Synthese 189 (1):75-96 (2012)

Authors
Brian Rabern
University of Edinburgh
Abstract
This essay investigates whether or not we should think that the things we say are identical to the things our sentences mean. It is argued that these theoretical notions should be distinguished, since assertoric content does not respect the compositionality principle. As a paradigmatic example, Kaplan's formal language LD is shown to exemplify a failure of compositionality. It is demonstrated that by respecting the theoretical distinction between the objects of assertion and compositional values certain conflicts between compositionality and contextualism are avoided. This includes the conflict between eternalism and the semantics of tense, the embedding problems for contextualism about epistemic modals and taste claims, and the conflict between direct reference and the semantics of bound pronouns (and monstrous operators). After presenting the theoretical picture which distinguishes assertoric content from compositional semantic value, some objections to the picture are addressed. In so doing, the objection from King (2003) stemming from apparent complications with the interaction of temporal expressions and attitude reports is assessed and shown to be non-threatening.
Keywords Propositions  Monsters  Embedding   Semantics  Assertoric content  Direct reference   Compositionality  Contextualism
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0096-9
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References found in this work BETA

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
The Logical Basis of Metaphysics.Michael DUMMETT - 1991 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Monsters and the Theoretical Role of Context.Brian Rabern & Derek Ball - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):392-416.
Semantics and Metasemantics in the Context of Generative Grammar.Seth Yalcin - 2014 - In Alexis Burgess & Brett Sherman (eds.), Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 17-54.
No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (2):189-220.
Monsters in Kaplan’s Logic of Demonstratives.Brian Rabern - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):393-404.
Content in a Dynamic Context.Una Stojnić - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):394-432.

View all 55 citations / Add more citations

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