Philosophy of Language Texts?

I’m going to be teaching philosophy of language next term. It’s the first time–if you can believe that–we’re offering a course with that title. We used to have a course called “Analytical Philosophy”, which served that purpose, but it was also a history of analytic philosophy course. Anyway. I’d like to give my students a textbook, and was wondering if something new and good has shown up at the APA book exhibits in the last two years. Otherwise I’d probably use Ken Taylor’s Meaning and Truth.

7 thoughts on “Philosophy of Language Texts?

  1. A decent textbook that was used in a philosophy of language course I took was:Stainton, Robert. Philosophical Perspectives on Language. Broadview Press (1996)It’s very readable and pretty short. It’s split into three parts: The System Perspective (Syntax, Direct Reference, Mediated Reference, Truth Theoretic Semantics), The Knowledge Perspective (Idea Theory of Meaning, The Language of Thought, Knowledge Issues), and The Use Perspective (Use Theory of Meaning, Non-Literal Uses, Language and Community). You can also couple it, as my instructor did, with Stainton’s other book, “Perspectives in the Philosophy of Language”, which is an anthology that goes well with Stainton’s textbook. It’s significantly cheaper, if I remember correctly, than the other popular anthologies like Martinich’s (though it covers much less.)  Posted by Yarden Katz

  2. There is also Peter Ludlow’s philosophy of language collection (MIT Press, I think), which contains a lot of recent articles on descriptions, logical form, and belief reports. I used it last year in my philosophy of language seminar. The students seemed to like it. Posted by Brit Brogaard

  3. Of course the Martinich collection is great. I’ve also heard good things about Lycan’s textbook, if you’re looking for a text rather than a collection. Posted by Kenny Easwaran

  4. I second Kenny’s recommendation for Bill Lycan’s `Philosophy of Language’. It is accessible yet substantive, covers a good range of topics (core philosophy of language rather than philosophy of linguistics) and is even funny in places.I don’t think it would be good combined with the Ludlow collection (it’s a good collection, but, unlike Lycan, the focus is on phil language heavily informed by linguistics). But it combines well with Martinich. Posted by Anonymous

  5. I have mostly followed Lycan’s book in my courses – with some additional issues from Devitt & Sterelny, Language and Reality (2nd revised edition).Best, Panu  Posted by Panu Raatikainen

  6. I’m for Ludlow too, though I’ve used Martinich and been perfectly happy with it. I just think the Ludlow is bigger and has more recent stuff. These two are different kinds of textbooks from the others though – they’re collections of articles, rather than introductions to the subject by one author.  Posted by Gillian Russell

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