Tautologies and contradictions in philosophy of language: Cognitive and grammatical aspects

Eka­te­ri­na V. Vostriko­va
Insti­tute of Phi­los­o­phy, Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences

Petr S. Kus­liy
Insti­tute of Phi­los­o­phy, Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences

Tau­tolo­gies and con­tra­dic­tions in phi­los­o­phy of lan­guage: Cog­ni­tive and gram­mat­i­cal aspects

Abstract. In this paper, we explore the cog­ni­tive and gram­mat­i­cal aspects of tau­tolo­gies and con­tra­dic­tions in con­tem­po­rary phi­los­o­phy of lan­guage and the­o­ret­i­cal lin­guis­tics. We dis­cuss Quine’s cri­tique of ana­lyt­ic­i­ty which leads to a view that only tau­tolo­gies and con­tra­dic­tions are inde­pen­dent of any empir­i­cal real­i­ty. We show how tau­tolo­gies and con­tra­dic­tions are prob­lem­at­ic and argue that nat­ur­al lan­guage treats them as gram­mat­i­cal only if there is a way to rein­ter­pret them in a non-tau­to­log­i­cal or non-con­tra­dic­to­ry man­ner. Tau­tolo­gies and con­tra­dic­tions that are such due to the mean­ing of the log­i­cal con­stants they con­tain (and not due to the mean­ing of con­tent terms), in nat­ur­al lan­guages can­not be exclud­ed as gram­mat­i­cal­ly incor­rect. We thus intro­duce a new per­spec­tive on tau­tol­ogy and con­tra­dic­tion that the read­er might not be famil­iar with and use it to argue that the gram­mars of nat­ur­al lan­guages are sen­si­tive to the cog­ni­tive sig­nif­i­cance of the expres­sions they gen­er­ate.

Key­words: tau­tolo­gies, con­tra­dic­tions, seman­tics, gram­mat­i­cal­i­ty, nat­ur­al lan­guage

DOI: 10.5840/dspl20192453


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