David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Axiomathes 15 (2):293-318 (2005)
Much discussion of meaning by philosophers over the last 300 years has been predicated on a Cartesian first-person authority (i.e. “infallibilism”) with respect to what one’s terms mean. However this has problems making sense of the way the meanings of scientific terms develop, an increase in scientific knowledge over and above scientists’ ability to quantify over new entities. Although a recent conspicuous embrace of rigid designation has broken up traditional meaning-infallibilism to some extent, this new dimension to the meaning of terms such as “water” is yet to receive a principled epistemological undergirding (beyond the deliverances of “intuition” with respect to certain somewhat unusual possible worlds). Charles Peirce’s distinctive, naturalistic philosophy of language is mined to provide a more thoroughly fallibilist, and thus more realist, approach to meaning, with the requisite epistemology. Both his pragmatism and his triadic account of representation, it is argued, produce an original approach to meaning, analysing it in processual rather than objectual terms, and opening a distinction between “meaning for us”, the meaning a term has at any given time for any given community and “meaning simpliciter”. the way use of a given term develops over time (often due to a posteriori input from the world which is unable to be anticipated in advance). This account provocatively undermines a certain distinction between “semantics” and “ontology” which is often taken for granted in discussions of realism.
|Keywords||meaning fallibilism Peirce naturalism realism semiotics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
D. M. Armstrong (1997). A World of States of Affairs. Cambridge University Press.
John F. Boler (1963). Charles Peirce and Scholastic Realism. Seattle, University of Washington Press.
Keith Campbell (1990). Abstract Particulars. B. Blackwell.
Rudolf Carnap (1936). Testability and Meaning. Philosophy of Science 3 (4):419-471.
Martin Davies & Lloyd Humberstone (1980). Two Notions of Necessity. Philosophical Studies 38 (1):1-31.
Citations of this work BETA
Catherine Legg (2010). Engineering Philosophy. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 2 (01):45-50.
Cliff Hooker (2011). Rationality as Effective Organisation of Interaction and Its Naturalist Framework. Axiomathes 21 (1):99-172.
Cliff Hooker (2013). Georg Simmel and Naturalist Interactivist Epistemology of Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):311-317.
Similar books and articles
Adrienne Lehrer (1970). Theory of Meaning. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.
Guy Longworth (2001). Demystifying Meaning. Philosophical Papers 30 (2):145-167.
John Gregg (2010). Language and Meaning. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 9:248-283.
Jeff Speaks (2009). Introduction, Transmission, and the Foundations of Meaning. In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Language. Palgrave Macmillan.
Ernest Lepore & Kirk Ludwig (2006). Ontology in the Theory of Meaning. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):325 – 335.
C. J. L. Talmage (1994). Literal Meaning, Conventional Meaning and First Meaning. Erkenntnis 40 (2):213 - 225.
Ned Block (1995). Ruritania Revisited. Philosophical Issues 6:171-187.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #160,006 of 1,096,424 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #231,754 of 1,096,424 )
How can I increase my downloads?