We live forwards but understand backwards: Linguistic practices and future behavior

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (2):157-177 (1999)
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Abstract

Ascriptions of content are sensitive not only to our physical and social environment, but also to unforeseeable developments in the subsequent usage of our terms. This paper argues that the problems that may seem to come from endorsing such 'temporally sensitive' ascriptions either already follow from accepting the socially and historically sensitive ascriptions Burge and Kripke appeal to, or disappear when the view is developed in detail. If one accepts that one's society's past and current usage contributes to what one's terms mean, there is little reason not to let its future usage to do so as well.

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Henry Jackman
York University

Citations of this work

Linguistic Interventions and Transformative Communicative Disruption.Rachel Katharine Sterken - 2020 - In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 417-434.
Semantic Plasticity and Speech Reports.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (3):281-338.
Relativism, metasemantics, and the future.Derek Ball - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (9-10):1036-1086.
Intuitions.James Andow - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):232-246.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Taking Rights Seriously.Ronald Dworkin (ed.) - 1977 - Duckworth.
Individualism and the mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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