From Meaning to Content

In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning: Essays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2018)
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Abstract

According to a widespread picture due to Kaplan, there are two levels of semantic value: character and content. Character is determined by the grammar, and it determines content with respect to context. In this chapter Recanati criticizes that picture on several grounds. He shows that we need more than two levels, and rejects the determination thesis: that linguistic meaning as determined by grammar determines content. Grammatical meaning does not determine assertoric content, he argues, but merely constrains it — speaker’s meaning necessarily comes into play. On the alternative picture he offers, there are four basic levels, only one of which is determined by the grammar. Pragmatics is what enables the transition from each level to the next.

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Author's Profile

Francois Recanati
Institut Jean Nicod

References found in this work

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.
The Logical Basis of Metaphysics.Michael Dummett - 1991 - Harvard University Press.
Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Attitudes de dicto and de se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.

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