Metasemantics, intentions and circularity

Synthese 195 (4):1667-1679 (2018)
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According to intentionalism, a demonstrative d refers to an object o only if the speaker intends d to refer to o. Intentionalism is a popular view in metasemantics, but Gauker has recently argued that it is circular. We defend intentionalism against this objection, by showing that Gauker’s argument rests on a misconstrual of the aim of metasemantics. We then introduce two related, but distinct circularity objections: the worry that intentionalism is uninformative, and the problem of intentional bootstrapping, according to which it is impossible to have referential intentions. We also show how intentionalists could respond to these new objections.



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Author Profiles

Lukas Lewerentz
Oxford University
Benjamin Marschall
Cambridge University

Citations of this work

Against the Speaker-Intention Theory of Demonstratives.Christopher Gauker - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (2):109-129.
Ways of Using Words: On Semantic Intentions.Emanuel Viebahn - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):93-117.

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References found in this work

Afterthoughts.David Kaplan - 1989 - In J. Almog, J. Perry & H. Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 565-614.
Speaker Intentions in Context.Jeffrey C. King - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):219-237.
The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning.Kenneth W. Kemp - 1988 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 24 (1):76-80.

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