Communication: A Philosophical Study of Language

By Karl Britton | Go to book overview

PREFACE

For us all to-day, psychologists, logicians, philosophers, the problems of language are central. I have tried to sort these problems out, and to follow some of them to a conclusion. I begin by examining the mechanism of informative sentences, and then contrast it with the quite different mechanism of the necessary propositions of logic, and of scientific definitions. I take the view that these necessary propositions are rules of language: and I examine the rules of ethics and morality both to discover what are the various senses of the word 'rule', and to discover what we are doing when we use words to 'assess the value' of actions and other things. I conclude that rules are both informative and emotive, and proceed to examine in some detail the emotive use of words in its most developed form, that is in lyrical poetry. My results are summarized in a Conclusion; I hope they will help to display more clearly the mutual relevance of psychology and logic. I should call my inquiry a philosophical one, but it nowhere merits the title of 'metaphysical'. (While I make no metaphysical deductions I do not try to refute or expose those who do.) In writing the book I have made much use of the work of contemporaries, and in particular of the following:--

Bertrand Russell The Analysis of Mind.

C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards, The Meaning of Meaning.

I. A. Richards Principles of Literary Criticism.

C. I. Lewis and C. H. Langford, Symbolic Logic.

L. Wittgenstein Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

R. Carnap The Unity of Science.

L. S. Stebbing Logical Positivism and Analysis.

W. Empson Seven Types of Ambiguity.

John Wisdom in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supp. Vol. XIII.

-xv-

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