David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The term ‘meaning holism’ (together with variants like ‘semantic holism’ and ‘linguistic holism’) has been used for a number of more or less closely interrelated ideas. According to one common view, meaning holism (MH) is the thesis that what a linguistic expression means depends on its relations to many or all other expressions within the same totality. Sometimes these relations are called ‘conceptual’ or ‘inferential’. A related idea is that what an expression means depends, mutually, on the meaning of the other expressions in the totality, or alternatively on some semantic property of this totality itself. The totality in question may be the language to which the expressions belong, or a theory formulation in that language. In this sense MH is contrasted e.g. with so-called atomistic theories, according to which each simple expression can have a meaning independently of all other expressions, or molecular theories according to which there are meaning dependencies but restricted to smaller parts and often unidirectional.
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