The excluded middle: Semantic minimalism without minimal propositions [Book Review]


Authors
Kent Bach
San Francisco State University
Abstract
Insensitive Semantics is mainly a protracted assault on semantic Contextualism, both moderate and radical. Cappelen and Lepore argue that Moderate Contextualism leads inevitably, like marijuana to heroin or masturbation to blindness, to Radical Contextualism and in turn that Radical Contextualism is misguided. Assuming that the only alternative to Contextualism is their Semantic Minimalism, they think they’ve given an indirect argument for it. But they overlook a third view, one that splits the difference between the other two. Like Contextualism it rejects Propositionalism, the conservative dogma that every indexicalfree declarative sentence expresses a proposition. Unlike Contextualism, it does not invoke context to fill semantic gaps and, indeed, denies that filling those gaps is a semantic matter. In rejecting Propositionalism, it is more radical, indeed, more minimalist than Cappelen and Lepore’s brand of Semantic Minimalism. It does not imagine that sentences that intuitively seem not to express propositions at least express “minimal propositions.” Radical Semantic Minimalism, or simply Radicalism, says that the sentences in question are semantically incomplete – their semantic contents are not propositions but merely “propositional radicals.”.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2006.tb00626.x
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The Metaphysics of Propositional Constituency.Lorraine Keller - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):655-678.
Recovering What Is Said With Empty Names.Gualtiero Piccinini & Sam Scott - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):239-273.

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