A reconception of meaning

Synthese 95 (1):77 - 94 (1993)
Abstract
Nelson Goodman's proposal for a reconception of meaning consists in replacing the absolute notion ofsameness of meaning by that oflikeness of meaning (with respect to pertinent contexts). According to this view, synonymy is a matter of degree (of interreplaceability) with identity of expression as a limiting case. Goodman's demonstration that no two expressions are exactly alike in meaning is shown to be unsuccessful. Although it does not make use of quotational contexts for the test of interreplaceability, it is tantamount to their acceptance. Goodman rejects quotational contexts; I argue that they should be accepted. This move offers two advantages.Firstly, and mainly, it allows interlinguistic comparison of meaning, something that has not been deemed possible in the received version of Goodman's account.Secondly, it restores the full scale of likeness of meaning damaged by the renunciation of those contexts that guarantee difference in meaning for diverse expressions.
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