Compositionality and Understanding

ProtoSociology 31:50-58 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Contemporary debates on the principle of compositionality provoke a perplexing problem about its import on natural language. Whether the principle of compositionality makes any substantial constraints on the meaningfulness of natural language has an indeterminate answer. In this paper, I try to argue against the principle of compositionality for natural language by considering its significance for understanding. Part one is a general survey of the principle of compositionality pertaining to the meaning of a complex expression; and in part two, I will focus on the issue of understanding a sentence or more complex expression, pointing out that principle of compositionality is neither sufficient nor necessary for understanding, even though compositionality is true for natural language, it is trivial and useless; the final part aims to criticize the principle of compositionality from its underspecification of meaning, which is at odds with our general idea of the representational feature of natural language and the hypothesis of isomorphism among mind, language and reality.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,261

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Frege, contextuality and compositionality.Theo M. V. Janssen - 2001 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 10 (1):115-136.
Communication and strong compositionality.Peter Pagin - 2003 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 32 (3):287-322.
The Myth of Reverse Compositionality.Philip Robbins - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (2):251-275.
Compositionality up to Parameters.Alberto Peruzzi - 2005 - ProtoSociology 21:41-66.
The Many Faces of Semantic Compositionality.Antonio Zeno Rauti - 2000 - Dissertation, University of California, Riverside
Compositionality and Structured Propositions.Lorraine Juliano Keller & John A. Keller - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):313-323.
Is Compositionality a Trivial Principle?Richard Heck - 2013 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 8 (1):140-55.


Added to PP

14 (#995,076)

6 months
3 (#984,770)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Fei YuGuo
Wuhan University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references