Summary and Info
I've spent this summer reading various philosophy of language compilations cover-to-cover. This one is only okay; the best, and I suppose this should probably be obvious in retrospect, compilations are the ones that contain classic papers, not "written-for" papers. Some contain a mixture. If you are buying lots of these, a problem is that you get N copies of some of the more classic articles, where N starts to become large. That's an advantage of a collection like this one; only one of its 25 papers is in a different one of my compilations. Another advantage is that the papers are all current and so have up-to-date bibliographies. I've also been reading a lot of books, many of which I was pointed to by articles in this volume. On the other hand, when it comes to interesting original philosophical content, its hard to catch lightning in a bottle, so what you get here is a mixed bag from that perspective. Most of the articles in this compilation look at some position some philosopher of language held and proceed to give a survey of the ensuing discussion as it unfolded in the literature. This is useful for an education, and it serves that purpose well for the most part. However, some of the topics are rather arcane. For example, you get one article on the "Sorites paradox"...you know, if zero hairs makes for baldness, and if the addition of a single hair can't make a bald man unbald, blah blah blah.... I assume these are there for completeness and were begrudgingly churned out by good-citizenly philosophers with better things to think about normally (this is what you call a "charitable reading"). But then some of the other articles are very good; although even the good ones are more or less surveys. The authors certainly may and do reject certain perspectives in favor of other ones, but for the most part they are explicating perspectives, not developing them, here. Probably that is completely fitting for a "Companion", though, and Companions just aren't my thing.