Linguistics and Philosophy: An Essay on the Philosophical Constants of Language
229 pages
English

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The dual purpose of this volume—to provide a distinctively philosophical introduction to logic, as well as a logic-oriented approach to philosophy—makes it a unique and worthwhile primary text for logic or philosophy courses.

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Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 1988
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268160555
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 9 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1600€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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Linguistics and Philosophy
AN EssA ON THE
PHILOSOPHICAL CONSTANTS OF LANGUAGE
ETIENNE GILSON
Trnslated by Jhn Lyon LINGUISTICS AND PHILOSOPHY Linguistics and Philosophy
AN EssA ON THE
PHILOSOPHICAL CONSTANTS OF LANGUAGE
ETIENNE GILSON
Trnslated by Jhn Lyon
University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556 University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
All Rights Reserved
Published in the United States of America
Originally published in 1969 as
Linguistique et Philosophie: Essai sur les
constantes philosophiques du langage
by Librairie Philosophique J. Vin
Copyright © 1988 by University of Notre Dame
Librry of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Gilson, Etienne, 1884-1978.
Linguistics and philosophy.
Translation of: Linguistique et philosophie.
Bibliography: p.
Includes index.
1. Languages-Philosophy. 2. Semantics (Philosophy)
I. Ti tle.
Pl06.G4513 1987 401 87-40348
ISBN 978-0-268-01284-7 (hardback)
ISBN 978-0-268-0-16053-1 (paper) Eery thought sets in action a throw of the dice.
- Stephane MallarmeContents
TANSLATOR'S FOREWORD ix INTRO DUCTION Xl
PREFACE xvii
1. 1 TE MYTH OF THE DECOMPOSITION OF TOUG HT
2. WoRD AND MEANING 25
3. LANGUAGE AS A HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT 44
4. TE WORD AND THE CONCEPT 63
80 5. ON THE CUSTOMS OF LANGUAGE
The Loneliness of Fantasia 80
Ideas in Search of Wrds and Vice Vrsa 87
A Worthy Project 92
A Throw of the Dice 99
Language Game 105
6. TE SPOKEN WORD AND THE WRITTEN WORD 112
132 7. TE SEVENTH LETTER
147 8. To DIGRESSIONS
Form and Meaning 147
In the Margin of a Dictionary 159
173 NOTES
203 SUBJECT INDEX
207 NAME INDEX
vii Translator's Foreword
The greatest joy involved in preparing this translation, outside of that
of dealing with a mind as acute and as subtle as that of M. Gilson, is that
reserved for last, namely, the opportunity I have here of thanking those
to whom I owe so very much in connection with this work.
In the first place I must mention Russell and Annette Kirk, to whom
this volume is dedicated. Indeed, without them this translation would not
have been possible. They not only assisted me in securing a grant from
the Wilbur Foundation (to which I owe separate acknowledgment and
thanks, here formally but sincerely given) but personally shepherded me
as one of their erstwhile wayward flock during a period in which my soul
was contorted as a result of trying to adjust incommensurable entities to
each other, a period in my life characterized by "continental discontinui­
ties." Their deep concern and almost daily expression of it is most appre­
ciated and will not be forgotten.
I have found my friend and former colleague, Dr. Bernard Doering,
of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University
of Notre Dame, ever ready to assist me when I needed him. Much more
knowledgeable of the French language than I, he has had the patience re­
quisite to tolerate the folly of my sophomoric and quite amateur transla­
tory efforts. For the hours of his time which !hav forced him to displace
into journeyman's work in the language of which he is a master, I am both
deeply grateful and sincerely apologetic. His continued friendship is one
of the pillars of my being.
I should thank at this point Mrs. Joyce Parrish, formerly my secre­
tary in Whitney Yung College at Kntucky State University, who took
my initial typescript and keyed it onto a word processor. She dealt with
the chore stoically over the several months required to produce the hand­
some copy she returned to me. Again, I am in debt to the patient, me­
thodical, and consistent work of John Ehmann at the University of Notre
Dame Press for seeing this volume through to publication.
To Father Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B., I owe the suggestion that this
ix 1
X TANSLATOR S FOREWORD
work be translated. His influence and inspiration are deeply felt and ap­
preciated.
Either nature or convention has predisposed me to matutinal habits,
and age has sharpely shaped the curve of my energy disposal, so that I
have nothing significant to say, and think only in platitudes, after about
three oclock in the afternoon. This translation has consequently been ac­
complished only in part thanks to the generosity of numerous restaura­
teurs who have allowed me to occupy sometimes expensive space for hours
in the mornings while consuming nothing more than innumerable cups
of tea and latterly, as pressures have increased, coffee. The beverages were
always hot, if not of exquisite quality, and the company was generally pleas­
ant. (I am convinced that intellectual work should be done in the presence
of others of one's species who are, preferably, eating and conversing, or
otherwise pleasantly disposed; such work suffers greatly, I fear, when com­
posed in monastic isolation.) Only the "Muzak" offended, that wallpaper
for the ear, and it not always.
In addition, necessity has made me peripatetic in these last years, as
the location of those institutions I wish to thank here will suggest. T the
following providers of modest comestibles and libations, then, my thanks
and respect: "The Rustic Inn," Castle Danger, Minnesota; "Grandma
Lloyd's," in Stockton, Illinois; "Seymour's," in Mount Pleasant, Michigan;
"Simon's" in South Bend, Indiana; the two local restaurants in Mecosta,
Michigan; "Wndy's" on Rte. #127 in Frankfort, Kentucky; "The Ander­
son House," in Wbasha, Minnesota; "Randall's," in Winona, Minnesota;
"The Edgewood Inn," in Howard's Grove, Wisconsin; Stoeckigt's Family
Restaurant, in Cleveland, Wisconsin.
I have often wanted to dedicate a work explicitly to my children, al­
though in a sense all my productions have been due to them. Quite really,
this volume has depended for its completion on their constant support and
understanding over the past few years. Perhaps "the next one" will be ex­
plicitly theirs. Let me at least pause here to recognize their loyalty, cour­
age, and self-possession, and to thank them publicly for their maturity
and balance.
The ghosts of so many others crowd about my typewriter now de­
manding recognition. To this perforce nameless throng all I can do is apolo­
gize, and hope that, given enough more years, I may show myself not to
be utterly unresponsive to that which they justly deserve.
John Lon
Lakeland College
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
April 10, 1987 Tanslator's Introduction
Te reader of these pages should be immediately forewarned that the
translator is neither a linguist nor a linguisticist, and that only by a most
generous stretching of the imagination could he be considered a philoso­
pher. Gilson, by profession a philosopher, makes no pretension to specific
linguistic competence, calling himself "a simple layman in such matters."
I, then, must confess to being a layman twice removed from the profes­
sional competence directly relevant to the matter at hand.
With all an amateur's awkwardness, then, let me try to specify most
briefly how I have chosen to translate two pairs of words and one triplet
which are of central importance in this work, and to mention some of the
confusion that surrounds their meaning. The French terms are: l)signe/
symbole; 2) signifie/signifiant, -ante; 3) langage!langue!parole.
The necessity of saying something about the French use of signe and
symbole, and comparing that use to English practice, arises in the first
chapter of the present work, particularly in connection with Gilson's
analysis of the human ability to symbolize and the relation of this ability
to endowing signs with meaning, to "signifying," to creating signification.
This analysis culminates at about page 40 of this chapter, in particular
in connection with a passage from Ferdinand de Saussure's Cour de lin­
guistique generale cited by Gilson in note 20.
Despite the close English cognates of these words, translating them
is far from a simple task. So far as the first pair (signe!ymbole) is con­
cerned, both the French and the English languages seem to be striving,
albeit somewhat inchoately, to allocate meaning to one or the other on
the basis of whether the thing re-presented and the (verbal) representation
are associated by natural or conventional ties. If I understand the brief
disquisitions on the Indo-European roots of "sign" and "symbol" in the
American Heritage Dictionary (1979: see sekw- and gwel-), this striving
has been going on for some time in our family of languages. One suspects,
however, that it is a chimerical attempt in languages as derivative and con­
glomerate as French and English.
XI 1
Xll TRANSLATOR S INTRODUCTION
So far as the present work is concerned, the struggle to distinguish
or amalgamate meanings for the two words centers around some linguists'
desire to create a universal semiology, a semiology with no reference to
a semantology

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