meaning’ in Frege, G., Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic, and Philosophy
Frege, G.,‘Function and Concept’, in G. Frege, Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic, and Philosophy
Frege, G.,‘On Concept and Object’, in G. Frege, Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic, and Philosophy
Frege, G.,‘Thoughts’, in G. Frege
Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic, and Philosophy, ed. McGuinness, B. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984)
Frege, G.,Philosophical and Mathematical Correspondence, eds. G. Gabriel, H. Hermes, F. Kambartel, C. Thiel, and A. Veraart, abridged for the English edn by McGunness, B. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980)
Frege, G.,Posthumous Writings, eds. Hermes, J., Kambartel, F., and Kaulbach, F. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1979)
Furth, M., ‘Two Types of Denotation’, in Rescher, N., ed., Studies in Logical Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1968), pp. 9–45
George, A., ‘Whose Language is it Anyway? Some Notes on Idiolects’, Philosophical Quarterly, 40 (1990), pp. 275–98
Gibson, M., From Naming to Saying: The Unity of the Proposition (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004)
Grice, H. P., ‘Meaning’, The Philosophical Review, 66 (1957), pp. 377–88; reprinted in his Studies in the Ways of Words
Grice, H. P., ‘Utterer's Meaning, Sentence-Meaning, and Word-Meaning’, Foundations of Language, 4 (1968), pp. 225–42; reprinted in his Studies in the Ways of Words
Grice, H. P., ‘Utterer's Meaning and Intentions’, The Philosophical Review, 78 (1969), pp. 147–77; reprinted in his Studies in the Ways of Words
Grice, H. P.,‘Meaning Revisited’, in Smith, N. V., ed., Mutual Knowledge (New York: Academic Press, 1982), pp. 223–43; reprinted in his Studies in the Ways of Words
Grice, H. P., Studies in the Ways of Words (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989)
Grice, H. P., and Strawson, P. F., ‘In Defense of a Dogma’, Philosophical Review, 65 (1956), pp. 141–58
Hacker, P. M. S., ‘Philosophy’, in Glock, H-J., ed., Wittgenstein: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), pp. 322–47
Hacking, I., Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975)
Harman, G., Review of ‘Meaning’, by Stephen Schiffer, Journal of Philosophy, 71 (1974), pp. 224–9
Hobbes, T., Leviathan, ed. Plamenatz, J. (Glasgow: Collins, 1962)
Hookway, C., Quine (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1988)
Hume, D., A Treatise of Human Nature, eds. , D. and Norton, M. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)
Hume, D.,Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, in his Enquiries concerning Human Understanding and concerning the Principles of Morals, L. A. Selby-Bigge, ed., 3rd edn, Nidditch, P. H., ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975)
Husserl, E., Logical Investigations, trans. Findlay, J. N. (London: Routledge, 2001)
Kaplan, D.,‘Afterthoughts’, in Almog, J., Perry, J., and Wettstein, H., eds., Themes from Kaplan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 569–71
Kaplan, D.,‘Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice’, in Hintikka, J., Moravcsik, J. and Suppes, P., eds., Approaches to Natural Language (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1973), appendix x
Kenny, A., Frege (London: Penguin, 1995)
Kenny, A., Wittgenstein, 2nd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005)
Kirk, R., Translation Determined (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986)
Kretzmann, N., ‘The Main Thesis of Locke's Semantic Theory’, Philosophical Review, 77 (1968), pp. 175–96
Kripke, S., Naming and Necessity, 2nd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980)
Kripke, S.,‘Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference’, in French, P., Uehling, T., and Wettstein, H., eds., Contemporary Perspectives in the Philosophy of Language (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977), pp. 6–27
Kripke, S.,‘A Puzzle about Belief’, in Margalit, A., ed., Meaning and Use (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979), pp. 239–83
Kripke, S., Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 1982)
Larson, R., and Segal, G., Knowledge of Meaning (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), pp. 56–62
Lepore, E., ed., Truth and Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986)
Lewis, D., Convention (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969)
Lewis, D., ‘Radical Interpretation’, Synthèse, 23 (1974), pp. 331–44
Lewis, D.,‘Languages and Language’, in Gunderson, K., ed., Language, Mind and Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1975), pp. 3–35
Loar, B., ‘Two Theories of Meaning’, in Evans, G. and McDowell, J., eds., Truth and Meaning, pp. 138–61
Locke, J., An Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. Nidditch, P. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975)
Lowe, E. J., Locke on Human Understanding (London: Routledge, 1995)
Lycan, W.Philosophy of Language (London: Routledge, 2000)
McCulloch, G., The Game of the Name (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)
McDowell, J., ‘De Re Senses’, Philosophical Quarterly, 34 (1984), pp. 283–94; reprinted in his Mind, Knowledge, and Reality
McDowell, J., ‘Wittgenstein on Following a Rule’, Synthèse, 58 (1984), pp. 325–63
McDowell, J.,‘Singular Thought and the Extent of Inner Space’, in Pettit, P. and McDowell, J., eds., Subject, Thought, and Context (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 137–68; reprinted in his Mind, Knowledge, and Reality
McDowell, J., Meaning, Knowledge, and Reality (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998)
McDowell, J., Mind, Value, and Reality (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998)
McFetridge, I., ‘Propositions and Davidson's Account of Indirect Discourse’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 76 (1975), pp. 131–45
McGinn, C., Wittgenstein on Meaning (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984)
McGinn, M., Wittgenstein and the Philosophical Investigations (London: Routledge, 1997)
Mellor, D. H., ‘Natural Kinds’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 28 (1977), pp. 299–312
Meinong, A., “On the Theory of Objects”, in Chisholm, R., ed., Realism and the Background of Phenomenology (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1960), pp. 76–117
Mill, J. S., A System of Logic (London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1875)
Miller, A., Philosophy of Language (London: UCL Press, 1998)
Miller, A., and Wright, C., eds., Rule-Following and Meaning (Chesham: Acumen, 2002)
Millikan, R. G., Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984)
Millikan, R. G., ‘Truth Rules, Hoverflies, and the Kripke–Wittgenstein Paradox’, The Philosophical Review, 99, 3. (1990), pp. 323–53
Moore, A. W., Points of View (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)
Mulhall, S., Philosophical Myths of the Fall (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005)
Neale, S., Descriptions (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990)
Neale, S., Facing Facts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
Noonan, H., Frege: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000)
Orenstein, A., W. V. Quine (Chesham: Acumen, 2002)
Perry, J., ‘Frege on Demonstratives’, Philosophical Review, 86 (1977), pp. 474–97
Perry, J., ‘The Problem of the Essential Indexical’, Noûs, 13 (1979), pp. 3–21
Plantinga, A., The Nature of Necessity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978)
Platts, M., Ways of Meaning (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979)
Putnam, H., ‘Meaning and Reference’, Journal of Philosophy, 70 (1973), pp. 699–711
Putnam, H., ‘The Meaning of “Meaning”’, in his Mind, Language and Reality: Philosophical Papers Volume 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), pp. 215–71
Quine, W. V. O., ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’, in his From a Logical Point of View, pp. 20–46
Quine, W. V. O.,‘Reference and Modality’, in his From a Logical Point of View
Quine, W. V. O., From a Logical Point of View, 2nd edn (New York: Harper and Row, 1961)
Quine, W. V. O., ‘Three Grades of Modal Involvement’, reprinted in Quine's The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays, 2nd edn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976)
Quine, W. V. O.Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes’, Journal of Philosophy, 53 (1956), pp. 177–87
Quine, W. V. O., Word and Object (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1960)
Quine, W. V. O.‘Ontological Relativity’, in his Ontological Relativity and Other Essays (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), pp, 26–68
Quine, W. V. O., ‘On the Reasons for Indeterminacy of Translation’, Journal of Philosophy, 67 (1970), pp. 178–83
Ramachandran, M., ‘A Strawsonian Objection to Russell's Theory of Descriptions’, Analysis, 53 (1993), pp. 209–12
Ramberg, B., Donald Davidson's Philosophy of Language: An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989)
Recanati, F., Meaning and Force: The Pragmatics of Performative Utterances (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981)
Rumfitt, I., ‘Content and Context: The Paratactic Theory Revisited and Revised’, Mind, 102 (1993), pp. 429–54
Russell, B., Principles of Mathematics, 2nd edn (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1937)
Russell, B., ‘On Denoting’, Mind, 14 (1905), pp. 479–93
Russell, B., Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, 2nd edn (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1920)
Russell, B.,‘The Philosophy of Logical Atomism’, Monist, 28 (1918) and 29 (1919), reprinted in B. Russell, Logic and Knowledge, ed. Marsh, R. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1956), pp. 177–281
Russell, B.Mr Strawson on Referring’, Mind, 66 (1957), pp. 387–8
Sainsbury, M., Russell (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979)
Salmon, N., Frege's Puzzle (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986)
Salmon, N., and Soames, S., eds., Propositions and Attitudes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988)
Schiffer, S., Meaning (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972)
Schiffer, S., Remnants of Meaning (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987)
Searle, J., ‘Proper Names’, Mind, 67 (1958), pp. 166–73
Searle, J., Speech Acts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969)
Sheridan, R. B., The Rivals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968)
Smith, A. D., ‘Rigidity and Scope’, Mind, 93 (1984), pp. 177–93
Smith, A. D., ‘Natural Kind Terms: A Neo-Lockean Theory’, European Journal of Philosophy, 13 (2005), pp. 70–88
Soames, S., Beyond Rigidity: The Unfinished Semantic Agenda of Naming and Necessity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
Stern, D., Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: an Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)
Strawson, P. F., ‘On Referring’, Mind, 59 (1950), pp. 320–44; reprinted in his Logico-Linguistic Papers
Strawson, P. F., ‘Intention and Convention in Speech Acts’, Philosophical Review, 73 (1964), pp. 439–60; reprinted in his Logico-Linguistic Papers
Strawson, P. F.,‘Meaning and Truth’, in his Logico-Linguistic Papers, pp. 170–189
Strawson, P. F., Logico-Linguistic Papers (London: Methuen, 1971), pp. 149–69
Tarski, A., ‘The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’, in his Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956), pp. 152–278
Tarski, A., ‘The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 4 (1944), pp. 341–75
Wiggins, D., Sameness and Substance Renewed (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)
Wiggins, D., ‘Languages as Social Objects’, Philosophy, 72 (1997), pp. 499–524
Williams, B., ‘Wittgenstein and Idealism’, in his Moral Luck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 144–63
Winch, P., The Idea of a Social Science (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958)
Winch, P., ‘Understanding a Primitive Society’, American Philosophical Quarterly, 1 (1964), 307–24
Wittgenstein, L., Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1922)
L. Wittgenstein,Wittgenstein's Lectures: Cambridge 1930–1932, ed. Lee, D. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980)
Wittgenstein, L., Philosophical Investigations, 3rd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001)
Wittgenstein, L., On Certainty (Oxford: Blackwell, 1977)
Wittgenstein, L.,‘Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough’, in L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Occasions 1912–1951, eds. Klagge, J. and Nordmann, A. (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993), pp. 118–55
Wittgenstein, L.Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief, ed. Barrett, C. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1966), pp. 53–72
Wright, C., Rails to Infinity: Essays on Themes from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001)
Zalabardo, J., ‘Kripke's Normativity Argument’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 27 (1997), pp. 467–88
Zemach, E., ‘Putnam's Theory on the Reference of Substance Terms’, Journal of Philosophy, 73 (1976), pp. 116–27


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.