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Mind, Language and Society: Philosophy in the Real World

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  249 ratings  ·  14 reviews
An introduction to the major questions of philosophy by one of AmericaOCOs greatest and best-known philosophers. A practical guide to philosophical theory and how it applies to your life."
ebook, 192 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published December 15th 1998)
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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in September 2001.

In this book, John Searle sets out a defence of what he calls the "default" positions in philosophy, the assumptions that are likely to be made by someone who has never encountered the sort of speculation that philosophers indulge in (such as the existence of the real world). He ignores the term "naive realism", probably because it would psychologically undermine his arguments before he starts, but that is basically what the default assumpti
Searle is a bit of a god - I think he is the guy who came up with the Chinese Room. Anyway, he is direct, to the point and deals with very complex concepts of philosophy in a clear and relatively easy style. The Hume of the 20th century, perhaps. With chapters called How Language Works, or How the Mind Works - well, how could that not be interesting?
Mostly good, although, thinking back (and I kind of thought this going into the account [although Searle somehow charmed me out of it]), his dismissal of Idealism is pretty shit, and his account of reality as being beholden to this lame of-course-this-is-how-it-is is certainly productive but it could be mistaken and it is certainly impoverished. {On second thought, it is in the spirit of good old Empiricism (Locke, Hume,}, and adds to Searle's own assertion of adding to an Enlightenment ...more
Clearly written. Tackles the big issues that flit across the mind now and then (mostly then)--how do the acoustic blasts from the hole in my face acquire intelligible meaning? Searle is good on readability, taking pains to conjure up clear, thought-provoking illustrations for the more counterintuitive ideas he raises.
مؤيد المزين
I read it in Arabic edition ..
It's worth reading ..
Joshua Stein
Most of my experience with Searle is in the form of his work in academic journals, so I have some experience with his views (especially on language and consciousness) so much of this book was not particularly new to me. What was new, though, was seeing how all of the elements of Searle's philosophical outlook fit together.

For those unfamiliar with John Searle (and those looking to get into late 20th, early 21st century philosophy) I strongly recommend this book. Searle is the most clear I have e
Mark Haag
Searle was apparently an olympic caliber downhill skier, the first Berkeley professor to join the Free Speech movement in the 60's, and the creator of the famous and frequently cited Chinese Room argument. Listen to his UTunes lectures, and you notice he is still going strong, and I recommend his courses on philosophy of the mind and philosophy of language. His philosophy can be seen as an attempt at correcting the mind-body dualism inherited from Descartes, and, he feels, replicated by versions ...more
John Christmann
Fantastic exposition of speech-act theory & Searle's "Biological Naturalism" as an approach to the philosophy of mind (and more specifically, the mind-body problem). Searle believes that the monist/dualist category is a large catalyst for the mind-body problem. Instead of accepting the categories, Searle rejects them and claims that consciousness is a biological phenomenon caused by the brain. Not only is consciousness a biological phenomenon, but Searle goes further to claim that it is also ...more
''But sentences are tools to talk with. So even though language constrains speaker meaning, speaker meaning is still the primary form of linguistic meaning, because the linguistic meaning of sentences functions to enable speakers of the language to use sentences to mean something in utterances. The speaker's utterance meaning is the primary notion of meaning for our purposes in analyzing the functions of language.''
Very interesting stuff. He lays out his theory of mind and intentionality, followed by how that affects his conception of how language works and how society organized itself. Definitely have to pay attention, though.
Gary Pauley
Nov 09, 2010 Gary Pauley is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Searle is always worth a hearing. I can tell I will not necessarily agree totally with him, but his review of postmodern skepticism is a value by itself. I'm like halfway through.
Not a masterpiece, but very thought-provoking. I had to keep putting this down to stare out the window for a while.
Mikael Lind
This book gives a good introduction to Searle's contribution to philosophy.
A very good Introduction.
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John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932 in Denver, Colorado) is an American philosopher and the Slusser Professor of Philosophy and Mills Professor of Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and social philosophy, he was the first tenured professor to join the Free S ...more
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