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Deflationary Theories of Meaning
  1. Non-Factualist Interpretation of the Skeptical Solution and the Self-Refutation Argument.Michał Wieczorkowski - 2024 - Acta Analytica 39 (2):295-311.
    The skeptical solution is based on two assumptions — the rejection of semantic facts and the denial of semantic nihilism. On the basis of the non-factualist interpretation of this solution, these two assumptions are reconciled by stating that meaning ascriptions possess non-descriptive function. Nonetheless, Alexander Miller argues that this position is self-refuting since, as despite its non-descriptivism, by rejecting any kind of semantic facts, it inevitably leads to semantic nihilism. In this text, I demonstrate that Miller’s argument is not sound. (...)
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  2. Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity, by Hilary Putnam, edited by Mario de Caro. [REVIEW]Tim Button - 2017 - Philosophy 92 (2):305-15.
    Hilary Putnam’s Realism with a Human Face began with a quotation from Rilke, exhorting us to ‘try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue’. Putnam followed this advice throughout his life. His love for the questions permanently changed how we understand them. In Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity – published only a few weeks after his death – Putnam continued to explore central questions concerning realism and perception, from the (...)
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  3. Knowledge as Objectively Justified Belief.Byeong D. Lee - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (3):397-414.
    According to Lehrer’s defeasibility account of knowledge, we can understand knowledge as undefeated justified true belief. But this account faces many serious problems. One important problem is that from one’s subjective point of view, one can hardly bridge the gap between one’s personal justification and objective truth. Another important problem is that this account can hardly accommodate the externalist intuition that the epistemic status of a belief is not entirely determined by factors that are internal to the subject’s perspective. The (...)
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  4. Methodological Deflationism and Semantic Theories.Adam C. Podlaskowski - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1415-1422.
    Methodological deflationism is a policy about how we should conduct ourselves when it comes to theories of truth: in particular, a deflationary theory of truth should be taken as one’s starting point, and the notion of truth should be inflated only as necessary. This policy is motivated, in part, by the need to balance the theoretical virtue of parsimony with that of explanatory sufficiency. In this article, the case is made that the methodological deflationist is in no position to properly (...)
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  5. The Normative and the Natural.Michael Padraic Wolf & Jeremy Randel Koons - 2016 - New York: Palgrave.
    Drawing on a rich pragmatist tradition, this book offers an account of the different kinds of ‘oughts’, or varieties of normativity, that we are subject to contends that there is no conflict between normativity and the world as science describes it. The authors argue that normative claims aim to evaluate, to urge us to do or not do something, and to tell us how a state of affairs ought to be. These claims articulate forms of action-guidance that are different in (...)
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  6. Disquotation, Translation, and Context-Dependence.Richard Kimberly Heck - manuscript
    It has been known for some time that context-dependence poses a problem for disquotationalism, but the problem has largely been regarded as one of detail: one that will be solved by the right sort of cleverness. I argue here that the problem is one of principle and that extant solutions, which are based upon the notion of translation, cannot succeed.
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  7. Against Disquotation.Richard Kimberly Heck - manuscript
    Disquotationalism is the view that the only notion of truth we really need is one that can be wholly explained in terms of such trivialities as: “Snow is white” is true iff snow is white. The 'Classical Disquotational Strategy' attempts to establish this view case by case, by showing that each extant appeal to truth, in philosophical or scientific explanations, can be unmasked as an appeal only to disquotational truth. I argue here that the Classical Strategy fails in at least (...)
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  8. Gary Ostertag (Ed.), Meanings and Other Things: Themes from the Work of Stephen Schiffer. [REVIEW]Indrek Reiland - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 7.
  9. Дефляция как болезнь современных развитых стран.Leonid Grinin & Andrey Korotayev - 2015 - In Анализ и моделирование мировой и страновой динамики: методология и базовые модели. Uchitel Publishing House. pp. 241-270.
    В последние два-три года среди многочислен- ных проблем в отношении европейской и американской экономики все чаще стала упоминаться опасность дефляции. При этом в каче- стве примера рассматривается японская экономика, которая уже два десятилетия страдает от дефляции, несмотря на огромные раз- меры финансовых вливаний и усилия правительства разогнать ин- фляцию. В западных экономиках инфляция также низкая, времена- ми нулевая, переходящая в дефляцию. В целом есть основания счи- тать, что страны Европы заболевают «японской болезнью», а также что эта «болезнь» может прогрессировать либо (...)
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  10. Solving the problem of creeping minimalism.Matthew Simpson - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):510-531.
    In this paper I discuss the so-called problem of creeping minimalism, the problem of distinguishing metaethical expressivism from its rivals once expressivists start accepting minimalist theories about truth, representation, belief, and similar concepts. I argue that Dreier’s ‘explanation’ explanation is almost correct, but by critically examining it we not only get a better solution, but also draw out some interesting results about expressivism and non-representationalist theories of meaning more generally.
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  11. Linguistic Understanding and Knowledge of Truth-Conditions.Chase Wrenn - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (3):355-370.
    What do you know when you know what a sentence means? According to some theories, understanding a sentence is, in part, knowing its truth-conditions. Dorit Bar-On, Claire Horisk, and William Lycan have defended such theories on the grounds of an “epistemic determination argument”. That argument turns on the ideas that understanding a sentence, along with knowledge of the non-linguistic facts, suffices to know its truth-value, and that being able to determine a sentence’s truth-value given knowledge of the non-linguistic facts is (...)
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  12. Review: From a Deflationary Point of View. [REVIEW]Marian David - 2007 - Mind 116 (462):427-434.
    The review of this collection is primarily concerned with essays pertaining to Horwich's deflationary approaches to truth and meaning.
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  13. Miejsce i rola kryteriów w filozofii Wittgensteina.Wawrzyniak Jan - 2015 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 5 (1):179-190.
    The role of criteria in Wittgenstein’s philosophy The main objective of this article is to explain the role of the concept of a ‘criterion’ in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy. To do so, the author juxtaposes a few well‑known interpretations of this issue, and compares the notion of a criterion with the notion of a rule. Contrary to Peter M.S. Hacker’s reading, he points out that according to Wittgenstein, to give the ‘criteria of use’ of an expression is to determine its ‘grammar’. (...)
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  14. Deflationism: response to Paul Horwich.O. Chateaubriand - 2008 - Manuscrito 31 (1):483-488.
    My disagreement with the deflationist treatment of truth affects my attitude to Paul Horwich’s approach to meaning and intentionality. In my response I summarize objections to the deflationist account of truth developed in some detail in chapters 2, 7, and 12, and argue that the notion of intentionality should be treated naturalistically in a broader context than the context of the referential import of the locution “means that”.Minha discordância com a visão deflacionista da verdade afeta minha atitude em relação às (...)
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  15. Is Compositionality a Trivial Principle?Richard Heck - 2013 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 8 (1):140-55.
    Primarily a response to Paul Horwich's "Composition of Meanings", the paper attempts to refute his claim that compositionality—roughly, the idea that the meaning of a sentence is determined by the meanings of its parts and how they are there combined—imposes no substantial constraints on semantic theory or on our conception of the meanings of words or sentences. Show Abstract.
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  16. Deflationism and Inferentialism.Jaroslav Peregrin - manuscript
    After putting forward his celebrated deflationary theory of truth (Horwich, 1998a), Paul Horwich added a compatible theory of meaning (Horwich, 1998b). I am calling also this latter theory deflationism (although it may be a slightly misleading name in that, as Paul himself notes, his theory of meaning is deflationary more in the sense of being forced by the deflationary theory of truth than of being particularly deflationary in itself). In contrast, what I call inferentialism is the theory of meaning which (...)
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  17. Evolution of Mind.Vijai S. Shankar MD PhD - 2010 - Advaita Publications.
  18. Horwichian Minimalism and the Generalization Problem.B. Armour-Garb - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):693-703.
  19. Demystifying Meaning.Guy Longworth - 2001 - Philosophical Papers 30 (2):145-167.
    Abstract Some philosophers find linguistic meaning mysterious. Two approaches suggest themselves for removing the felt mystery, or demystifying meaning. One involves providing a substantive account of meaning in meaning-free terms. Although this approach has come under serious attack in recent years, Paul Horwich has recently presented a version of the approach that might be thought impervious. A preliminary attempt is made to argue that Horwich's version is vulnerable to the considerations felt to undermine other versions of the substantive approach to (...)
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  20. Truth-meaning-reality.Paul Horwich - 2010 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    What is truth? -- Varieties of deflationism -- A defense of minimalism -- The value of truth -- A minimalist critique of Tarski -- Kripke's paradox of meaning -- Regularities, rules, meanings, truth conditions, and epistemic norms -- Semantics : what's truth got to do with it? -- The motive power of evaluative concepts -- Ungrounded reason -- The nature of paradox -- A world without 'isms' -- The quest for reality -- Being and truth -- Provenance of chapters.
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  21. Semantics for Deflationists.Christopher Gauker - 2005 - In J. C. Beall & Bradley Armour-Garb (eds.), Deflationism and Paradox. Oxford University Press.
    This paper spells out the positive theory sketched at the end of "Against Stepping Back".): According to deflationists, [p] is true is in some sense equivalent to p. The problem that the semantic paradoxes pose for the deflationist is to explicate this equivalence without relying on a semantics grounded in the sort of real reference relations that a deflationist thinks do not exist. More generally, the deflationist is challenged to give an account of logical validity that does not force us (...)
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  22. Deflationist views of meaning and content.Hartry Field - 1994 - Mind 103 (411):249-285.
  23. A new skeptical solution.Christopher Gauker - 1999 - Acta Analytica 14:113-129.
    Kripke's puzzle about rule-following is a form of the traditional problem of the nature of linguistic meaning. A skeptical solution explains not what meaning is but the role that talk of meaning plays in the linguistic community. Contrary to what some have claimed, the skeptical approach is not self-refuting. However, Kripke's own skeptical solution is inadequate. He has not adequately explained the conditions under which we are justified in attributing meanings or the utility of the practice of attributing meanings. An (...)
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  24. The circle of deference proves the normativity of semantics.Christopher Gauker - 2007 - Rivista di Estetica 34 (34):181-198.
    The question whether semantics is a normative discipline can be formulated as a question about the meaning of the word “means”. If I assert, “The word ‘gatto’ in Italian means cat,” what have I done? The naturalist about meaning claims that I have asserted that a certain natural relation obtains between Italian speakers’ tokens of “gatto” and cats. Or at least, I have asserted something about the way Italian speakers use the word “gatto”, which way presumably has something to do (...)
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  25. T-schema deflationism versus gödel’s first incompleteness theorem.Christopher Gauker - 2001 - Analysis 61 (2):129–136.
    I define T-schema deflationism as the thesis that a theory of truth for our language can simply take the form of certain instances of Tarski's schema (T). I show that any effective enumeration of these instances will yield as a dividend an effective enumeration of all truths of our language. But that contradicts Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem. So the instances of (T) constituting the T-Schema deflationist's theory of truth are not effectively enumerable, which casts doubt on the idea that the (...)
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  26. The illusion of semantic reference.Christopher Gauker - 2015 - In Andrea Bianchi (ed.), On Reference. Oxford University Press. pp. 11-39.
    A lot of us have given up on the idea that there will be a naturalistic account of the relation of semantic reference and so have resolved to formulate our theories of semantics and communication without appeal to semantic reference. Still, there is a resilient intuition to the effect that I know the extensions of the terms of my language. This paper explicates that intuition without yielding to it. The key idea is to give a “skeptical” account of what it (...)
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  27. The deflationary theory of meaning.Jeffrey Hershfield - 2001 - Philosophia 28 (1-4):191-208.
  28. The expressive role of truth in truth-conditional semantics.Claire Horisk - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):535–557.
    I define 'skim semantics' to be a Davidson-style truth-conditional semantics combined with a variety of deflationism about truth. The expressive role of truth in truth-conditional semantics precludes at least some kinds of skim semantics; thus I reject the idea that the challenge to skim semantics derives solely from Davidson's explanatory ambitions, and in particular from the 'truth doctrine', the view that the concept of truth plays a central explanatory role in Davidsonian theories of meaning for a language. The fate of (...)
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  29. What is it like to be a deflationary theory of meaning?Paul Horwich - 1994 - Philosophical Issues 5:133-154.
    Russian translation of Horwich P. What Is It Like to Be a Deflationary Theory of Meaning? // Philosophical Issues, 5, 1994. Translated by Lev Lamberov with kind permission of the author.
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  30. Reply to Heck on meaning and truth-conditions.Gary Kemp - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (207):233-236.
    Richard Heck has contested my argument that the equation of the meaning of a sentence with its truth-condition implies deflationism, on the ground that the argument does not go through if truth-conditions are understood, in Davidson's style, to be stated by T-sentences. My reply is that Davidsonian theories of meaning do not equate the meaning of a sentence with its truth-condition, and thus that Heck's point does not actually obstruct my argument.
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  31. Review of Paul Horwich, From a Deflationary Point of View[REVIEW]Jeffrey Ketland - 2005 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (12).
  32. Review of Paul Horwich, Reflections on Meaning[REVIEW]David Macarthur - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (3).
  33. What should a deflationist about truth say about meaning?Huw Price - 1997 - Philosophical Issues 8:107-115.
    Paul Horwich aims to apply some the lessons of deflationism about truth to the debate about the nature of a theory of meaning. Having pacified the philosophical debate about truth to his satisfaction, he wants to use a bridge between truth and meaning to extend the same peace−making techniques into new territory. His goal is to make the debate about meaning more hospitable for an account based on use, by showing that certain apparent obstacles to such a theory are illusory, (...)
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  34. The use theory of meaning and semantic stipulation.Mark Textor - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (1):29 - 45.
    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 (...)
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  35. Meaning and deflationary truth.Michael Williams - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (11):545-564.
Intention-Based Theories of Meaning
  1. Rule-Following II: Recent Work and New Puzzles.Indrek Reiland - 2024 - Philosophy Compass 19 (5):e12976.
    ‘Rule-following’ is a name for a cluster of phenomena where we seem both guided and “normatively” constrained by something general in performing particular actions. Understanding the phenomenon is important because of its connection to meaning, representation, and content. This article gives an overview of the philosophical discussion of rule-following with emphasis on Kripke’s skeptical paradox and recent work on possible solutions. Part I of this two-part contribution was devoted to the basic issues from Wittgenstein to Kripke. Part II is about (...)
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  2. Talking About: A Response to Bowker, Keiser, Michaelson.Elmar Unnsteinsson - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    I respond to comments from Mark Bowker, Jessica Keiser, and Eliot Michaelson on my book, Talking About. The response clarifies my stance on the nature of reference, conflicting intentions, and the sense in which language may have proper functions.
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  3. How to Express Implicit Attitudes.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2024 - Philosophical Quarterly 74 (1):251-272.
    I argue that what speakers mean or express can be determined by their implicit or unconscious states, rather than explicit or conscious states. Further, on this basis, I show that the sincerity conditions for utterances can also be fixed by implicit states. This is a surprising result which goes against common assumptions about speech acts and sincerity. Roughly, I argue that the result is implied by two plausible and independent theories of the metaphysics of speaker meaning and, further, that this (...)
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  4. The Dead End of Radical Interpretation.Roberto Horácio de Sá Pereira - 2018 - Analytica. Revista de Filosofia 21 (1):209-226.
    Resumo: O projeto semântico de Davidson toma a forma de reducionismo que visa explicar as noções intencionais com base em noções puramente extensionais. O objetivo desse trabalho consiste na investigação do fracasso do projeto de Davidson como um argumento indireto contra sua suposição segundo a qual a chamada interpretação radical seria o fundamento do significado linguístico e do pensamento. Abstract: Davidson's semantic program is a form of semantic reductionism that aims to account for intensional notions on a purely extensional basis. (...)
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  5. Linguistic Mistakes.Indrek Reiland - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (5):2191-2206.
    Ever since the publication of Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, there’s been a raging debate in philosophy of language over whether meaning and thought are, in some sense, normative. Most participants in the normativity wars seem to agree that some uses of meaningful expressions are semantically correct while disagreeing over whether this entails anything normative. But what is it to say that a use of an expression is semantically correct? On the so-called orthodox construal, it is to say (...)
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  6. Introduction, transmission, and the foundations of meaning.Jeff Speaks - 2009 - In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New waves in philosophy of language. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The most widely accepted and well worked out approaches to the foundations of meaning take facts about the meanings of linguistic expressions at a time to be derivative from the propositional attitudes of speakers of the language at that time. This mentalist strategy takes two principal forms, one which traces meaning to belief, and one which analyzes it in terms of communicative intentions. I argue that either form of mentalism fails, and conclude by suggesting that we can do better by (...)
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  7. Rule-Following I: The Basic Issues.Indrek Reiland - 2024 - Philosophy Compass 19 (1):e12900.
    ‘Rule-following’ is a name for a cluster of phenomena where we seem both guided and “normatively” constrained by something general in performing particular actions. Understanding the phenomenon is important because of its connection to meaning, representation, and content. This article gives an overview of the philosophical discussion of rule-following with emphasis on Kripke’s skeptical paradox and recent work on possible solutions. Part I of this two-part contribution is devoted to the basic issues from Wittgenstein to Kripke. Part II will be (...)
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  8. Sind Sprachkonventionen Regelmäßigkeiten?Jonas Pfister - 2003 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 1 (17):7-14.
    Language is ruled by conventions. In order to understand how language functions we need to know what conventions are. According to David Lewis conventions are regularities in action or in action and belief, that perpetuate themselves because they serve some common interest. Ruth Millikan has criticized this analysis for being too complex. She claims to offer an analysis in simpler terms that does neither rely on regularities nor rationality. She defines what she calls “natural conventions” as patterns that are reproduced (...)
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  9. Group Speakers.Grace Paterson - 2020 - Language & Communication 70:59-66.
    This paper examines group speech acts to argue against the view, here called speaker intentionalism, that one is a speaker behind a speech act in virtue of having the relevant communicative illocutionary intention. An alternative view is presented called speaker responsibilism according to which one is a speaker in virtue of having certain responsibilities. Complexities are considered which arise from the kinds of responsibilities the speaker has and the specific ways in which they are acquired.
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  10. The Social Epistemology of Introspection.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (3):925-942.
    I argue that introspection recruits the same mental mechanism as that which is required for the production of ordinary speech acts. In introspection, in effect, we intentionally tell ourselves that we are in some mental state, aiming thereby to produce belief about that state in ourselves. On one popular view of speech acts, however, this is precisely what speakers do when speaking to others. On this basis, I argue that every bias discovered by social epistemology applies to introspection and other (...)
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  11. Intention and Commitment in Speech Acts.Daniel W. Harris - 2019 - Theoretical Linguistics 45 (1–2):53–67.
    What is a speech act, and what makes it count as one kind of speech act rather than another? In the target article, Geurts considers two ways of answering these questions. His opponent is intentionalism—the view that performing a speech act is a matter of acting with a communicative intention, and that speech acts of different kinds involve intentions to affect hearers in different ways. Geurts offers several objections to intentionalism. Instead, he articulates and defends an admirably clear and resolute (...)
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  12. Intention Recognition as the Mechanism of Human Communication.Daniel W. Harris - 2019 - In Arthur Sullivan (ed.), Sensations, Thoughts, and Language: Essays in Honor of Brian Loar. New York, NY: Routledge.
    Intentionalism is a research program that seeks to explain facts about meaning and communication in psychological terms, with our capacity for intention recognition playing a starring role. My aim here is to recommend a methodological reorientation in this program. Instead of a focus on intuitive counterexamples to proposals about necessary-and-sufficient conditions, we should aim to investigate the psychological mechanisms whose activities and interactions explain our capacity to communicate. Taking this methodologi- cal reorientation to heart, I sketch a theory of the (...)
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  13. Intentionalism and Bald-Faced Lies.Daniel W. Harris - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In Lying and Insincerity, Andreas Stokke argues that bald-faced lies are genuine lies, and that lies are always assertions. Since bald-faced lies seem not to be aimed at convincing addressees of their contents, Stokke concludes that assertions needn’t have this aim. This conflicts with a traditional version of intentionalism, originally due to Grice, on which asserting something is a matter of communicatively intending for one’s addressee to believe it. I argue that Stokke’s own account of bald-faced lies faces serious problems (...)
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  14. The Phenomenological Dimension of the Theory of Meaning: A Critical Inquiry through Husserl and Wittgenstein.Jacob Rump - 2013 - Dissertation, Emory University
    Given the undeniable influence of the linguistic turn, it is common to characterize epistemology in the twentieth century as centrally concerned with meaning. But many of the early twentieth-century figures who helped to inspire that turn did not characterize meaning exclusively in terms of language. In response to contemporary accounts that tend to limit the scope of meaning to the semantic, pragmatic or conceptual, I use the work of Husserl and Wittgenstein to argue for the importance of non-linguistic aspects of (...)
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  15. Behavioral Foundations for Expression Meaning.Megan Henricks Stotts - 2019 - Topoi 40 (1):27-42.
    According to a well-established tradition in the philosophy of language, we can understand what makes an arbitrary sound, gesture, or marking into a meaningful linguistic expression only by appealing to mental states, such as beliefs and intentions. In this paper, I explore the contrasting possibility of understanding the meaningfulness of linguistic expressions just in terms of observable linguistic behavior. Specifically, I explore the view that a type of sound becomes a meaningful linguistic expression within a group in virtue of the (...)
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