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A puzzle about meaning and communication

Noûs 44 (2):340-371 (2010)

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  1. Do We Hear Meanings? – Between Perception and Cognition.Anna Drożdżowicz - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-33.
    ABSTRACTIt is often observed that experiences of utterance understanding are what surfaces in hearer’s consciousness in the course of language comprehension. The nature of such experiences has been...
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  • Meaning Underdetermines What is Said, Therefore Utterances Express Many Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):165-189.
    Linguistic meaning underdetermines what is said. This has consequences for philosophical accounts of meaning, communication, and propositional attitude reports. I argue that the consequence we should endorse is that utterances typically express many propositions, that these are what speakers mean, and that the correct semantics for attitude reports will handle this fact while being relational and propositional.
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  • Acts of Desire.Henry Ian Schiller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Act-based theories of content hold that propositions are identical to acts of predication that we perform in thought and talk. To undergo an occurrent thought with a particular content just is to perform the act of predication that individuates that content. But identifying the content of a thought with the performance of an act of predication makes it difficult to explain the intentionality of bouletic mental activity, like wanting and desiring. In this paper, I argue that this difficulty is insurmountable: (...)
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  • Generics in Context.Rachel Sterken - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
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  • Imagination and Convention: Distinguishing Grammar and Inference in Language. [REVIEW]Daniel W. Harris - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (4):554-558.
  • Semantic Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2018 - Dissertation, New York University
    This dissertation argues for Semantic Variance, the thesis that nearly every utterance is such that there is no proposition that more than one languge user takes to be that utterance's truth-conditional content. I argue that Semantic Variance is problematic for standard theories concerning the nature of communication, the epistemic significance of ordinary disputes, the semantics of speech reports, and the nature of linguistic competence. In response to the problems arising from the truth of Semantic Variance, I develop new accounts of (...)
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  • Representation Without Thought: Confusion, Reference, and Communication.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2015 - Dissertation, CUNY Graduate Center
    I develop and argue for a novel theory of the mental state of identity confusion. I also argue that this mental state can corrupt the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication. Finally, I propose a theory according to which identity confusion should be treated as a the source of a new sort of linguistic performance error, similar to malapropism, slips of the tongue, and so-called intentional obfuscation (inducing false belief by manipulating language in specific ways). -/- Going into (...)
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  • Context Dependence.Kent Bach - 2012 - In Manuel García-Carpintero & Max Kölbel (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Continuum International.
    All sorts of things are context-dependent in one way or another. What it is appropriate to wear, to give, or to reveal depends on the context. Whether or not it is all right to lie, harm, or even kill depends on the context. If you google the phrase ‘depends on the context’, you’ll get several hundred million results. This chapter aims to narrow that down. In this context the topic is context dependence in language and its use. It is commonly (...)
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  • Communication and Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - forthcoming - Topoi:1-23.
    According to standard assumptions in semantics, ordinary users of a language have implicit beliefs about the truth-conditions of sentences in that language, and they often agree on those beliefs. For example, it is assumed that if Anna and John are both competent users of English and the former utters ‘grass is green’ in conversation with the latter, they will both believe that that sentence is true if and only if grass is green. These assumptions play an important role in an (...)
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  • Conversational Implicature, Communicative Intentions, and Content.Ray Buchanan - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5):720-740.
    (2013). Conversational implicature, communicative intentions, and content. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, Essays on the Nature of Propositions, pp. 720-740.
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  • Why Bare Demonstratives Need Not Semantically Refer.J. P. Smit - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (1):43-66.
    I-theories of bare demonstratives take the semantic referent of a demonstrative to be determined by an inner state of the utterer. E-theories take the referent to be determined by factors external to the utterer. I argue that, on the Standard view of communication, neither of these theories can be right. Firstly, both are committed to the existence of conventions with superfluous content. Secondly, any claim to the effect that a speaker employs the conventions associated with these theories cannot have any (...)
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  • Underdetermination, Domain Restriction, and Theory Choice.Mark Bowker - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (2):205-220.
    It is often possible to know what a speaker intends to communicate without knowing what they intend to say. In such cases, speakers need not intend to say anything at all. Stanley and Szabó's influential survey of possible analysis of quantifier domain restriction is, therefore, incomplete and the arguments made by Clapp and Buchanan against Truth Conditional Compositionality and propositional speaker-meaning are flawed. Two theories should not always be viewed as incompatible when they associate the same utterance with different propositions, (...)
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  • Saying Nothing : In Defence of Syntactic and Semantic Underdetermination.Mark Bowker - 2016 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    According to the Encoding Model, speakers communicate by encoding the propositions they want to communicate into sentences, in accordance with the conventions of a language L. By uttering a sentence that encodes p, the speaker says that p. Communication is successful only if the audience identifies the proposition that the speaker intends to communicate, which is achieved by decoding the uttered sentence in accordance with the conventions of L. A consequence of the Encoding Model has been the proliferation of underdetermination (...)
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  • A Gricean Rearrangement of Epithets.Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2012 - In Ferenc Kiefer & Zoltán Bánréti (eds.), 20 Years of Theoretical Linguistics in Budapest: A selection of papers from the 2010 conference celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Theoretical Linguistics Programme of Eötvös Loránd University. Tinta Publishing House. pp. 183-218.
  • Speakers’ Intuitive Judgements About Meaning – The Voice of Performance View.Anna Drożdżowicz - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (1):177-195.
    Speakers’ intuitive judgements about meaning provide important data for many debates in philosophy of language and pragmatics, including contextualism vs. relativism in semantics; ‘faultless’ disagreement; the limits of truth-conditional semantics; vagueness; and the status of figurative utterances. Is the use of speakers intuitive judgments about meaning justified? Michael Devitt has argued that their use in philosophy of language is problematic because they are fallible empirical judgements about language that reflect speakers’ folk theories about meaning rather than meaning itself. In this (...)
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  • Full‐On Stating.Robert J. Stainton - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (4):395-413.
    What distinguishes full-on stating a proposition from merely communicating it? For instance, what distinguishes claiming/asserting/saying that one has never smoked crack cocaine from merely implying/conveying/hinting this? The enormous literature on ‘assertion’ provides many approaches to distinguishing stating from, say, asking and commanding: only the former aims at truth; only the former expresses one's belief; etc. But this leaves my question unanswered, since in merely communicating a proposition one also aims at truth, expresses a belief, etc. My aim is not to (...)
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  • Testimony and the Epistemic Uncertainty of Interpretation.Andrew Peet - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):395-416.
    In the epistemology of testimony it is often assumed that audiences are able to reliably recover asserted contents. In the philosophy of language this claim is contentious. This paper outlines one problem concerning the recovery of asserted contents, and argues that it prevents audiences from gaining testimonial knowledge in a range of cases. The recovery problem, in essence, is simply that due to the collective epistemic limitations of the speaker and audience speakers will, in certain cases, be insensitive to the (...)
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  • Presupposition and Context Sensitivity.Ernie Lepore & Adam Sennet - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (5):613-627.
    We argue there is a clash between the standard treatments of context sensitivity and presupposition triggering. We use this criticism to motivate a defense of an often-discarded view about how to represent context sensitivity, according to which there are more lexically implicit items in logical form than has been appreciated.
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