Article

Meaning: Foundational and Semantic Theories

Margaret Cameron

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379488
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195379488.013.0015

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Meaning: Foundational and Semantic Theories

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This article discusses theories of meaning. First, semantic theories are concerned with what the semantic value of a linguistic expression is. These are most basically characterized as theories of reference and/or semantic theories. Second, there are also foundational theories of meaning, which are concerned with how the linguistic expressions came to have their semantic values. Each type of theory of meaning asks a different question: the first asks what the semantic value of an expression is; the second asks how, or in virtue of which facts, linguistic expressions have their semantic values. The article presents an outline of medieval foundational semantics and examines the various semantic theories that were devised. It deals with one variety of linguistic expression, namely, names or common nouns.

Keywords: semantic theory; linguistic meaning; linguistic theory; semantic value; theories of meaning; common nouns

Article.  10851 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language

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