Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy

Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy

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Cambridge University Press

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Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy

In a powerful and original contribution to the history of ideas, Hannah Dawson explores the intense preoccupation with language in early-modern philosophy, and presents an analysis of John Locke's critique of words. By examining a broad sweep of pedagogical and philosophical material from antiquity to the late seventeenth century, Dr Dawson explains why language caused anxiety in various writers. Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy demonstrates that developments in philosophy, in conjunction with weaknesses in linguistic theory, resulted in serious concerns about the capacity of words to refer to the world, the stability of meaning, and the duplicitous power of words themselves. Dr Dawson shows that language so fixated all manner of early-modern authors because it was seen as an obstacle to both knowledge and society. She thereby uncovers a novel story about the problem of language in philosophy, and in the process reshapes our understanding of early-modern epistemology, morality and politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521852715
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 08/31/2006
Series: Ideas in Context Series , #76
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 378
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     x
Notes on the text     xii
Introduction     1
Language in the Trivium     11
Language in logic     13
Language in grammar     41
Language in rhetoric     64
Philosophical Developments of the Problem of Language     89
The relationships between language, mind and word     91
Semantic instability: a containable threat     129
Under cover of sensible and powerful words     154
Locke on Language     183
Words signify ideas alone     185
Semantic instability: an inherent imperfection     210
A life of their own     239
Locke in the face of language     277
Bibliography     305
Index     349

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