David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind 119 (473):43-81 (2010)
I give an analysis of how empirical terms do their work in communication and the gathering of knowledge that is fully externalist and that covers the full range of empirical terms. It rests on claims about ontology. A result is that armchair analysis fails as a tool for examining meanings of ‘basic’ empirical terms because their meanings are not determined by common methods or criteria of application passed from old to new users, by conventionally determined ‘intensions’. Nor do methods of application used by individual speakers constitute definitive reference-determining intensions for their idiolect terms or associated concepts. Conventional intensions of non-basic empirical terms ultimately rest on basic empirical concepts, so no empirical meaning is found merely ‘in the head’. I discuss the nature of lexical definition, why empirical meanings cannot ultimately be modelled as functions from possible worlds to extensions, and traps into which armchair analysis of meaning can lead us. A coda explains how ‘Swampman’ examples, as used against teleosemantic theories of content, illustrate such traps
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Citations of this work BETA
Sean Allen-Hermanson (2013). Superdupersizing the Mind: Extended Cognition and the Persistence of Cognitive Bloat. Philosophical Studies 164 (3):791-806.
Eric Schwitzgebel (2015). If Materialism is True, the United States is Probably Conscious. Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1697-1721.
Manolo Martínez (2013). Teleosemantics and Indeterminacy. Dialectica 67 (4):427-453.
Ruth Garrett Millikan (2012). Are There Mental Indexicals and Demonstratives? Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):217-234.
Gunnar Björnsson (2012). Do 'Objectivist' Features of Moral Discourse and Thinking Support Moral Objectivism? Journal of Ethics 16 (4):367-393.
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