Pseudo‐Constraints on an Adequate Account of Meaning

Paul Horwich

in Meaning

Published in print December 1998 | ISBN: 9780198238249
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597725 | DOI:
 Pseudo‐Constraints on an Adequate Account of Meaning

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A good theory must explain (1) the possibility of knowing what words mean; (2) the nature of the relation, ‘x means y’; (3) the fact that language can be used to represent reality; (4) the epistemological import of understanding; (5) compositionality—i.e. the dependence of the meanings of sentences on the meanings of their component words; (6) the normative character of meaning; and (7) the explanatory and evidential relations between the meaning of a word and its deployment. It is argued that these constraints have often been imposed in unreasonably inflated forms but that they can be satisfied, when properly understood, by a neo‐Wittgensteinian use theory of meaning.

Keywords: compositionality; meaning; normativity; representation; understanding; use; Wittgenstein

Chapter.  11388 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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