Understanding, context-relativity, and the Description Theory

Analysis 59 (261):14-18 (1999)
I argue that it follows from a very plausible principle concerning understanding that the truth of an ascription of understanding is context-relative. I use this to defend an account of lexical meaning according to which full understanding of a natural kind term or name requires knowing informative, uniquely identifying information about its referent. This point undermines Putnam-style 'elm-beech' arguments against the description theory of names and natural kind terms.
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DOI 10.1111/1467-8284.00142
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