Semantic Internalism and Externalism

Katalin Farkas

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552238
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577451 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Semantic Internalism and Externalism

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  • Philosophy of Language
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The function of certain expressions in the language is to refer to things, and expressions refer to things in virtue of their meaning. This is so obvious that it almost defies explanation or supporting argument. What we learn when we learn the meaning of the expression is precisely that it is used to talk about a certain thing. And if two expressions like the ‘Morning Star’ and the ‘Mont Blanc’ refer to different things, this must be in virtue of the difference in their meanings. Of course, there are names like ‘Pegasus’ which do not refer to anything, but this is also a consequence of their meaning; compare ‘Pegasus’ and ‘Bucephalus’.

Keywords: expressions of a language; meaning; expression; semantic internalism; externalism

Article.  9521 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language ; Metaphysics

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