A leading philosopher of language gives his unifying view of the subject in this book, which encompasses its most important achievements, its most pressing current concerns, and its most potential future possibilities. The author, Scott Soames, not only explains the progress philosophers have made toward the creation of a theoretical framework for the study of language, but he also investigates foundational concepts such as truth, reference, and meaning, all of which are central to philosophy of language and important to philosophy in general.
From Frege to Russell to Tarski to Carnap, and on through Kripke and Kaplan, the book describes how philosophers from Frege to Russell to Tarski to Carnap developed precise techniques for understanding the languages of logic and mathematics and how these techniques have since been refined and extended to the study of natural human languages. Based on this perspective, the book explores new ideas about propositions, possibilities, and the relationship between meaning, assertion, and other aspects of language use.
This book will be required reading for all serious students of philosophy since it provides an invaluable introduction to the philosophy of language written by one of its most significant practitioners.