The philosophy of language has been much in vogue throughout the twentieth century, but only since the 1960s have the issues begun to appear in high resolution. This book is an introduction to those issues and to a variety of linguistic mechanisms. Part I explores several theories of how proper names, descriptions, and other terms bear a referential relation to nonlinguistic things. It is argued that there is a puzzle, nearly a paradox, regarding the reference of proper names. Part II surveys seven theories of meaning more generally: the Ideational Theory, the Proposition Theory, a Wittgensteinian “Use” Theory, the Verification Theory, and two versions of the Truth-Condition Theory and shows their advantages and disadvantages. Part III concerns linguistic pragmatics and Part IV examines four linguistic theories of metaphor.
William G. Lycan is a leading philosopher of language and mind. He is Jr. Professor at the University of North Carolina. His published works include over 100 articles as well as six books, among them Logical Form in Natural Language (1984), Consciousness (1987), Judgement and Justification (1988), Modality and Meaning (1994), and Consciousness and Experience (1998).