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368 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY scientific study of meaning.' According to Chomsky, a theory of language is a theory about the syntactic structure of sentences. Further, in Syntactic Structures Chomsky acknowledges his debt to W. V. Quine, whom Hacking recognizes as the founder of the "no meaning" theory of language. If Chomsky has now adopted a theory of meaning in response to the pressures of the generative semanticists--and it is not clear whether he has or has not--he has moved from his original Quinean position that meaning is not relevant to language to the position that it is; he has traveled, so to say, back in time, from epoch C to epoch B. Following his study of Chomsky, Hacking turns to Russell as his second instance of a meaning-theorist. Yet Russell is no better than Chomsky in this regard, even though Russell always had one theory of "meaning" or another. What is wrong with using Russell in this way is that both parts of his theory of "meaning" have just those aspects that incline Hacking to disqualify seventeenth-century philosophers from having one. The first part of Russell's theory is that the meaning of general names, such as "red," is a concept--something which, though not private, is observable only to the mind's eye. The second part of his theory is that the meaning of proper names, such as "this," is a sense-datum--something which, though observable with the physical eye, is private (since people cannot share perspectives, they cannot share their sense-data). Ironically, Hacking admits that Russell's theory leads to the conclusion that "meaning is essentially private" (p. 76). And yet he is undaunted. He does not see that Russell cannot serve as a meaning-theorist, because, for Russell, the meanings of proper names are private entities, whereas, for Hacking they cannot be. Finally, Davidson certainly has a theory of meaning in Hacking's sense. The fact that he explicates meaning in terms of the truth-conditions of sentences does not falsify but rather confirms that claim. The fact that "Meaning will never be mentioned" in Davidson's theory and that "we [can] get along fine with sentences and their truth-conditions" (p. 179)is beside the point. I can talk about someone, say, Hacking, without ever mentioning his name; I can get along fine with references to the author of Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? and still believe in his existence. I might do this if someone found the use of the name "Hacking" unsuited, for some reason, to fix a reference. Hacking clearly sees his book as addressing an important issue. Had he succeeded we would have been greatly in his debt. In my opinion he has failed, and, I regret to say, has failed miserably. His Philosophical Thesis is preposterous and his Historical Thesis wrecked by his misinterpretations, in his preface, Hacking says his "approach was often more historical than the audience expected." In my view, it is not historical; or, at best, it is an example of how history of philosophy ought not be done. ALOYSIUSP. MARTINICH University of Texas, Austin New Directions in European Historiography. By George G. Iggers. With a Contribution by Norman Baker. (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1975. Pp. ix + 229. $16.00) In his earlier book on the German historical tradition,' Iggers took his readers up to and through a crisis in that tradition. He showed how the hermeneutic approach of the German Geisteswissenschaften led to an emphasis upon the conscious actions of selected ("great") 4 In "Deep Structure, Surface Structure, and Semantic Interpretation," Chomsky says, "In the domain of semantics there are, needless to say, problems of fact and principle that have barely beenapproached , and there is no reasonably concrete or well-defined 'theory of semantic representation' to which one can refer" (Semantics, ed. Danny D. Steinberg and Leon A. Jakobovits [Cambridge: At the University Press, 1971], p. 183). BOOK REVIEWS 369 individuals, and thus to certain traditional types of political and intellectual history. This methodological bent was supported, on the theoretical level, by a Romantic notion of individualityand by Idealist theories of culture. It was also nourished, at a practical...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 368-369
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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