The Controversy Over Designata

  • Tadeusz Kotarbinski
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 119)


Language is a common object of research for both linguists and logicians, but linguists qua linguists and logicians qua logicians are interested in different things. The vocabulary and expressions of a given language, its structure, the factual connections between its elements and forms and its meanings, its history and developmental trends, as well as the differences and similarities between the various languages, the genetic relationships between them, and everything that characterizes human speech as a unique fact in human history — these are the considerations which linguistics takes into account in studying the shaping of languages during the long process whereby culture is formed. In the field of logic, however, language is interesting only as a more or less suitable instrument for a pertinent and possibly definitive formulation of judgements and their substantiations. This difference in basic interests has led to differences in mental habits and conceptual apparatus. Linguistics has given rise to the development of the concepts of vowel and consonant, declension, suffix, parts of speech, and later also phoneme and morpheme, etc., while to logic we owe the concepts of material supposition, connotation, semantic category, functor, metalanguage, etc. It is high time to establish closer contacts, so that every modern linguist will be thoroughly acquainted with what logicians have arrived at in the course of their reflections as to the conditions of logically correct speech, and that every modern logician should be able to use concepts developed by linguistic researchers, who describe existing languages as they really are and likewise are concerned with correctness of speech, but correctness of a different kind. For a linguist who specializes in, say, English linguistics, is competent to provide information as to how we should, and how we should not, speak if we want to speak standard English.


Intentional Object Basic Interest Human Speech Linguistic Unit Modern Logician 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© PWN — Polish Scientific Publishers — Warszawa 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tadeusz Kotarbinski

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