Thought & Language

4 April 2015
Philosophical analysis of relationship between words and ideas. Major thinkers & theories, examples, knowledge, signs & signifiers, deconsructionism, nature of mind.

Language and Thought
In Alfred North Whitehead’s phrase, the whole of the European philosophical tradition is but a series of footnotes to Plato. It is no surprise, then, that one can find the seeds of the discourse regarding the relationship of thought to language in Plato’s works. One can find countless examples in the Socratic dialogues in which Socrates initiates discussion of a philosophical concept by asking first about the meaning of the concept itself. The question What do we mean by justice? is the initial attempt to distinguish words from the ideas behind them, and the process of philosophical inquiry is a rhetorical exercise. Therefore, the nature of the relationship of word to thought must first be understood as a relationship of word to other words.

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