Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty

Paul Horwich

in Reflections on Meaning

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199251247
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603983 | DOI:
 Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty

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This chapter considers the phenomenon of meaning from the perspective of Chomsky’s ‘I-linguistics’ and his empirical postulation of the ‘language faculty’. After a sketch of that model, the question is raised as to how meaning should be incorporated within it. In accord with the use-theoretic perspective of this book, an answer is developed whereby the association of I-sounds with I-meanings is achieved by virtue of the conceptual roles of those I-sounds, i.e., their basic acceptance-properties. It is shown that this picture compares favourably with various alternatives, including those suggested by Fodor’s mentalese, Davidson’s view of compositionality, naturalizations of the reference relation, and by Chomsky-style explicitly-represented definitions.

Keywords: Chomsky; I-linguistics; sounds; conceptual roles; basic acceptance-properties; Fodor; mentalese; Davidson; compositionality; reference

Chapter.  7443 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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