Exploring further the key themes of linguistics and logic Exploring further the key themes of linguistics and logic

The focus of this theme is on the philosophy of language, logic and early analytic philosophy with researchers interlinking with other themes explored here, including Wittgensteinian Philosophy. Researchers' work in this area includes:

  • The syntax-semantics interface
  • Experimental philosophy of language
  • The relation of logic to natural language
  • Automatic inference
  • The unity of the proposition problem
  • Early analytical philosophy (Russell, Frege, Wittgenstein)

We welcome applications from Postgraduate students wishing to work on any of these topics. Please contact John Collins if you wish to pursue doctoral research with us. The school has successfully supervised PhD candidates across a broad area of topics in the philosophy of language. Recent PhDs include Simon Summers (Lexical Meaning and Propositional Representation, 2012), Alun Davies (Contextualism and the Syntax-Semantics Interface, 2014), and Andrei Nasta (Economy Principles in Linguistics, 2014). Recent events in this area include the international conference Logic, Grammar, and Meaning, 7-9 June 2014.

Academic members working in this area

Prof John Collins principally works in the philosophy of language, with reference to contemporary linguistics and early analytical philosophy. He is also interested in the concepts of truth, logical form, and the cognitive basis of language, especially the notions of innateness, representation, and computation. (See Academia.edu page)

Key Publications  
Collins, John 2015. 'Genericity as a Unitary Psychological Phenomenon: An Argument from Linguistic Diversity'. Ratio, 28: 369-394.  
Collins, John 2014. 'The Nature of Linguistic Variables’. Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy On-Line:1-24.  
Collins, John 2014. ‘Cutting It (Too) Fine’. Philosophical Studies, 163: 143-172.  

Dr Oskari Kuusela is particularly interested in his research to uncover and spell out certain alternative lines of development and sidetracked ways of thinking about logic with special reference to Wittgenstein's early and late philosophy. From this angle disputes between different strands of analytic philosophy (logical positivism and its heirs and ordinary language philosophy) can be seen in a new light, and unresolved issues addressed in fruitful ways (see also Academia.edu page).

Key publications  
Kuusela, Oskari 2015. 'The Method of Language-games as a method of Logic'. Philosophical Topics, forthcoming.  
Kuusela, Oskari 2012. 'Carnap and the Tractatus' Philosophy of Logic'. Journal for the History of Analytic Philosophy, 3:1-26.  

Dr Eugen Fischer Dr Eugen Fischer works on metaphor, default meanings, and their roles in automatic cognition and philosophical reasoning. He has used findings from cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics to explain and assess philosophical intuitions that engender classical problems about the mind and perception. The results give fresh, empirical content to ideas about how some philosophical problems can be 'dissolved' by  exposing 'concealed motives'  for raising them, which had been first mooted by Wittgenstein and J.L. Austin (see also Academia.edu page).

Key publications  
Fischer, Eugen, 2013.' Verbal Fallacies and Philosophical Intuitions', in: Brian Garvey (ed.): Austin on Language, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  
Fischer, Eugen, 2013. Philosophical Intuitions, Heuristics, and Metaphors, Synthese 191:569-606.