What's the difference between philosophy of language and semiotics?

Here is how I understand the difference between semiotics and philosophy of language. The former is a *doctrine* about the nature of meaning, roughly to the effect that the most important types of communication depend upon one or another form of code. This doctrine is applied (controversially, many would say) not just to natural language, but also to gestures, facial expressions, and even such things as how people dress or how cities are laid out. By contrast, the philosophy of language is an inquiry into the nature of such phenomena as meaning, truth, implication, and communication. It tries not to presuppose any answers to these question, but rather tries simply to find the best answer or answers available. In this way, while both semiotics and philosophy of language tend to study the same phenomena, the former comes to the project with certain preconceptions about how they are to be understood while the latter does not.

Is every type of happiness or pleasure explainable (possible to articulate through reason or logic)? Should I be distraught that I am unable to articulate clearly some of my pleasures? And does an unexplainable pleasure (if it exists) suffer from its unexplainable nature or flourish because of it?

Your question has a number of facets. First of all, many theorists of emotions see them as complex rather than as simple entities, comprising at the very least a physiological dimension, a set of dispositions to behavior (including such things as facial expression and verbal behavior) and a phenomenology--a way that the emotion feels from the inside. Now it is pretty widely agreed that while the physiological and behavioral dimensions of any emotion can be described verbally, many would deny that we can put their phenomenology into words. After all, how would you explain how elation feels to someone who knows nothing of it, such as Mr. Spock? Yet if the "how it feels from the inside" dimension of it can't be articulated in words, then it seems that you're being hard on yourself in being distraught about being unable to articulate some of your pleasures. Likewise, if I can't articulate how one of my emotions feels, it is hard to see how that detracts in any way from the emotion--pleasure or...

Why are philosophers these days so concerned with fleshing out possible rules for concepts (e.g., Crispin Wright's analysis of intentions)? Do they believe that people actually follow these rules? But how can that be if most (if not all) people can't even say what these rules are precisely? And wouldn't a more plausible answer be found in our being conditioned to behave in certain (imprecise) manners with certain words or phrases, much like, e.g., learning to use our legs to walk? If so, shouldn't this be more a matter of empirical investigation (on the level of science) than this sort of conceptual analysis?

Philosophers have been trying to articulate rules for unobvious things like intentions for quite a while. The more careful accounts don't suppose that those rules are ones that we self-consciously follow. Rather, those rules, insofar as we are supposed to follow them, as ones that we follow implicitly or unconsciously. By analogy, linguistics who work in the area known as syntax postulate quite complicated rules that most of us master by around age five. However, the linguists who suppose this don't have to say that this mastery is one that is conscious, or even could be made conscious if we tried. Similarly, a philosopher might postulate a complicated basis for our behavior without getting hung up on the extent to which that basis is something of which we are consciously aware. Most would say that proceeding in this way still gives us a much more precise handle on the phenomena than a conditioning or associatinist model. Finally, giving a conceptual analysis does not preclude empirical...