This page features a collection of the best resources on the philosophy of language. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on the philosophy of language. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about it.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want an academic overview of the philosophy of language:
- Read the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the Philosophy of language. However it’s quite long at around 10,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the philosophy of language:
“Those who use the term “philosophy of language” typically use it to refer to work within the field of Anglo-American analytical philosophy and its roots in German and Austrian philosophy of the early twentieth century. Many philosophers outside this tradition have views on the nature and use of language, and the border between “analytical” and “continental” philosophy is becoming more porous with time, but most who speak of this field are appealing to a specific set of traditions, canonical authors and methods. The article takes this more narrow focus in order to describe a tradition’s history, but readers should bear in mind this restriction of scope.
The history of the philosophy of language in the analytical tradition begins with advances in logic and with tensions within traditional accounts of the mind and its contents at the end of the nineteenth century. A revolution of sorts resulted from these developments, often known as the “Linguistic Turn” in philosophy. However, its early programs ran into serious difficulties by mid-twentieth century, and significant changes in direction came about as a result. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Rom Harré discuss the Linguistic Turn in Philosophy on the Philosophy Bites podcast [16 mins]
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on The Philosophy of Language.
For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.