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Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World$
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Kenneth L. Pearce

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790334.001.0001

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Berkeley’s Early Thoughts on Language

Berkeley’s Early Thoughts on Language

(p.31) 2 Berkeley’s Early Thoughts on Language
Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World

Kenneth L. Pearce

Oxford University Press

Berkeley’s rejection of meanings (intrinsically representational entities) requires a complete rethinking of the philosophy of mind and language. This chapter addresses Berkeley’s remarks on these subjects from the 1708 Manuscript Introduction to the 1721 essay De Motu. In these works, Berkeley analyzes several specific uses of language, including general words, operative language, and the technical discourses of math and science. In each case, Berkeley’s analysis proceeds by identifying the practical purposes at which the discourse aims and the conventional rules speakers follow in their use of words in order to attain those purposes. These considerations are designed to explain how words can be meaningful without having meanings.

Keywords:   philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, George Berkeley, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of science

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