The two volumes of Philosophical Essays bring together the most important essays written by one of the world's foremost philosophers of language. Scott Soames has selected thirty-one essays spanning nearly three decades of thinking about linguistic meaning and the philosophical significance of language. A judicious collection of old and new, these volumes include sixteen essays published in the 1980s and 1990s, nine published since 2000, and six new essays. The essays in Volume 1 investigate what linguistic meaning is; how the meaning of a sentence is related to the use we make of it; what we should expect from empirical theories of the meaning of the languages we speak; and how a sound theoretical grasp of the intricate relationship between meaning and use can improve the interpretation of legal texts.
The essays in Volume 2 illustrate the significance of linguistic concerns for a broad range of philosophical topics--including the relationship between language and thought; the objects of belief, assertion, and other propositional attitudes; the distinction between metaphysical and epistemic possibility; the nature of necessity, actuality, and possible worlds; the necessary a posteriori and the contingent a priori; truth, vagueness, and partial definition; and skepticism about meaning and mind. The two volumes of Philosophical Essays are essential for anyone working on the philosophy of language.
Scott Soames is director of the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. His books include "Reference and Description" (Princeton), "Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century", Volumes 1 and 2 (Princeton), "Beyond Rigidity", and "Understanding Truth".
The Origins of These Essays ix Introduction 1 Part One: Presupposition 21Essay One: A Projection Problem for Speaker Presuppositions 23 Essay Two: Presupposition 73 Part Two: Language and Linguistic Competence 131 Essay Three: Linguistics and Psychology 133 Essay Four: Semantics and Psychology 159 Essay Five: Semantics and Semantic Competence 182 Essay Six: The Necessity Argument 202 Essay Seven: Truth, Meaning, and Understanding 208 Essay Eight: Truth and Meaning--in Perspective 225 Part Three: Semantics and Pragmatics 249 Essay Nine: Naming and Asserting 251 Essay Ten: The Gap between Meaning and Assertion: Why What We Literally Say Often Differs from What Our Words Literally Mean 278 Essay Eleven: Drawing the Line between Meaning and Implicature--and Relating Both to Assertion 298 Part Four: Descriptions 327 Essay Twelve: Incomplete Definite Descriptions 329 Essay Thirteen: Donnellan's Referential/Attributive Distinction 360 Essay Fourteen: Why Incomplete Definite Descriptions Do Not Defeat Russell's Theory of Descriptions 377 Part Five: Meaning and Use: Lessons for Legal Interpretation 401 Essay Fifteen: Interpreting Legal Texts: What Is, and What Is Not, Special about the Law 403 Index 425