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Through a variety of logical/linguistic investigations, the past century witnessed some of the most important advances in the history of philosophy. The outcome, however, has been the largely isolated results of a piece-meal approach to philosophy. In his landmark work Sign Levels, D.S. Clarke provides readers with an integrative framework designed to overcome this lack of sustained focus. Drawing on the pragmatist tradition of semiotic of Peirce and Morris, he traces the development of the logical categories of language to the more primitive sign levels of natural events and signals. The concluding chapters discuss the unique features introduced by spoken natural languages and the written specialized languages used within social institutions.
This bold venture into synthetic philosophy provides:
* a methodology for comparing language to primitive sign levels that avoids reductionism;
* comparisons and contrasts between sign levels that enable distinctions between necessary and contingent features of language;
* an integrative framework for relating isolated results in linguistic philosophy, experimental psychology, and ethology;
* a means of resolving some of the principal metaphysical disputes derived from linguistic investigations.
One: Three Ideals Of Modern Philosophy. 1.1. Simplicity and Certainty. 1.2. Compositional Semantics. 1.3. Simplicity and Comprehensiveness.
Two: The Methodology Of Semiotic. 2.1. Primitiveness and Sign Levels. 2.2. Semiotic and Semiotics. 2.3. Necessary and Contingent Features. 2.4. The Language Archetype. 2.5. Grades of Involvement.
Three: Signs And Learning Theories. 3.1. Conditioned Reflex and Instrumental Learning. 3.2. Behavioral and Teleological Reductions. 3.3. Natsigns. 3.4. Awareness of Associationist Learning. 3.5. Proto-Natsigns and Panpsychism.
Four: Communicative Intent And Conventionality. 4.1. Comsigns and Signals. 4.2. Transactional and Iconic Aspects. 4.3. Regularities and Conventions.
Five: Proto-Language Sentences. 5.1. Subjects and Predicates. 5.2. Reference and Existence. 5.3. Feature-Placing Sentences and Identification. 5.4. Illocutionary Force and Avowals. 5.5. Addresses. 5.6. Frames and Semantic Fields.
Six: Natural Language Discourse. 6.1. Linking Expressions. 6.2. Reference, Meaning Transfer, and Fiction. 6.3. Inferences and Propositions. 6.4. Quotation and Interpretation. 6.5. Identity.
Seven: Specialized Discourse. 7.1. Writing and Institutional Specialization. 7.2. Discourse Frames, Objects, and Existence. 7.3. Discourse Relativity and Truth. 7.4. Scientific Realism. 7.5. Natural Kinds and Reference. 7.6. Customs, Imperatives, and Laws.
Eight: Applications To Metaphysics. 8.1. Philosophy and Metaphysics. 8.2. Identity and Functionalist Theories. 8.3. Beliefs and Persons. 8.4. Sign Level Comparisons and Metaphysics.
Notes. References. Index.