CFP: Synthese Topical Collection on The Philosophy of Words

Submission deadline: August 30, 2021

Topic areas


Call for Papers: The Philosophy of Words

Guest Editors: JTM Miller (University of Durham), Thomas J Hughes (Beijing Institute of Technology Zhuhai)

Topical Collection Description: The main focus of this topical collection is words. Words are ubiquitous within our lives. Given this, it is unsurprising that a huge and diverse range of philosophical issues arise when we think about words. Within metaphysics, there has been a resurgence of interest in the ontology of words, asking questions about the individuation conditions for words and their ontological status. Words have also been of principle importance to the development of semantic theory in the last 150 years, investigating the notion of a word, word meaning, and the interaction between words, phrases, and sentences. There has also been extensive work in the philosophy of language on certain types of words. Studies abound on proper names, indexicals, definite articles, quantifiers, and so on. More recently, philosophers have also investigated slurs to try to understand the source of the offensive nature such words. Words are also important in the philosophy of mind, with research on the special role of language in the mind, the relationship between words and concepts, and the potential limits of non-linguistic thought. More broadly, the study of words in philosophy is inherently interdisciplinary, reflecting philosophical questions arising from empirical work on language in several scientific domains.

Appropriate Topics for Submission include, among others:

  • What is the ontological status of words?
  • How should words be individuated?
  • What conditions determine that two utterances count as utterances of the same word?
  • What are the atoms of meaning?
  • Are words themselves atomic or compositional?
  • How should lexical and compositional semantics be distinguished?
  • How do word ambiguities, cases of polysemy, and cases of homonymy work?
  • What is the relationship between words and truth conditions?
  • What is the relationship between words and reference?
  • How does the categorical distinction between the functional lexicon and the substantive lexicon impact semantic theory?
  • What differences are there in how linguists and philosophers understand words?
  • What is the relationship between words and concepts?
  • Do we have concepts that are non-linguistic?

Submissions via:

Submission Deadline: August 31st 2021

To be considered for inclusion in the Topical Collection, please select 'T.C. The Philosophy of Words' from the drop-down list when asked to 'Select Article Type'. Papers in a Topical Collection undergo the same review process as any other submission to Synthese.

For further information, please contact the guest editors: [email protected], [email protected]

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