New Foundations (Natural Language as a Complex System, or New Foundations for Philosophical Semantics, Epistemology and Metaphysics, Based on the Process-Socio-Environmental Conception of Linguistic Meaning and Knowledge)

Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Science 9 (6):33–44 (2021)
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Abstract

In this article, I explore the consequences of two commonsensical premises in semantics and epistemology: (1) natural language is a complex system rooted in the communal life of human beings within a given environment; and (2) linguistic knowledge is essentially dependent on natural language. These premises lead me to emphasize the process-socio-environmental character of linguistic meaning and knowledge, from which I proceed to analyse a number of long-standing philosophical problems, attempting to throw new light upon them on these grounds. In particular, I criticize the use of expressions such as ‘absolute truth’, ‘absolute existence’ and ‘the thing in itself’, arguing that they lead to what I call ‘the ultralinguistic paradox’ (a fatal antinomy). In the same way, I review a number of mainstream topics in philosophical semantics, epistemology and metaphysics, reformulating them in terms much more naturalistic – and less mysterious – than usual.

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