How to be a meaning holist

Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):51-73 (1996)
Meaning holists hold, roughly, that each representation in a linguistic or mental system depends semantically on every other representation in the system. The main difficulty for holism is the threat it poses to meaning stability--shared meaning between representations in two systems. If meanings are holistically dependent, then semantic differences anywhere seem to balloon into semantic differences everywhere. My positive aim is to show how holism, even at its most extreme, can accommodate and also increase meaning stability. My negative aim is to provide reasons for rejecting various nonholist proposals, at least for systems of mental representations
Keywords Epistemology  Holism  Knowledge  Meaning  Representation
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DOI jphil199693241
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