Compositional supervenience without compositional meaning?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In M. De Glas & Z. Pawlak (eds.), WOCFAI 95. Second World Conference on the Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence, 3-7 July 1995. Angkor. 441-452 (1995)
An attempt is first made to clarify why Stephen Schiffer may legitimately claim that his noncompositional account of meaning differs from other non-compositional semantic doctrines such as the hidden-indexical theory of propositional attitudes. Subsequently, however, doubt is cast upon Schiffer's main contention that, as far as language of thought is concerned, a compositional supervenience theory can adequately satisfy all the desiderata a compositional meaning theory is traditionally called upon for. This doubt basically depends on the fact that, once a physical property is assigned by the compositional supervenience theory to the relevant nominal constituent of a Mentalese attitude report as the basic element on which the physical property assigned to the whole report depends, such a property precisely plays the role of a mode of presentation of the referent of that constituent. Finally, the following dilemma is arisen: in order to account for the meaning of attitude reports either the dismissal of modes of presentation or the rejection of compositionality is to be given up.
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