Language & Belief

Language adjusts to the world's view and structural aspects of language influence ways of looking at the world (27). In principle vague language can be made precise in more than one way, but in practice it cannot be fully precise in even one way, and in trying to do so its expression changes in meaning (29). Meanings in a place often are modified because perceptions and description of spatial relations change in that place. A place arises as a transformation of Nature through the use of material and speech forces (31, 4) Territoriality maintains a context through which the world acquires a meaning (26). Particular language of a place represents the existential experience of that place preserving part of the local geographic code (32). Places have some special vocabulary that might not be understood by some [many] people (31, 33).
In the 1950s scientific vocabulary could be divided into the observational and the theoretical. Observational terms drew their meaning from connections to expertise; theoretical terms drew their meaning from connections to observational terms. A finite number of particular experiences could not make clear the application of a term for all possible future experience (29). Following
Stalnakers idea, a person may be disposed in one kind of context, or with respect to one kind of action, to behave on ways that are correctly explained by one belief state, and at the same time may be disposed in another kind of context or with respect to another kind of action to behave in a way that would be explained by adifferent belief state (30).


    04   R. D. SACK. 1980. Conception of Space in Social Thought. Univ. of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
    26   R. D. SACK. 1986. Human Territoriality: Its Theory and History. CUP, London.
    27   D. LOWENTHAL. 1961. Geography, Experience, and Imagination: Towards a Geographical Epistemology. Ann. of the Ass. of Am. Geog. 51(3) 241-260.
    29   T. WILLIAMSON. 1994. Vagueness. Routledge, London.
    30   P. GARDENFORS. 1988. Knowledge in Flux. The MIT Press, Cambridge(USA).
    31   YI FU TUAN. 1991. Language and the Making of Place: A Narrative-Descriptive Approach,  Ann. of the Ass. of Am. Geog. 81(4) 684-696.
    32   R. D. K. HERMAN. 1999. The Aloha State: Place Names and the Anti-conquest of Hawai'i, Ann. of the Ass. of Am. Geog. 89(1) 76-102.
    33   C. TILLEY. 1994. A Phenomenology of Landscape, Places, Paths and Monuments. Berg, Oxford(USA).

Robert Stalnaker   

       UCI Department of Logic & Philosophy of Science|

       UCI Department of Philosophy


1. "Semantics for Belief." Philosophical Topics (1987), 15:177-190.

2. "Belief Attribution and Context." In Robert H. Grimm and Daniel D. Merrill, eds., Contents of Thought, pp. 156-181. Series: Arizona Colloquium in Cognition. Proceedings of the 1985 Oberlin Colloquium     in  Philosophy. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988.  Followed by comments by Hans Kamp, pp. 156-181.

3. "Letter to Brian Skyrms." In Ellery Eells, and Brian Skyrms. eds., Probability and Conditionals: Belief Revision and Rational Decision. Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction, and Decision Theory. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.   "Essays on Probability and Conditionals is intended to honor Professor Ernest W.  Adams."


Stalnaker: List of Publications

L. Wittgenstein, Tractatus 4.112.


     Introduction    (by Bertrand Russell)

The essential business of language is to assert or deny facts. Given the syntax of language, the meaning of a sentence is determined as soon as the meaning of the component words is known. In order that a certain sentence should assert a certain fact there must, however the language may be constructed, be something in common between the structure of the sentence and the structure of the fact. This is perhaps the most fundamental thesis of Mr Wittgenstein's theory. That which has to be in common between the sentence and the fact cannot, he contends, be itself in turn said in language. It can, in his phraseology, only be shown, not said, for whatever we may say will still need to have the same structure.

Mottoes [compiled by Baron Modar Neznanich]  

    Motto: a short expression of a guiding principle.

        Hundreds of mottoes in Latin. English and French

            Most mottoes are statements of faith or advice, which are serious in nature.
            Others are humorous thoughts to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously.

            Within the SCA, mottoes come in use in many ways.
            Physical exhibition of these are seen on standards and other forms of heraldic display.


The Placeless, Neighborless Realm: Language, Homescape, and Reinhabitation, by Tom Jay

    Tom Jay is a sculptor, poet, and writer who lives in Chimacum, Washington. He writes poems and essays about the bioregional implications of art and ideas of home and place. He also creates sculptures on these themes. This essay is part of a longer article, "Familiar Music: Reinhabiting Language," originally published in the 1995-96 volume of Connotations, the journal of the Island Institute, Sitka, Alaska, and is reprinted with permission. 1996, 2003 Tom Jay.


Interpretation under Ambiguity

    by Peter Norvig, University of California, Berkeley

This paper is concerned with the problem of semantic and pragmatic interpretation of sentences. We start with a standard strategy for interpretation, and show how problems relating to ambiguity can confound this strategy, leading us to a more complex strategy. We start with the simplest of strategies [...]




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