Solipsistic Semantics

Ernest Lepore and Barry Loewer

in Meaning, Mind, and Matter

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580781
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595264 | DOI:
Solipsistic Semantics

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This chapter explores Cartesian and more contemporary motivations for the view that there must be an internalist semantics for mental representations, including arguments that are intended to show various natural language expressions possess internalist semantics. The conclusion is that that semantics for English is so thoroughly externalist that even if thoughts have internalist contents they cannot be expressed in English. It is then argued that the most plausible theories of meaning for mental representations are also externalist. This discussion results in an apparent dilemma. There are Cartesian intuitions and other motivations for thinking that thoughts possess an internalist semantics but there are arguments that seem to show our usual ways of characterizing thought contents is externalist. The chapter concludes with some tentative remarks on how these two views might be reconciled.

Keywords: solipsist semantics; internalist semantics; mental representations; Cartesian intuitions

Chapter.  10384 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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