Philosophy Index

Philosophy of Language

Philosophy of language is the examination of human language, its origins and use, and how it relates to human thought and understanding, as well as reality. Philosophy of language has implications for logic, ethics and history, resulting from how language is used.

Questions in philosophy of language include what it means for a word to make reference—what is it for language to mean something, and how does that meaning correspond to reality? Another central question is whether or not a form of language is neccessary for thought—do people think in language, or do they think and then translate those thoughts into language?

The tradition in philosophy of language is generally split between analytic philosophers—who are concerned with where language comes from, how it relates to the mind, and the nature of meaning itself—and continental philosophers—who focus on how the communication through language impacts social realities, and in some cases, metaphysical realities.

Important philosophers of language

Some of the important philosophers and writers who have discussed philosophy of language include: