David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Minds and Machines 12 (1):3-59 (2002)
This essay continues my investigation of `syntactic semantics': the theory that, pace Searle's Chinese-Room Argument, syntax does suffice for semantics (in particular, for the semantics needed for a computational cognitive theory of natural-language understanding). Here, I argue that syntactic semantics (which is internal and first-person) is what has been called a conceptual-role semantics: The meaning of any expression is the role that it plays in the complete system of expressions. Such a `narrow', conceptual-role semantics is the appropriate sort of semantics to account (from an `internal', or first-person perspective) for how a cognitive agent understands language. Some have argued for the primacy of external, or `wide', semantics, while others have argued for a two-factor analysis. But, although two factors can be specifiedâ-one internal and first-person, the other only specifiable in an external, third-person wayâ-only the internal, first-person one is needed for understanding how someone understands. A truth-conditional semantics can still be provided, but only from a third-person perspective
|Keywords||Computer Holism Science Semantics Syntax|
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