Category Archives: Language

Final meeting for sem1, 2012: The functions of language and the plural of ‘octopus’

On June 22 we’re having our last meeting of the semester: Dr. Jonathan McKeown-Green from the philosophy dept. will be joining us to give a talk called The functions of language and the plural of ‘octopus’ (link to Facebook event), at our usual time of 5 pm but in Case Room 2 instead of Case Room 1 (Owen G. Glenn building ground floor). This is the first time we’ll explore the philosophy of language.  Here is a shortened abstract for the talk:

“Correctors of essays and letter-writers in newspapers complain about mislaid or misplaced prepositions, clumsy sentences, infelicitous pluralisations and sometimes even split infinitives. Descriptive linguists don’t care. They rely on the testimony of individual speakers when they hypothesise about grammars for particular languages, but they do not assume that there are community standards that these grammars should track. Sociolinguists are more generous, noting that the language one uses reveals much about one’s social status, but even they are not interested in the idea that some constructions are better than others. I want to see whether this idea has anything going for it.”

McKeown-Green’s current research interests include philosophy of language, logic, philosophical logic and philosophy of music. He gave a talk last year on logic, part 1 (of 2) of which can be found below. Recently we’ve uploaded a lot of past videos, so check out our YouTube channel for some videos from late last year and most of this semester’s meetings. We’ll do our best to record this one too and have it online before too long.