Article

Two-Dimensional Semantics

Cara J. Spencer

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0156
Two-Dimensional Semantics

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Two-dimensional (2-D) modal logic provides a semantic framework for natural language expressions whose reference systematically varies with context of use, such as indexical pronouns and other expressions that seem to display a similar context sensitivity. Understanding specific uses of such expressions requires both linguistic and nonlinguistic knowledge—knowledge of the meaning of the expression as well as the context in which it is used, and some have argued that the 2-D framework helps distinguish between both sorts of knowledge. The framework has also been brought to bear in debates that turn on how we distinguish knowledge of language from knowledge of the rest of the world, such as the debate over the existence and proper understanding of contingent a priori and necessary a posteriori knowledge and the distinction between internalist and externalist approaches to a variety of philosophical issues (about, for example, belief content). Two-dimensional semantics is less a topic of contemporary philosophical debate than a technical framework for addressing a variety of questions. Philosophical controversies about two-dimensionalism generally concern the assumptions behind its various applications rather than the framework itself, although there are also disagreements about whether the framework illuminates a particular issue. Sometimes those on one side of a debate use the framework, while those on the other side do not. In these cases, this article focuses on work that uses or discusses the 2-D framework explicitly. Different philosophers who use the 2-D framework have also used different terms to refer to the propositions of interest that we can recover from a 2-D matrix. This bibliography will uniformly use R. C. Stalnaker’s terminology: the horizontal proposition associated with an utterance u is the set of worlds w in which u, as uttered in the actual world, is true in w. The diagonal proposition associated with that same utterance is the set of worlds w in which u, as uttered in w, is true in w.

Article.  6699 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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