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Meaning and Saying has five chapters that address philosophical problems about language and knowledge, and one essay (chapter 6: "Postscript") that provides insights into some of Frank Ebersoles basic ideas about philosophy. The five essays let you participate in his unique struggles to come to terms with such questions as:
Is the meaning of a word central to the philosophy of language?
Is the meaning of a word the part the word plays in speech acts?
How does the action of making sounds fit into speech?
Are conditions for knowing something the same as conditions required for saying one knows something?
Should philosophers still be doing conceptual analysis?
Can G. E. Moore really refute the philosophical skeptic by displaying his hand and saying "I know this is my hand"?
This and its companion volume, Language and Perception, are not just other philosophy books about the philosophy of language. In both books Ebersole, by carefully using examples, convincingly shows that the problems are products of philosophical pictures. The examples also make the pictures less compelling.
How the Second Edition Differs from the First Edition
This edition differs from the first edition (University Press of America, 1979) in several ways.
Two more essays are included:
"Saying and Meaning" (chapter 4) is a revised version of an essay originally published in Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophy and Language, eds. Alice Ambrose and Morris Lazerowitz (George Allen and Unwin, London and Humanities Press, New York, 1972), pp. 186221.
"Saying What You Know" (chapter 5) was first read as a paper in Coos Bay, Oregon on May 26, 1996 at the conference, "Where the Action Is." A modified version of the paper was then published in Philosophical Investigations, vol. 23, no. 3, July 2000. Now it has been expanded and revised.
Material that was formerly part of the preface is now revised and placed as chapter 6 at the end, entitled Postscript.
The text is improved. Throughout the book, Ebersole has made corrections, stylistic improvements, and changed wording to remove ambiguities.
Language and logic provide philosophers with a dual problem: (1) How is language connected to the world and (2) how can philosophers use language and logic with care so as not to contaminate their own thinking? Speech acts and the use of sentences are thought to be better ways for philosophers to understand language and logic. But do they do the job?
In the early 1920s philosophers argued that philosophy should be philosophy of language; but this was just old wine in new bottles; then the Wittgensteinian revolution occurred, which identified meaning as the use of words and thereafter identified the meaning of a word with the use of a word. The book addresses some problems with this revolution.
Chapter 1: Meaning and Use