Semantic Possibility

In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 361-380 (2018)
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Abstract

This paper starts out from the idea that semantics is a “special science” whose aim, like that of chemistry or ecology, is to identify systematic, high-level patterns in a fundamentally physical world. I defend an approach to this task on which sentences are associated with with sets of possible worlds (of some kind). These sets of worlds, however, are not postulated for the compositional treatment of intensional contexts; they are not meant to capture what is intuitively asserted or communicated by an utterance; nor are they supposed to shed light on the cognitive processes that underlie out linguistic competence. Instead, their job description is to capture certain regularities in the interactions between subjects using the relevant language. I also raise some questions about how the relevant worlds might be construed.

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Wolfgang Schwarz
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

What Can You Say? Measuring the Expressive Power of Languages.Alexander Kocurek - 2018 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley

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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.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Logic of Decision.Richard C. Jeffrey - 1965 - New York, NY, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - London and New York: Routledge.

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