Structure and conventions [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies 137 (3):399 - 408 (2008)
Wayne Davis’s Meaning, Expression and Thought argues that linguistic meaning is conventional use to express ideas. An obvious problem with this proposal is that complex expressions that have never been used are nonetheless meaningful. In response to this concern, Davis associates conventions of use not only with linguistic expressions but also with the modes in which such expressions can combine into larger expressions. I argue that such constructive conventions are in conflict with the principle of compositionality (as it is usually understood) and that (at least in the cases Davis considers) they are unnecessary for semantic explanations.
|Keywords||Ambiguity Grice Meaning Compositionality Convention Productivity Semantics Speaker meaning Syntactic structure Truth-condition|
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References found in this work BETA
Wayne A. Davis (2003). Meaning, Expression, and Thought. Cambridge University Press.
Michael A. E. Dummett (1975). What is a Theory of Meaning? In Samuel Guttenplan (ed.), Mind and Language. Oxford University Press
Jerry A. Fodor & Ernest Lepore (2002). The Compositionality Papers. Oxford University Press.
Peter Pagin (2003). Communication and Strong Compositionality. Journal of Philosophical Logic 32 (3):287-322.
Terence Parsons (1990). Events in the Semantics of English: A Study in Subatomic Semantics. The MIT Press.
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