Chapter

Horwich on Meaning

Allan Gibbard

in Meaning and Normativity

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646074
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741968 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646074.003.0005
Horwich on Meaning

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Paul Horwich’s naturalistic theory of meaning expounded here happily eschews an unexplained notion of truth conditions. Meanings he explains via synonymy and deflation, with synonymy treated naturalistically. Context dependence, though, requires explaining coreference, so that truth and reference work correspondingly. Ideal use is on a par with truth in the explanatory burdens assumed. Horwich’s problem is to identify the role of meaning in psychology; meaning must be whatever plays this meaning role. As with many scientific explanations, Horwich’s idealizes, but multiple idealizations may be explanatory and ascribe different meanings. This Quine-like indeterminacy of meaning is illustrated by Newton’s and Einstein’s theories of mass. Oughts might remove some of this indeterminacy. Horwich explains some meanings with Ramsey sentences and Carnap conditionals, which is taken here as normative. Lessons are drawn that will apply to the book’s project.

Keywords: Horwich; meaning; truth conditions; synonymy; deflation; coreference; meaning role; indeterminacy of meaning; conditionals

Chapter.  8677 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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