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Reflections on Meaning

Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ; (2005)

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  1. The Creative Aspect of Language Use and the Implications for Linguistic Science.Eran Asoulin - 2013 - Biolinguistics 7:228-248.
    The creative aspect of language use provides a set of phenomena that a science of language must explain. It is the “central fact to which any signi- ficant linguistic theory must address itself” and thus “a theory of language that neglects this ‘creative’ aspect is of only marginal interest” (Chomsky 1964: 7–8). Therefore, the form and explanatory depth of linguistic science is restricted in accordance with this aspect of language. In this paper, the implications of the creative aspect of language (...)
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  • Self-Consciousness and Reductive Functionalism.Arvid Båve - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):1-21.
    It is argued that although George Bealer's influential ‘Self-Consciousness argument’ refutes standard versions of reductive functionalism (RF), it fails to generalize in the way Bealer supposes. To wit, he presupposes that any version of RF must take the content of ‘pain’ to be the property of being in pain (and so on), which is expressly rejected in independently motivated versions of conceptual role semantics (CRS). Accordingly, there are independently motivated versions of RF, incorporating CRS, which avoid Bealer's main type of (...)
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  • Justice for Earthlings.Richard Arneson - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):324-332.
  • Meaning and Normativity. [REVIEW]Julie Yoo - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):310-324.
  • The Use of ‘Use’.Daniel Whiting - 2008 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 76 (1):135-147.
    Many equate the meaning of a linguistic expression with its use. This paper investigates prominent objections to the equivalence claim and argues that they are unsuccessful. Once one suitably distinguishes the kind of use to be identified with meaning, the two do not diverge. Doing so, however, requires employing terms that are cognates of ‘meaning’ (if not ‘meaning’ itself). Nonetheless, I stress, this does not count against the equivalence claim. Moreover, one should not assume that the circularity on this occasion (...)
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  • On Epistemic Conceptions of Meaning: Use, Meaning and Normativity.Daniel Whiting - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):416-434.
    A number of prominent philosophers advance the following ideas: (1) Meaning is use. (2) Meaning is an intrinsically normative notion. Call (1) the use thesis, hereafter UT, and (2) the normativity thesis, hereafter NT. They come together in the view that for a linguistic expression to have meaning is for there to be certain proprieties governing its employment.1 These ideas are often associated with a third.
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  • Inference and Action: Relating Beliefs to the World.Javier Gonzalez De Prado Salas - unknown
    The goal of this dissertation is to offer a practice-based account of intentionality. My aim is to examine what sort of practices agents have to engage in so as to count as talking and thinking about the way the world is – that is, what sort of practices count as representational. Representational practices answer to the way the world is: what is correct within such practices depends on the way things are, rather than on the attitudes of agents. An account (...)
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  • Leave Truth Alone: On Deflationism and Contextualism.Daniel Whiting - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):607-624.
    Abstract: According to deflationism, grasp of the concept of truth consists in nothing more than a disposition to accept a priori (non-paradoxical) instances of the schema:(DS) It is true that p if and only if p.According to contextualism, the same expression with the same meaning might, on different occasions of use, express different propositions bearing different truth-conditions (where this does not result from indexicality and the like). On this view, what is expressed in an utterance depends in a non-negligible way (...)
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  • Conservatives and Racists: Inferential Role Semantics and Pejoratives.Daniel J. Whiting - 2008 - Philosophia 36 (3):375-388.
    According to inferential role semantics, for any given expression to possess a particular meaning one must be disposed to make or, alternatively, acknowledge as correct certain inferential transitions involving it. As Williamson points out, pejoratives such as ‘Boche’ seem to provide a counter-example to IRS. Many speakers are neither disposed to use such expressions nor consider it proper to do so. But it does not follow, as IRS appears to entail, that such speakers do not understand pejoratives or that they (...)
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  • The Normativity of Meaning Defended.Daniel Whiting - 2007 - Analysis 67 (2):133-140.
    Meaning, according to a significant number of philosophers, is an intrinsically normative notion.1 For this reason, it is suggested, meaning is not conducive to a naturalistic explanation. In this paper, I shall not address whether this is indeed so. Nor shall I present arguments in support of the normativity thesis (see Glock 2005; Kripke 1982). Instead, I shall examine and respond to two forceful objections recently (and independently) raised against it by Boghossian (2005), Hattiangadi (2006) and Miller (2006). Although I (...)
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  • Meaning Holism and De Re Ascription.Daniel Whiting - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):575-599.
    According to inferential role semantics (IRS), for an expression to have a particular meaning or express a certain concept is for subjects to be disposed to make, or to treat as proper, certain inferential transitions involving that expression.1 Such a theory of meaning is holistic, since according to it the meaning or concept any given expression possesses or expresses depends on the inferential relations it stands in to other expressions.
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  • Pluralism and the Absence of Truth.Jeremy Wyatt - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Connecticut
    In this dissertation, I argue that we should be pluralists about truth and in turn, eliminativists about the property Truth. Traditional deflationists were right to suspect that there is no such property as Truth. Yet there is a plurality of pluralities of properties which enjoy defining features that Truth would have, were it to exist. So although, in this sense, truth is plural, Truth is non-existent. The resulting account of truth is indebted to deflationism as the provenance of the suspicion (...)
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  • Inference and Rational Commitment.James Trafford - 2013 - Prolegomena 12 (1):5-20.
    This peer-reviewed paper intervenes in debates relating to overarching themes that impact upon mass media studies, communication theory and theories of cognition more generally. In particular, the paper discusses issues involving how our ordinary psychological thinking relates to norms of rationality (and how these latter are conceived). In essence, I argue against a dominant approach taken by Christopher Peacocke, that rationality can be grounded in the possession of certain concepts. The article makes a new contribution to the field by arguing (...)
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  • Sensitive to Norms, Caused by Reasons.Patrizia Pedrini - 2007 - SWIF Philosophy of Mind Review 6 (1).
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  • The Reliability Challenge and the Epistemology of Logic.Joshua Schechter - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):437-464.
    We think of logic as objective. We also think that we are reliable about logic. These views jointly generate a puzzle: How is it that we are reliable about logic? How is it that our logical beliefs match an objective domain of logical fact? This is an instance of a more general challenge to explain our reliability about a priori domains. In this paper, I argue that the nature of this challenge has not been properly understood. I explicate the challenge (...)
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  • Between Primitivism and Naturalism: Brandom’s Theory of Meaning.Daniel Whiting - 2006 - Acta Analytica 21 (3):3-22.
    Many philosophers accept that a naturalistic reduction of meaning is in principle impossible, since behavioural regularities or dispositions are consistent with any number of semantic descriptions. One response is to view meaning as primitive. In this paper, I explore Brandom’s alternative, which is to specify behaviour in non-semantic but normative terms. Against Brandom, I argue that a norm specified in non-semantic terms might correspond to any number of semantic norms. Thus, his theory of meaning suffers from the very same kind (...)
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  • On the Value and Nature of Truth.Gurpreet Rattan - 2008 - Journal of Philosophical Research 33:235-251.
    The thought that truth is valuable for its own sake is obvious, yet difficult to explicate in a precise and vindicating way. The paper tries to explicate and vindicate this thought with an argument for the conclusion that truth is an epistemic value. Truth is an epistemic value in the sense that a commitment to the value of truth plays a role in the justification and explanation of a fundamental aspect of our epistemic practice, namely, critical reflection. The paper also (...)
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  • 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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  • Trivial Languages.Arvid Båve - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (1):1-17.
    I here present and defend what I call the Triviality Theory of Truth, to be understood in analogy with Matti Eklund’s Inconsistency Theory of Truth. A specific formulation of is defended and compared with alternatives found in the literature. A number of objections against the proposed notion of meaning-constitutivity are discussed and held inconclusive. The main focus, however, is on the problem, discussed at length by Gupta and Belnap, that speakers do not accept epistemically neutral conclusions of Curry derivations. I (...)
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  • A Deflationary Theory of Reference.Arvid Båve - 2009 - Synthese 169 (1):51 - 73.
    The article first rehearses three deflationary theories of reference, (1) disquotationalism, (2) propositionalism (Horwich), and (3) the anaphoric theory (Brandom), and raises a number of objections against them. It turns out that each corresponds to a closely related theory of truth, and that these are subject to analogous criticisms to a surprisingly high extent. I then present a theory of my own, according to which the schema “That S(t) is about t” and the biconditional “S refers to x iff S (...)
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  • Moral Concepts and Motivation.Mark Greenberg - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):137-164.
  • Meaning, Intentionality and Communication.Pierre Jacob - 2011 - In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 11--25.
    This chapter probes the connections between the metaphysics of meaning and the investigation of human communication. It first argues that contemporary philosophy of mind has inherited most of its metaphysical questions from Brentano's puzzling definition of intentionality. Then it examines how intentionality came to occupy the forefront of pragmatics in three steps. By investigating speech acts, Austin and ordinary language philosophers pioneered the study of intentional actions performed by uttering sentences of natural languages. Based on his novel concept of speaker's (...)
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  • Meaning, Understanding and Normativity.Hannah Ginsborg - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):127-146.
    I defend the normativity of meaning against recent objections by arguing for a new interpretation of the ‘ought’ relevant to meaning. Both critics and defenders of the normativity thesis have understood statements about how an expression ought to be used as either prescriptive (indicating that speakers have reason to use the expression in a certain way) or semantic (designating certain uses as correct in a sense explicable in terms of truth). I propose an alternative view of the ‘ought’ as conveying (...)
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  • What Can Austin Tell Us About Truth?Jeffrey Hershfield - 2010 - Philosophical Investigations 33 (3):220-228.
    In recent discussions of the problem of truth, Austin's views have been largely overlooked. This is unfortunate, since many of his criticisms aimed at Strawson's redundancy theory carry over to more recent incarnations of deflationism. And unlike contemporary versions of the correspondence theory of truth, Austin's manages properly to situate truth in its conceptual neighbourhood wherein it belongs to “a whole dimension of different appraisals which have something or other to do with the relation between what we say and the (...)
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  • Implicit Definition and the Application of Logic.Thomas Kroedel - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (1):131-148.
    The paper argues that the theory of Implicit Definition cannot give an account of knowledge of logical principles. According to this theory, the meanings of certain expressions are determined such that they make certain principles containing them true; this is supposed to explain our knowledge of the principles as derived from our knowledge of what the expressions mean. The paper argues that this explanation succeeds only if Implicit Definition can account for our understanding of the logical constants, and that fully (...)
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  • 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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  • Theories and Theories of Truth.Ryan Christensen - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (1):31-43.
    Formal theories, as in logic and mathematics, are sets of sentences closed under logical consequence. Philosophical theories, like scientific theories, are often far less formal. There are many axiomatic theories of the truth predicate for certain formal languages; on analogy with these, some philosophers (most notably Paul Horwich) have proposed axiomatic theories of the property of truth. Though in many ways similar to logical theories, axiomatic theories of truth must be different in several nontrivial ways. I explore what an axiomatic (...)
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  • Disbelieving the Normativity of Content.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (4):441-456.
    Adherents as well as detractors of the normativity of mental content agree that its assessment crucially depends on the assessment of a principle for believing what is true. In this paper, I present an alternative principle, which is based on possession conditions for pure thinking or mere entertaining. I argue that the alternative approach has not been sufficiently emphasised in the literature and has two important merits. First, it yields a direct analysis of the normativity of mental content, which is, (...)
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  • What's Truth Got to Do with It?Paul Horwich - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (3):309-322.
    This paper offers a critique of mainstream formal semantics. It begins with a statement of widely assumed adequacy conditions: namely, that a good theory must (1) explain relations of entailment, (ii) show how the meanings of complex expressions derive from the meanings of their parts, and (iii) characterize facts of meaning in truth-theoretic terms. It then proceeds to criticize the orthodox conception of semantics that is articulated in these three desiderata. This critique is followed by a sketch of an alternative (...)
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  • In Defense of Epistemic Modesty.Farid Masrour - 2011 - Philosophical Issues 21 (1):312-331.
    An ambitious project in epistemology is to show that we have justification for anti-skeptical beliefs such as the belief that we are not brains in vats. A much less ambitious project is to account for how perceptual experience justifies ordinary perceptual beliefs like the belief that there is a cat in front of me. One problem is that these two projects are entangled in such manner that the failure of the anti-skeptical project seems to entail the failure of the project (...)
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  • Horwich on Natural and Non-Natural Meaning.Steffen Borge - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (2):229-253.
    Paul Horwich’s Use Theory of Meaning (UTM) depends on his rejection of Paul Grice’s distinction between natural and non-natural meaning and his Univocality of Meaning Thesis, as he wishes to deflate the meaning-relation to usage. Horwich’s programme of deflating the meaning-relation (i.e. how words, sentences, etc., acquire meaning) to some basic regularity of usage cannot be carried through if the meaning-relation depends on the minds of users. Here, I first give a somewhat detailed account of the distinction between natural and (...)
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  • Missed It By That Much: Austin on Norms of Truth.Jeffrey Hershfield - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (2):357-363.
    A principal challenge for a deflationary theory is to explain the value of truth: why we aim for true beliefs, abhor dishonesty, and so on. The problem arises because deflationism sees truth as a mere logical property and the truth predicate as serving primarily as a device of generalization. Paul Horwich, attempts to show how deflationism can account for the value of truth. Drawing on the work of J. L. Austin, I argue that his account, which focuses on belief, cannot (...)
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  • Compositionality II: Arguments and Problems.Peter Pagin - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (3):265-282.
    This is the second part of a two-part article on compositionality, i.e. the principle that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its parts and the way they are put together. In the first, Pagin and Westerståhl (2010), we provide a general historical background, a formal framework, definitions, and a survey of variants of compositionality. It will be referred to as Part I. Here we discuss arguments for and against the claim that natural languages have (...)
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  • How Use Theories of Meaning Can Accommodate Shared Meanings: A Modal Account of Semantic Deference.Antonio Rauti - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):285-303.
    Use theories of meaning (UTMs) seem ill-equipped to accommodate the intuition that ignorant but deferential speakers use natural kind terms (e.g. 'zinc') and technical expression (e.g. 'credit default swap') with the same meanings as the experts do. After all, their use deviates from the experts', and if use determines meaning, a deviant use ordinarily would determine a deviant meaning. Yet the intuition is plausible and advocates of UTMs believe it can be accommodated. I examine Gilbert Harman's and Paul Horwich's views, (...)
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  • Norms of Intentionality: Norms That Don't Guide.Benjamin Jarvis - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (1):1-25.
    More than ever, it is in vogue to argue that no norms either play a role in or directly follow from the theory of mental content. In this paper, I present an intuitive theory of intentionality (including a theory of mental content) on which norms are constitutive of the intentional properties of attitude and content in order to show that this trend is misguided. Although this theory of intentionality—the teleological theory of intentional representation—does involve a commitment to representational norms, these (...)
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  • Meaning as a Normative Concept.Gunnar Björnsson & Arvid Båve - 2007 - Theoria 73 (3):190-206.
    IN LATE SPRING 2007, professor Allan Gibbard gave the Hägerström Lectures at Uppsala University, Sweden, under the title of “Meaning as a Normative Concept”. He met up with Gunnar Björnsson and Arvid Båve to talk about the views he develops and defends in the lectures.
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  • A Deflationist Error Theory of Properties.Arvid Båve - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (1):23-59.
    I here defend a theory consisting of four claims about ‘property’ and properties, and argue that they form a coherent whole that can solve various serious problems. The claims are (1): ‘property’ is defined by the principles (PR): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property of x iff F’ and (PA): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property’; (2) the function of ‘property’ is to increase the expressive power of English, roughly by mimicking quantification into predicate position; (3) property talk should be understood at (...)
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  • Consequences of Pragmatic Conceptualism: On the Methodology Problem in Jurisprudence.Damiano Canale - 2009 - Ratio Juris 22 (2):171-186.
    Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to address some of the main issues of contemporary jurisprudential methodology by considering the contribution of Jules Coleman to this subject. After a description of Coleman's methodological approach and a clarification of its philosophical background, the paper focuses on some related problems, such as the relation between linguistic meaning and conceptual content, the nature of legal concepts, the different aspects of the normativity of content, and the revisability of conceptual truths.
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  • Partial Understanding and Concept Possession: A Dilemma.Víctor M. Verdejo & Xavier Donato Rodríguez - 2015 - Ratio 28 (2):153-162.
    In the light of partial understanding, we examine the thesis that concepts are individuated in terms of possession conditions and show that adherents face a fatal dilemma: Either concept-individuating possession conditions include cases of partially understood concepts or not. If yes, possession conditions do not individuate concepts. If no, the thesis is too restricted and lacks a minimally satisfactory level of generalization.
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  • The Quest for REALITY.Paul Horwich - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (1):5–16.
    A widespread concern within philosophy has been, and continues to be, to determine which domains of discourse address real, robust, not‐merely‐deflationary facts, and which do not. But a threat to the legitimacy of this concern is the extreme lack of consensus amongst philosophers on the question of how to tell whether or not a given domain is oriented towards ‘robust reality’. The present paper criticizes Kit Fine’s attempt to settle that question. This discussion is followed by some considerations suggesting that (...)
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  • The Many (yet Few) Faces of Deflationism.Jeremy Wyatt - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly (263):362-382.
    It's often said that according to deflationary theories of truth, truth is not a ‘substantial’ property. While this is a fine slogan, it is far from transparent what deflationists mean (or ought to mean) in saying that truth is ‘insubstantial’. Focusing so intently upon the concept of truth and the word ‘true’, I argue, deflationists and their critics have been insufficiently attentive to a host of metaphysical complexities that arise for deflationists in connection with the property of truth. My aim (...)
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  • Semantic Holism and Language Learning.Martin L. Jönsson - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):725-759.
    Holistic theories of meaning have, at least since Dummett’s Frege: The Philosophy of language, been assumed to be problematic from the perspective of the incremental nature of natural language learning. In this essay I argue that the general relationship between holism and language learning is in fact the opposite of that claimed by Dummett. It is only given a particular form of language learning, and a particular form of holism, that there is a problem at all; in general, for all (...)
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  • Truth and Meaning Redux.Ernie Lepore & Kirk Ludwig - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):251-77.
    In this paper, we defend Davidson's program in truth-theoretical semantics against recent criticisms by Scott Soames. We argue that Soames has misunderstood Davidson's project, that in consequence his criticisms miss the mark, that appeal to meanings as entities in the alternative approach that Soames favors does no work, and that the approach is no advance over truth-theoretic semantics.
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  • Truth as One(s) and Many: On Lynch's Alethic Functionalism.Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Douglas Edwards - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (3):213-230.
  • Direct Arguments for the Truth-Condition Theory of Meaning.William G. Lycan - 2010 - Topoi 29 (2):99-108.
    The truth-condition theory of meaning is, naturally, thought of an as explanatory theory whose explananda are the meaning facts. But there are at least two deductive arguments that purport to establish the truth of the theory irrespective of its explanatory virtues. This paper examines those arguments and concludes that they succeed.
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  • Modal Fictionalism, Possible Worlds, and Artificiality.Andrea Sauchelli - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (4):411-21.
    Accounts of modality in terms of fictional possible worlds face an objection based on the idea that when modal claims are analysed in terms of fictions, the connection between analysans and analysandum seems artificial. Strong modal fictionalism, the theory according to which modal claims are analysed in terms of a fiction, has been defended by, among others, Seahwa Kim, who has recently claimed that the philosophical objection that the connection between modality and fictions is artificial can be met. I propose (...)
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  • Representing as Adapting.Benjamin Jarvis - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (1):17-39.
    In this paper, I recommend a creature-level theory of representing. On this theory, a creature represents some entity just in case the creature adapts its behavior to that entity. Adapting is analyzed in terms of establishing new patterns of behavior. The theory of representing as adapting is contrasted with traditional causal and informational theories of mental representation. Moreover, I examine the theory in light of Putnam-Burge style externalism; I show that Putnam-Burge style externalism follows from and is explained by it. (...)
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  • Neo-Pragmatist (Practice-Based) Theories of Meaning.Ronald Loeffler - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):197-218.
    In recent years, several systematic theories of linguistic meaning have been offered that give pride of place to linguistic practice, or the process of linguistic communication. Often these theories are referred to as neo-pragmatist or new pragmatist; I call them 'practice-based'. According to practice-based theories of meaning, the process of linguistic communication is somehow constitutive of, or otherwise essential for the existence of, propositional linguistic meaning. Moreover, these theories disavow, or downplay, the semantic importance of inflationary notions of representation. I (...)
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  • What Do Deviant Logians Show About the Epistemology of Logic?Arthur Sullivan - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (2):179-191.
    What I will call “the deviant logician objection” [DLO] is one line of attack against the common and compelling tenet that our justification for logical truths is grounded in our understanding of their constituent concepts. This objection seeks to undermine the possibility of any deep constitutive connection, in the epistemology of logic, between understanding and justification. I will consider varieties of the deviant logician objection developed by Horwich and by Williamson. My thesis is that while the deviant logician objection falls (...)
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  • Can We Derive the Principle of Compositionality (If We Deflate Understanding)?Antonio Rauti - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):157-174.
    Paul Horwich has claimed that we can derive a certain form of the principle of compositionality from a deflationary account of what it is to understand a complex expression. If this were the case, we would realize a surprising theoretical economy, and if the derivation involved basic ideas from a use theory of meaning, we would have a novel argument for use theories of meaning. Horwich does not offer a detailed derivation. In this paper I reconstruct a possible derivation and (...)
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