Language and Communication

Michael Dummett

in The Seas of Language

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236214
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597350 | DOI:
Language and Communication

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There is a contest between the view that the primary function of language is that of an instrument of communication and the view that it is that of a vehicle of thought. But such a dilemma is misconceived. The true opposition is between language as representation and language as activity. The representation picture of language is misleading in so far as it assumes that the representative power can be isolated from other features of language and that it consists in the speaker's being in the correct interior states. That would render understanding completely mysterious, and therefore, we should demand an outward manifestation of understanding expressed in linguistic exchange and other actions.

Keywords: communication; Grice; manifestation challenge; representation; Theory of meaning; P.F. Strawson; Wittgenstein

Chapter.  11888 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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