Sense and insensibility: Or where minimalism meets contextualism

In G. Preyer (ed.), Context Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism. Oxford University Press 169--193 (2007)
In this paper we present some benefits of semantic minimalism. In particular, we stress how minimalism allows us to avoid cognitive overloading, in that it does not posit hidden indexicals or variables at the LF or representational level and it does not posit the operation of free enrichment processes when we produce or hear a sentence. We nonetheless argue that a fully adequate semantic minimalism should embrace a form of relativism—that is, the view that semantic content must be evaluated, pace Cappelen and Lepore, vis-à-vis a given situation, the latter being a fragment of a possible world or a partial world. In so doing we shall show how Cappelen and Lepore damage the insight of semantic minimalism insofar as they insist that the semantic content should be evaluated with respect to a whole possible world. This move fails to capture the powerful contextualist intuition that it does not make much sense to evaluate the content of, say, Naomi is rich, or Jon is tall, with respect to, for instance, the actual world.
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