Linguistics and Philosophy

Association between philosophy and language and linguistics has indeed been historically very long. In fact, it was the philosophers who first of all speculated on language. Plato’s Dialogues have explicit reference to language. In the field of semantics, philosophy has contributed tremendous insight to the linguists. The structural linguists ignored meaning because they thought it to be a subject of philosophy.

Linguistics and Philosophy

Yet there are deep-rooted differences between philosophy and linguistics. The philosopher’s concern is with ‘the uses of language for certain purposes -that are common to many communities’ he is not interested in the detailed differences between languages; the linguist’s concern is with ‘the details of each language for its own sake’, and he evolves and evaluates theories primarily to deal with particular languages.

The linguist is particularly interested in the formal structuring of the sentences of a language, the philosopher is interested in the logical structure and the inferential possibilities of the propositions they express irrespective of the grammar of particular language. Hence both these disciplines are getting remote from each other these days

by Abdullah Sam
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