Word-Meaning and Opacity

Michael Morris

in The Good and the True

Published in print November 1992 | ISBN: 9780198239444
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679919 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

Word-Meaning and Opacity

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This chapter makes a programmatic showing how an evaluative theory of content can meet two constraints: the right substitution conditions for belief contexts, and what it is for words to be meaningful in the way they are. The chapter attempts to show in outline how to get fine-grained intensionality and a complete philosophy of language. Some constraints are imposed implicitly on how language must be thought of if the evaluative theory of content is correct. The chapter addresses the question of what words have to be doing in belief contexts if they are to be subject to the kind of rich intensionality which plausibility and conceptualism both require, and how it is that words can be subject to such constraints upon intersubstitution. It also defines concept-possession without explicitly relying on the idea of level-one opacity, and shows how little help a semantic theory can be in explaining opacity.

Keywords: evaluative theory of content; substitution conditions; intensionality; philosophy of language; plausibility; conceptualism; intersubstitution; concept-possession; opacity; semantic theory

Chapter.  18746 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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