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2012

Speech and Rhetorical Studies

Critique of analytic philosophy

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The Truths Of Chenglish: Logical Imperfection, Natural Language, And Philosophical Disagreement, Gregory Brazeal Jan 2012

The Truths Of Chenglish: Logical Imperfection, Natural Language, And Philosophical Disagreement, Gregory Brazeal

Gregory Brazeal

Why is it that philosophy seems unable to obtain the kinds of agreement regularly achieved by mathematics and the natural sciences? The experimental philosophy movement emphasizes conflicting intuitions as a potential source of philosophical disagreement. This essay draws attention to another, complementary source: the logical imperfection of natural languages. Unlike logic as it is formalized in symbolic notation, the rules governing the correct use of terms in a natural language can be indeterminate, underdetermined, and inconsistent. Though most philosophers recognize the logical imperfection of natural languages in the abstract, everyday philosophical discussion is often conducted as though the argumentative moves ...