David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dissertation, University of Amsterdam (2010)
This dissertation is a contribution to the philosophy of language. Its central question is: In virtue of which facts do linguistic expressions mean what they do? E.g. why does “apple” mean apple in English? The question receives a systematic answer; in short: Linguistic expressions mean what they do because among their users, there are linguistic conventions and social norms to use and understand them in certain ways. The answer is clarified and defended as a central thesis. For in this form, it is at best a slogan: What is meaning? What is it to use and understand expressions? What are conventions and social norms anyway? How does the use and understanding determine meaning? The goal of the dissertation consists in answering these questions.
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