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Series: Central Problems of Philosophy
Author(s): David E. Cooper  
ISBN: 1902683765
ISBN-13: 9781902683768
Publication Date: 13/02/2003
Pages: 160 (198 x 129mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
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Meaning is one of our most central and most ubiquitous concepts. Anything at all may, in suitable contexts, have meaning ascribed to it. In this wide-ranging book, David Cooper departs from the usual focus on linguistic meaning to discuss how works of art, ceremony, social action, bodily gesture, and the purpose of life can all be meaningful. He argues that the notion of meaning is best approached by considering what we accept as explanations of meaning in everyday practice and shows that in these situations we are explaining the appropriate fit of an item – whether a word or an artwork – with something larger than or outside of itself.

This fuller account of meaning explores questions of the meaning of meaning and tackles issues such as whether meaning is just a misleading "folk" term for something more basic, whether there really is meaning at all, and whether we should strive for meaning or let our lives "just be" rather than mean. By taking the problem of meaning out of the technical philosophy of language and providing a more general account Cooper is able to offer new insights into the import, function, and status of meaning that will be of interest not only to philosophers of language but to students and philosophers working in areas such as epistemology and metaphysics.


"Forthright, lively and ambitious . . . a stimulating introduction to the topic of meaning that makes a persuasive case for taking this topic to be of central importance to philosophy, insofar as the phenomenon is central to life." – Ratio

"Cooper deftly provides a natural and friendly entry into a formidable topic and shows how a general sense of settling meaning 'in life' affects important quarrels about linguistic meaning. This well written, sprightly, and engaging book will make an excellent text in the theory of language. His treatment of the issues is as trim and as telling as any I have seen and his arguments will also be of considerable interest both to the general reder and advanced readers." – Joseph Margolis, Temple University

David E. Cooper is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Durham.

1. Preliminaries
2. The reach of meaning
3. Language
4. Knowledge, meaning and world
5. Meaning, society and the human sciences
6. Meaning and the arts
7. The meaning of life

Also available in Hardback (1902683757), priced 50.00

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