Radical interpretation and compositional structure

In this paper I shall be concerned with the relation between a particular account of linguistic meaning and the property of compositionality in natural language.1 The account, proposed by Donald Davidson, is that based on considerations about radical interpretation. I shall argue that there is a fundamental conflict between, on the one hand, the view that the meaning of expressions of natural languages is determined purely according to canons of radical interpretation, and, on the other hand, the view that natural languages exhibit compositional structure. I shall also argue that if there is such a conflict, this speaks against the proposed account.
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Peter Pagin (2006). The Status of Charity II: Charity, Probability, and Simplicity. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):361 – 383.

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