When asked to contribute to this lecture series, my first thought was to talk about philosophy of biology, a new and increasingly influential field in philosophy, surely destined to have great impact in the coming years. But when a preliminary schedule for the series was circulated, I noticed that no one was speaking on language. Given the hegemony of philosophy of language at mid-century, after ‘the linguistic turn’, this seemed to require comment. How did philosophy of language achieve such status at mid-century, and why is it losing it now? Has the Anglo-American tradition really begun to put the philosophy of language in better perspective? I hope so. Indeed, I will end with suggestions for how to keep it more securely in its proper place.
Professor of Philosophy, University of Connecticut.