How To Get AboutDavid Sosa (University of Texas at Austin)
14 Gordon Square
New Directions in the Philosophy of Language
The 2022/23 Royal Institute of Philosophy London Lecture Series
Early in the twentieth century, philosophy in the English-speaking world took what Richard Rorty later called “The Linguistic Turn” in which language became the central focus of philosophy. In the twenty-first century, the philosophy of language remains strong but has changed considerably. This series examines these new directions, including new questions and methods as well as interest in what other disciplines and world philosophies have to teach us. The speakers are all leading or up-and-coming thinkers representing the full diversity of philosophy in the English-speaking world today. Their talks are aimed as much at the interested generalist as philosophical specialists. All are welcome.
David Sosa (Texas, Austin)
How to Get About
Wittgenstein once asked what makes my image of him into an image of him? The being of someone, of an image, is an example of representation. Philosophy has long aimed, unsuccessfully, to understand the phenomenon of representation. The issue has been with us since Plato’s Cratylus and most of its history is unified by a presupposition: whatever makes it that a bit of language (like a name or a sentence or any linguistic symbol) is about something is, fundamentally, also what makes it that a thought (or idea or image) is about a thing. The story of aboutness will be uniform—simplex—or so the presupposition has it. But we still don’t adequately understand the nature of representation. I will propose and develop a perspective that rejects the presupposition and explains our continuing confusion: there is more than one way for a thing to be about something. Representation comes, ultimately, in varieties.
October 20, 2022, 6:00pm BST
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