Lewis Powell to host Open House for Prospective Students

March 29 — Open House
Friday 3:30pm – 5:30pm, 141 Park Hall

“Locke, The Abuses of Language, and the Construction of Public Language” 
Abstract: According to John Locke, beyond the natural limitations of language, there are seven common avoidable faults in our use of language, which undermine its purpose in easily communicating our ideas with one another and transmitting knowledge. Since Locke’s view of language is very individualized and psychologized, there are concerns that it will not have the resources to arrive at an account of any sort of shared public language, and instead only be suited to account for individual idiolects. In this paper, I present Locke’s account of the abuses of language, and show how these different abuses undermine the purposes of language. I show how an individualized understanding of the languages we are speaking, combined with the purposes we have in speaking, give Locke the resources to arrive at a workable conception of public language. Learn more.