Contemporary Philosophy

At the beginning of the 20th Century, a paradigm-shift occurred in philosophy: instead of attempting to think about a potentially inaccessible reality directly, philosophers took what is called “The Linguistic Turn”, which—as its title suggests—was a turn towards our language about reality. Since our language was uncontroversially accessible, the chief question was: how might our language ‘hook onto’ reality? How does language come to be about reality—or anything, for that matter? That is, how does language become meaningful? In examining how language becomes meaningful, some philosophers of the Linguistic Turn concluded that both traditional philosophical questions and positions were literally meaningless, and philosophical problems were pseudo-problems—not really problems at all. Other philosophers did not take this approach: the question of how language hooks onto reality and becomes meaningful opened up new ways of exploring classic metaphysical, epistemological and even moral issues.