Topoi 40 (1):147-169 (2021)

Authors
Abstract
According to standard assumptions in semantics, ordinary users of a language have implicit beliefs about the truth-conditions of sentences in that language, and they often agree on those beliefs. For example, it is assumed that if Anna and John are both competent users of English and the former utters ‘grass is green’ in conversation with the latter, they will both believe that that sentence is true if and only if grass is green. These assumptions play an important role in an intuitively compelling picture of communication, according to which successful communication through literal assertoric utterances is normally effected thanks to our shared beliefs about the truth-conditions of the sentences uttered in the course of the conversation. Against these standard assumptions, this paper argues that the participants in a conversation rarely have the same beliefs about the truth-conditions of the sentences involved in a linguistic interaction. More precisely, it argues for Variance, the thesis that nearly every utterance is such that there is no proposition which more than one language user believes to be that utterance’s truth-conditional content. If Variance is true, we must reject the standard picture of communication. Towards the end of the paper I identify three ways in which ordinary conversations can be communication-like despite the truth of Variance and argue that the most natural amendments to the standard picture fail to explain them.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11245-019-09648-3
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
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 Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.

View all 70 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Semantic Variance.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2018 - Dissertation, New York University
Meaning, Intentionality and Communication.Pierre Jacob - 2011 - In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 11--25.
The Truth About Moods.Kirk Ludwig - 1997 - ProtoSociology 10:19-66.
The Myth of Human Language.Peter Ludlow - 2006 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):385-400.
The Semantics of Implicit Content.Dan Zeman - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Barcelona
Language and Thought.Christopher Gauker - 1999 - A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind.
Centered Communication.Clas Weber - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):205-223.
Conditionals and Propositions in Semantics.Daniel Rothschild - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):781-791.
Inferential Role and the Ideal of Deductive Logic.Thomas Hofweber - unknown - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5.
Reasoning with Truth.Peter Roeper - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 39 (3):275-306.
An Inquiry Into Meaning.Nirmalya N. Chakraborty - 1992 - Dissertation, University of Waterloo (Canada)
Taking 'Might'‐Communication Seriously.Benjamin Lennertz - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (2):176-198.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-04-12

Total views
191 ( #54,720 of 2,448,685 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
30 ( #23,457 of 2,448,685 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes