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Meaning

Edited by Steven Gross (Johns Hopkins University)
About this topic
Summary

Words and phrases have meaning. But what are meanings? Maybe they are the objects and properties that our words are about. But then ‘Mark Twain’ and ‘Samuel Clemens’ would have the same meaning, even though one and the same person can affirm the sentence ‘Mark Twain was a great writer’ but reject the sentence ‘Samuel Clemens was a great writer.’ And what makes it the case that some squiggles or sounds are meaningful? Perhaps it’s because of the mental states of language users, but then in virtue of what do those states have their meaning or content? Might the explanation run in the other direction, so that our mental states have content only because we are language users? Also, can our grasp of what words mean explain our basic logical and mathematical knowledge and otherwise underwrite a compelling conception of the a priori? Perhaps it’s because we know what ‘and’ means that we know that ‘A and B’ is true just in case ‘A’ is true and ‘B’ is true. This category subsumes work that ranges over these and other questions concerning meaning and its bearing on a variety of philosophical topics.

Key works

Frege 1892 and Russell 1905 are seminal works on meaning and reference. Kripke 1980 and Putnam 1975 argue, among other things, that semantic properties are determined by factors external to language users. Grice 1957 and Davidson 1973 explore the relation of language and thought. Quine 1951 rejects the idea of philosophically interesting truths in virtue of meaning and knowledge in virtue of knowledge of meaning.

Introductions Speaks 2010 provides a survey with references. Richard 2003 is a good collection of articles.
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Subcategories:
Intentionality* (6,839 | 1,161)
History/traditions: Meaning
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  1. B. W. A. (1972). Collected Papers. Review of Metaphysics 25 (3):567-568.
  2. Barbara Abbott (1998). Seiki Akama, Ed., Logic, Language and Computation Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 18 (5):313-314.
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  3. Barbara Abbott & Grover Hudson (1981). Making Sense. Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (3):437-451.
    This would have been a better book if Sampson had argued his main point, the usefulness of the Simonian principle as an explanation of the evolution, structure, and acquisition of language, on its own merits, instead of making it subsidiary to his attack on ‘limited-minders’ (e.g., Noam Chomsky). The energy he has spent on the attack he might then have been willing and able to employ in developing his argument at reasonable length and detail. He might then have found that (...)
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  4. C. Aberg (2001). Meaning of (F) the Text. Communicative Meaning of Sounds in Radio. Acta Philosophica Fennica 69:135-158.
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  5. Diana Ackerman (1980). Natural Kinds, Concepts, and Propositional Attitudes. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1):469-486.
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  6. Ernest W. Adams (1987). On the Meaning of the C0nditi0nal. Philosophical Topics 15 (1).
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  7. Fred Adams, Robert Stecker & Gary Fuller (1993). Schiffer on Modes of Presentation. Analysis 53 (1):30 - 34.
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  8. Admin (2013). Now Published: Vol. V, No. 36, October 2013 – Book Symposium on François Recanati’s Mental Files, Edited by Fiora Salis. [REVIEW] Disputatio.
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  9. C. Alarcón Cabrera (1994). Semantic Validity and Normative Syllogism. Rechtstheorie 25 (4):473-484.
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  10. Syed S. Ali & Stuart C. Shapiro (1993). Natural Language Processing Using a Propositional Semantic Network with Structured Variables. Minds and Machines 3 (4):421-451.
    We describe a knowledge representation and inference formalism, based on an intensional propositional semantic network, in which variables are structures terms consisting of quantifier, type, and other information. This has three important consequences for natural language processing. First, this leads to an extended, more natural formalism whose use and representations are consistent with the use of variables in natural language in two ways: the structure of representations mirrors the structure of the language and allows re-use phenomena such as pronouns and (...)
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  11. Keith Allan (1986). Linguistic Meaning. Routledge & Kegan Paul.
    Chapter Beginning an account of linguistic meaning: speaker, hearer, context, and utterance Pity the poor analyst, who has to do the best he can with ...
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  12. Jens Allwood (2003). Meaning Potentials and Context: Some Consequences for the Analysis of Variation in Meaning. In H. Cuyckens, René Dirven & John R. Taylor (eds.), Cognitive Approaches to Lexical Semantics. Mouton de Gruyter. 23--29.
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  13. Joseph Almog (1981). Dthis and Dthat: Indexicality Goes Beyond That. Philosophical Studies 39 (4):347 - 381.
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  14. Joseph Almog & Paolo Leonardi (eds.) (2011). Having In Mind: The Philosophy of Keith Donnellan. Oxford, but (c) David Kaplan.
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  15. Brenda Almond (1999). What's the Meaning of All This? Philosophy Now 24:20-21.
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  16. William P. Alston (1974). Semantic Rules. In Peter K. Unger & Milton K. Munitz (eds.), Semantics and Philosophy. New York University Press. 17--48.
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  17. William P. Alston (1967). Meaning. In Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York, Macmillan. 5--233.
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  18. Andrew Altman & Michael Bradie (1980). Meaning, Truth and Evidence. Southern Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):113-122.
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  19. C. Anthony Anderson (2009). David Kaplan: Formal Aspects of His Work. In Joseph Almog & Paolo Leonardi (eds.), The Philosophy of David Kaplan. Oxford University Press. 11.
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  20. Stephen Anderson (2012). The Meaning of 'Meaning'. Philosophy Now 88:30-33.
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  21. W. Anderson (1923). The Meaning of Philosophy (II.). Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1 (4):241 – 247.
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  22. Marie-Louise Andersson (1992). The Meaning of Work and Job. International Journal of Value-Based Management 5 (1):89-106.
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  23. Emil Angehrn, Brigitte Hilmer, Georg Lohmann & Tilo Wesche (eds.) (2006). Anfang Und Grenzen des Sinns: Für Emil Angehrn. Velbrück Wissenschaft.
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  24. G. E. M. Anscombe & J. Teichman (1979). The Meaning of Illegitimacy. Philosophical Quarterly 29 (117):375.
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  25. Toshifumi Araiso (2009). Reference and Introduction. Kagaku Tetsugaku 42 (1):65-81.
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  26. Javier Vilanova Arias (2004). Necesidad lógica y necesidad analítica. ¿Sobre qué versa el lenguaje? Revista de Filosofía (Madrid) 29 (1):123-142.
    El propósito de este artículo es mostrar las diferencia entre las verdades lógicas y el resto de verdades analíticas, y en especial mostrar los distintos tratamientos formales.
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  27. Chrudzimski Arkadiusz (1999). Are Meanings in the Head? Ingarden’s Theory of Meaning. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 30 (3):306-326.
    The title question should be construed as an epistemological and not ontological one. Omitting the difficult problems of the ontology of intentionality we will ask, if all, what is needed to explain the phenomenon of meaningful use of words, could be found “in our private head” interpreted as a sphere of specific privileged access, the sphere that is in the relevant epistemological sense subjective, private or non public. There are many “mentalistic” theories of meaning that force us to the answer: (...)
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  28. Richard B. Arnaud (1976). Sentence, Utterance, and Samesayer. Noûs 10 (3):283-304.
  29. Frank Arntzenius (1991). State-Spaces and Meaning Relations Among Predicates. Topoi 10 (1):35-42.
    It has often been suggested that the meaning of terms is theory dependent. Bas van Fraassen has proposed a particular way of inferring which sentences are true in virtue of meaning, given a theory in so-called state-space format. I examine his claims by means of simple examples.
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  30. A. Arrieta (2000). " Understanding Truth", de Scott Soames. Teorema: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 19 (3):227-231.
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  31. Nicholas Asher & Daniel Bonevac (1987). Determiners and Resource Situations. Linguistics and Philosophy 10 (4):567 - 596.
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  32. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (1998). Questions in Dialogue. Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (3):237-309.
    In this paper we explore how compositional semantics, discourse structure, and the cognitive states of participants all contribute to pragmatic constraints on answers to questions in dialogue. We synthesise formal semantic theories on questions and answers with techniques for discourse interpretation familiar from computational linguistics, and show how this provides richer constraints on responses in dialogue than either component can achieve alone.
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  33. E. J. Ashworth (1985). Studies in Post-Medieval Semantics. Variorum Reprints.
    "For riding is required a horse"--"I promise you a horse"--Chimeras and imaginary objects--Theories of the proposition--The structure of mental language--Mental language and the unity of propositions--"Do words signify ideas or things?"--Locke on language--The doctrine of exponibilia in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries--Multiple quantification and the use of special quantifiers in early sixteenth century logic--Thomas Bricot(d. 1516) and the Liar paradox--Will Socrates cross the bridge?
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  34. Ė Atai͡an & A. S. Abrahamyan (eds.) (2011). Nshan, Hamakarg, Haghordaktsʻum: Hodvatsneri Zhoghovatsu Nvirvats Ēdvard Atʻayani Hishatakin. Eph Hratarakchʻutʻyun.
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  35. Jay David Atlas (1988). What Are Negative Existence Statements About? Linguistics and Philosophy 11 (4):373 - 394.
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  36. Jay David Atlas (1980). Reference, Meaning and Translation. Philosophical Books 21 (3):129-140.
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  37. Michael Austin (1995). Art and Religion as Metaphor. British Journal of Aesthetics 35 (2):145-153.
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  38. Harry C. Avery (1990). A Meaning of ΠΡΕΣΒΕΥΕΣΘΑΙ. Classical Quarterly 40 (02):545-.
    LSJ s.v. πρεσβεω II.3.b recorded, on the strength of Thuc. 5.39.2, the meaning ‘go as ambassador’ for the middle voice, in addition to the well-attested ‘send ambassadors’. The passage, however, does not on inspection support the meaning ; it was deleted from the Supplement to LSJ.
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  39. Hc Avery (1990). A Meaning of Presbeuesthai+ an Attestation for the Meaning to Go as an Ambassador. Classical Quarterly 40 (2):545-546.
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  40. Anita Avramides (1989). Meaning and Mind an Examination of a Gricean Account of Language. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  41. D. P. B. (1963). Collected Papers. Review of Metaphysics 17 (1):151-151.
  42. G. B. (1958). The Field Theory of Meaning. Review of Metaphysics 12 (1):150-151.
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  43. L. K. B. (1956). Lógica Matemática. Review of Metaphysics 10 (1):180-180.
  44. R. B. (1956). Postulates and Implications. Review of Metaphysics 9 (4):702-702.
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  45. Emmon Bach (1983). A Framework for Syntax and Semantics. In Alex Orenstein & Rafael Stern (eds.), Developments in Semantics. Haven. 2--166.
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  46. Emmon Bach & Robin Cooper (1978). The NP-S Analysis of Relative Clauses and Compositional Semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 2 (1):145 - 150.
    We have sketched how it is possible to give an analysis for adjoined relative clauses which is consistent with the compositionality principle and have shown that the technique which seems necessary for this analysis can be used to provide a compositional semantics for the NP-S analysis of English relative clauses.It is unlikely that anyone working within the framework of a compositional theory would choose the NP-S analysis for English, since it is clearly much less elegant and simple, in some intuitive (...)
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  47. Kent Bach (2007). Review of Francois Recanati, Literal Meaning. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):487–492.
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  48. Kent Bach (1994). Semantic Slack: What is Said and More. In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), Foundations of Speech Act Theory: Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives. Routledge. 267--291.
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  49. Kent Bach (1982). Semantic Nonspecificity and Mixed Quantifiers. Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (4):593 - 605.
  50. Maria Baghramian & Andrew Jorgensen (2013). 'Quine, Kripke, Putnam: Meaning, Necessity and Intuitions'. In Michael Beaney (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 594-620.
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