In Defense of Common Content

Philosophical Papers 29 (3):159-188 (2000)

Abstract

Abstract In this essay, I critically discuss a theory of utterance content and de re communication that Anne Bezuidenhout has recently developed in a series of articles. This theory regards the significance of utterances as more pragmatic in nature than allowed by traditional accounts; further, it downplays logical considerations in explaining de re communication, choosing instead to emphasize its psychological character. Included among the implications of this approach is the rejection of what can be called ?common content?, or utterance content that is held in common by speaker and listener. After describing this theory, I argue that Bezuidenhout does not supply a compelling reason to prefer her account of utterance content over more traditional alternatives that make room for elements of content held in common between speaker and listener. Further, I argue that her account of de re communication supplies even more reason to reject the view of content to which she subscribes. In the end, it will be clear that she has no principled reason for rejecting common content

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Michael O'Rourke
Michigan State University

References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
Conversational Impliciture.Kent Bach - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.

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