David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 67 (1):29 - 45 (2007)
According to Horwich’s use theory of meaning, the meaning of a word W is engendered by the underived acceptance of certain sentences containing W. Horwich applies this theory to provide an account of semantic stipulation: Semantic stipulation proceeds by deciding to accept sentences containing an as yet meaningless word W. Thereby one brings it about that W gets an underived acceptance property. Since a word’s meaning is constituted by its (basic) underived acceptance property, this decision endows the word with a meaning. The use-theoretic account of semantic stipulation contrasts with the standard view that semantic stipulation proceeds by assigning the meaning (reference) to W that makes a certain set of sentences express true propositions. In this paper I will argue that the use-theoretic account does not work. I take Frege to have already made the crucial point: "a definition does not assert anything but lays down something ["etwas festsetzt"]” (Frege 1899, 36). A semantic stipulation for W cannot be the decision to accept a sentence containing W or be explained in terms of such an acceptance. Semantic stipulation constitutes a problem for Horwich's use theory of meaning, especially his basic notion of acceptance.
|Keywords||Use theory of meaning Semantic stipulation Naming Illocution Horwich Frege|
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References found in this work BETA
Joseph Almog, John Perry, Howard K. Wettstein & David Kaplan (eds.) (1989). Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press, USA.
J. L. Austin (1975). How to Do Things with Words. Clarendon Press.
Donald Davidson (1984). Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation. Oxford University Press.
J. L. Austin (1979). Philosophical Papers. Oxford University Press.
Paul Horwich (1998). Meaning. Oxford University Press.
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