The paper explores the notion of communicative success as a match between the speaker's communicative intention and the audience's interpretation. The first part argues that it cannot be generalized to all kinds of communication. The second part characterizes various types of relations between the speaker's and the audience's beliefs on which this kind of communicative success can be based. It shows that the requirements concerning agreement between these beliefs are rather modest.
The first part pleads for the Fregean account of definite descriptions as expressions referring to the objects which satisfy them. In particular, it attempts to give a clear sense to the idea of a descriptionś referentially contributing to the truth conditions of the complete utterance, even if the Russellian specification of truth-conditions is accepted. The second part examines a special case in which a description can be thought of as referring to an object which does not satisfy it. This leads (...) to the general question of the role of agreement between the speakerś and the audienceś beliefs in the determination of reference and utterance meaning. The question is discussed from the point of view of the Davidsonian account of utterance meaning as constituted by the match between speakerś actual communicative intentions and audienceś hypotheses about these intentions. The third part provides arguments in favour of an alternative account of utterance meaning as a set of the normative consequences of the utterance and shows that a corresponding question makes sense even there. (shrink)
The author defends a combination of Strawson’s account of definite descriptions as devices of singular reference par excellence with the Russellian truth-evaluation of utterances of sentences with descriptions. The complex Russellian proposition is, according to the author’s view, introduced by such utterances into communication as a by-product of the instrumental side of an attempt to make a singular statement. This, precisely like the instrumental aspects of similar attempts exploiting names or demonstratives has to be reflected by analysis but should not (...) be confused with the communicative function of utterances. The success of all these attempts depends on the fulfilment of empirical conditions of various types, given by semantics of descriptions, names or demonstratives . But their communicative function does not consist in claiming that these conditions are fulfilled.The author agrees with Strawson that the first two conjuncts of the complex Russellian proposition are introduced into communication as presuppositions: but argues in favour of defining presupposition in normative, rather the intentional terms. (shrink)
The author confronts the common-sense realism with the linguistic constructivism . He argues that realism is compatible with the plurality of possible ways of speaking about the world, that it provides a good basis for the pragmatic account of language and passes the reflexivity test . On the contrary, constructivism fails in the last two respects. The confrontation of realism and constructivism on the epistemological level leads to analogical results. In his comments to Wrightś and Dummettś explications of the realist-antirealist (...) controversy, the author points out that the common-sense realism does not include committment to the non-epistemic notion of truth and to the bivalence-principle. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege's brief article Uber Sinn und Bedeutung (On Sense and Reference) has come to be seen, in the century since its publication in 1892, as one of the seminal texts of analytic philosophy. It, along with the rest of Frege's writings on logic and mathematics, came to mark out a whole new domain of inquiry and to set the agenda for it. This volume bears witness to the continuing importance and influence of that agenda. It contains original papers written (...) by leading Frege scholars for the conference held in 1992 in Karlovy Vary to celebrate the centenary of the publication of Frege's essay. The 14 essays show how the questions Frege discusses in that essay connect intimately with issues much debated in current philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. (shrink)