Recommend to your Librarian

Key Thinkers in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language

Edited by Siobhan Chapman, Christopher Routledge


Key Thinkers in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language is a unique and accessible reference guide to the work of figures who have played an important role in the development of ideas about language. It includes eighty entries on individual thinkers in the Western tradition, ranging from antiquity to the present day, chosen because of their impact on the description or theory of language. Each entry explains the main ideas of the thinker, outlining their development and assessing their significance and influence. Brief biographical details place the subject in his or her cultural and historical context. No prior knowledge of either linguistics or philosophy is assumed; each entry concludes with suggestions for further reading of both primary texts and secondary sources, encouraging readers to find out more about the particular key thinker and the impact of his or her ideas. Thinkers included range from Plato and Aristotle, through Berkeley, Leibniz, Kant, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Austin, to Sacks, Kristeva, and Chomsky.

Key Features

  • The only single-volume reference resource to bring together linguistics and the philosophy of language
  • Entries are extensively cross-referenced, allowing readers to trace influences, developments and debates both in contemporary thinking and across time
  • Accessibly written for use at all levels, including undergraduate, postgraduate, academic and other general readers in the fields of linguistics and the philosophy of language.

About the Author

Siobhan Chapman is Senior Lecturer in English Language at the University of Liverpool. She has previously taught at the University of Newcastle and the University of Kent. Her publications include Philosophy for Linguists (2000), Paul Grice, Philosopher and Linguist (2005), Key Thinkers in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language (2005), Thinking about Language (2006) and Language and Empiricism, after the Vienna Circle (2008).

Christopher Routledge is a freelance writer and editor who has worked extensively in reference publishing. He has written and edited articles and books on American literature, history, and popular culture, crime fiction, children's literature, language and linguistics, and British history. He has also taught English and American literature and English language at several UK universities.


Due to the wide variety of disciplines represented and the encyclopaedic nature of the entries, the book will be of interest not only to students and scholars from many different backgrounds, but also to the general reader.
- Year's Work in English Studies
… the volume is of good quality, a valuable endeavour for bringing together linguistics and the philosophy of language. I find the volume very useful, quite easy to consult and use in teaching and research, especially valuable for under and postgraduates and I really believe that it filled a gap when this was really needed.
- Anca Gata, LINGUIST list