CSLI Publications logo
new books
knuth books
for authors
CSLI Publications
Facebook CSLI Publications RSS feed
CSLI Publications Newsletter Signup Button
Meaning, Creativity, and the Partial Inscrutability of the Human Mind, 2nd Edition cover

Meaning, Creativity, and the Partial Inscrutability of the Human Mind, 2nd Edition

Julius M. Moravcsik

This book criticizes current philosophy of language as having altered its focus without adjusting the needed conceptual tools. After the critique, a new conception is presented with new semantic tools. The first edition presented the part of the theory which introduced for formal predicates partial explanatory structures, filled in varieties of ways by context. It also presented the human mind as seeking primarily explanation and understanding, with information processing taking a second conceptual place.

In the second edition, a new theory is presented that replaces the formal semanticist's singular reference with the notion of identication that singles out elements for linguistic communities so that descriptive terms can be attached to the identification without existential import. Identification in our sense brings with it also leaving as much implicit in a communication as possible. Thus identifications are contextualized. Given the indeniteness of the contexts, an identificational use can be expanded to cover identifications in new uses.

Julius M. Moravcsik (1931–2009) was Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.

Praise for the First Edition of Meaning, Creativity and the Partial Inscrutability of the Human Mind
“[Moravcsik's] new book extends his earlier ideas in new directions, offering real insight into classical problems of conceptual analysis and natural language semantics. His work is not only refreshingly original, but also informed by a deep understanding of sources from classical Greek philosophy to the present.”
Noam Chomsky


  • Preface
  • Introduction Where Has the Philosophy of Language Gone Wrong?
  • Part I Why Natural Languages are Not and Should Not Be Represented as Formal Languages
    • 1 Natural Languages Cannot Be Formal Languages: The Lexicon
    • 2 Natural Languages Cannot Be Formal Languages: The Logical Structure
  • Part II The Lexicon, Explanations, and Productivity
    • 3 Lexical Meanings as Explanatory Schemes
    • 4 Key Issues in Theories of Language
  • Part III Explanation, the Productive Lexicon, and Limitations on Understanding Understanding
    • 5 Homo sapiens = Homo explanans
    • 6 Is the Human Mind Partially Inscrutable?
  • References
  • Index

September 26, 2016

ISBN (Paperback): 9781575864808 (1575864800)
ISBN (Electronic): 9781575864792 (1575864797)

Add to Cart
View Cart

Check Out

Distributed by the
University of
Chicago Press

pubs @ csli.stanford.edu