Semantic Theories

Edited by Aran Arslan (Bogazici University, Koc University)
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  1. Book Review: Semantics, Metasemantics, Aboutness. [REVIEW]Theptawee Chokvasin - 2017 - Suranaree Journal of Social Science 11:163-165.
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  2. On Wyatt's Absolutist Account of Faultless Disagreement in Matters of Personal Taste.Mihai Hîncu & Dan Zeman - 2021 - Theoria 87 (5):1322-1341.
    Theoria, Volume 87, Issue 5, Page 1322-1341, October 2021.
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  3. The Co-Ascription of Ordered Lexical Pairs: A Cognitive-Science-Based Semantic Theory of Meaning and Reference: Part 2.Thomas Johnston - manuscript
    (1) This is Part 2 of the semantic theory I call TM. In Part 1, I developed TM as a theory in the analytic philosophy of language, in lexical semantics, and in the sociology of relating occasions of statement production and comprehension to formal and informal lexicographic conclusions about statements and lexical items – roughly, as showing how synchronic semantics is a sociological derivative of diachronic, person-relative acts of linguistic behavior. I included descriptions of new cognitive psychology experimental paradigms which (...)
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  4. Une critique constructive de la théorie de la vérité de Mario Bunge.David Martín Solano - 2021 - Mεtascience 2:à par. aux Éd. Matériologiques.
    La vérité est le degré d’exactitude d’une représentation de la réalité. Nous postulons trois étapes cognitives : le psychon, produit par la perception ; le construit, produit par intellection; et l’acte de parole, produit par la communication. La vérité se trouve à la seconde étape; seuls les construits sont aléthiques. La vérité est une qualité qui vient en degrés. La certitude est le point d’aboutissement parfait et inaccessible de cette gradation ; il s’agit donc d’un concept idéal. Une thèse est (...)
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  5. Who’s Your Ideal Listener?Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):257-270.
    It is increasingly common for philosophers to rely on the notion of an idealised listener when explaining how the semantic values of context-sensitive expressions are determined. Some have identified the semantic values of such expressions, as used on particular occasions, with whatever an appropriately idealised listener would take them to be. Others have argued that, for something to count as the semantic value, an appropriately idealised listener should be able to recover it. Our aim here is to explore the range (...)
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  6. A Constructive Critique of Mario Bunge’s Theory of Truth.David Martín Solano - 2021 - Mεtascience 2:online.
    Truth is the degree of accuracy when representing reality. We postulate three cognitive stages: the psychon, produced by perception; the construct, produced by intellection; and the speech act, produced by communication. Truth lies in the second; only constructs are alethic. Truth is a quality which takes place in degrees. Certainty is the unreachable perfect tip of this gradation, so it is an ideal concept. A thesis is deemed true if its alethical degree is acceptably efficacious, otherwise the thesis is deemed (...)
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  7. A Rich-Lexicon Theory of Slurs and Their Uses.Dan Zeman - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I present data involving the use of the Romanian slur "țigan", consideration of which leads to the postulation of a sui-generis, irreducible type of use of slurs ("identificatory"). This type of use is potentially problematic for extant theories of slurs. In addition, together with other well-established uses (derogatory, appropriated etc.), it shows that there is more variation in the use of slurs than previously acknowledged. I explain this variation by construing slurs as polysemous. To implement this idea, (...)
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  8. The Logicality of Language: Contextualism Vs. Semantic Minimalism.Guillermo Del Pinal - forthcoming - Mind.
    The Logicality of Language is the hypothesis that the language system has access to a `natural' logic that can identify and filter out as unacceptable expressions that have trivial meanings---i.e., that are true/false in all possible worlds or situations in which they are defined. This hypothesis helps explain otherwise puzzling patterns concerning the distribution of various functional terms and phrases. Despite its promise, Logicality vastly over-generates unacceptability assignments. Most solutions to this problem rest on specific stipulations about the properties of (...)
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  9. Schopenhauer Diagrams for Conceptual Analysis.Michał Dobrzański & Jens Lemanski - 2020 - In Diagrammatic Representation and Inference 11th International Conference, Diagrams 2020, Tallinn, Estonia, August 24–28, 2020, Proceedings. Basel: Springer. pp. 281-288.
    In his Berlin Lectures of the 1820s, the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) used spatial logic diagrams for philosophy of language. These logic diagrams were applied to many areas of semantics and pragmatics, such as theories of concept formation, concept development, translation theory, clarification of conceptual disputes, etc. In this paper we first introduce the basic principles of Schopenhauer’s philosophy of language and his diagrammatic method. Since Schopenhauer often gives little information about how the individual diagrams are to be understood, (...)
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  10. How the Philosophy of Language Grew Out of Analytic Philosophy.Daniel W. Harris - forthcoming - In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Cambridge University Press.
    This chapter tells the story of how the philosophy of language, as it exists now, grew out of work in the history of analytic philosophy. I pay particular attention to the history of semantics, to debates about propositional content, and to the origins of contemporary pragmatics and speech-act theory. I identify an overarching narrative: Many of the ideas that are now used to understand natural language on its own terms were originally developed not for this purpose, but as methodological tools (...)
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  11. Davidson’s Wittgenstein.Ali Hossein Khani - 2020 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 8 (5):1-26.
    Although the later Wittgenstein appears as one of the most influential figures in Davidson’s later works on meaning, it is not, for the most part, clear how Davidson interprets and employs Wittgenstein’s ideas. In this paper, I will argue that Davidson’s later works on meaning can be seen as mainly a manifestation of his attempt to accommodate the later Wittgenstein’s basic ideas about meaning and understanding, especially the requirement of drawing the seems right/is right distinction and the way this requirement (...)
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  12. Really Complex Demonstratives: A Dilemma.Ethan Nowak - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    I have two aims for the present paper, one narrow and one broad. The narrow aim is to show that a class of data originally described by Lynsey Wolter empirically undermine the leading treatments of complex demonstratives that have been described in the literature. The broader aim of the paper is to show that Wolter demonstratives, as I will call the constructions I focus on, are a threat not just to existing treatments, but to any possible theory that retains the (...)
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  13. Space as a Semantic Unit of a Language Consciousness.Vitalii Shymko & Anzhela Babadzhanova - 2020 - Psycholinguistics 27 (1):335-350.
    Objective. Conceptualization of the definition of space as a semantic unit of language consciousness. -/- Materials & Methods. A structural-ontological approach is used in the work, the methodology of which has been tested and applied in order to analyze the subject matter area of psychology, psycholinguistics and other social sciences, as well as in interdisciplinary studies of complex systems. Mathematical representations of space as a set of parallel series of events (Alexandrov) were used as the initial theoretical basis of the (...)
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  14. Language and Scientific Explanation: Where Does Semantics Fit In?Eran Asoulin - 2020 - Berlin, Germany: Language Science Press.
    This book discusses the two main construals of the explanatory goals of semantic theories. The first, externalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of a hermeneutic and interpretive explanatory project. The second, internalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of the psychological mechanisms in virtue of which meanings are generated. It is argued that a fruitful scientific explanation is one that aims to uncover the underlying mechanisms in virtue of which the observable phenomena are made possible, and that a scientific (...)
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  15. Slurs and Register: A Case Study in Meaning Pluralism.Justina Diaz-Legaspe, Chang Liu & Robert J. Stainton - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):156-182.
    Most theories of slurs fall into one of two families: those which understand slurring terms to involve special descriptive/informational content (however conveyed), and those which understand them to encode special emotive/expressive content. Our view is that both offer essential insights, but that part of what sets slurs apart is use-theoretic content. In particular, we urge that slurring words belong at the intersection of a number of categories in a sociolinguistic register taxonomy, one that usually includes [+slang] and [+vulgar] and always (...)
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  16. What is a Slur?Justina Diaz-Legaspe - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1399-1422.
    Although there seems to be an agreement on what slurs are, many authors diverge when it comes to classify some words as such. Hence, many debates would benefit from a technical definition of this term that would allow scholars to clearly distinguish what counts as a slur and what not. Although the paper offers different definitions of the term in order to allow the reader to choose her favorite, I claim that ‘slurs’ is the name given to a grammatical category, (...)
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  17. The Philosophy of Linguistics: Scientific Underpinnings and Methodological Disputes.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
    This article surveys the philosophical literature on theoretical linguistics. The focus of the paper is centred around the major debates in the philosophy of linguistics, past and present, with specific relation to how they connect to the philosophy of science. Specific issues such as scientific realism in linguistics, the scientific status of grammars, the methodological underpinnings of formal semantics, and the integration of linguistics into the larger cognitive sciences form the crux of the discussion.
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  18. Book Review: The Greatest Possible Being by Jeff Speaks. [REVIEW]Katherin Rogers - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (4):213-219.
  19. Slurs Are Directives.Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19:1-28.
    Recent work on the semantics and pragmatics of slurs has explored a variety of ways of explaining their potential to derogate, with the most popular family of approaches appealing to either: (i), the doxastic or evaluative attitudes or commitments expressed by — or (ii), the propositions concerning such attitudes or commitments semantically or pragmatically communicated by — the speakers who use them. I begin by arguing that no such speaker-oriented approach can be correct. I then propose an alternative treatment of (...)
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  20. Non-Relational Intentionality.Justin D'Ambrosio - 2017 - Dissertation, Yale University
    This dissertation lays the foundation for a new theory of non-relational intentionality. The thesis is divided into an introduction and three main chapters, each of which serves as an essential part of an overarching argument. The argument yields, as its conclusion, a new account of how language and thought can exhibit intentionality intrinsically, so that representation can occur in the absence of some thing that is represented. The overarching argument has two components: first, that intentionality can be profi tably studied (...)
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  21. The Dialogical Entailment Task.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2019 - Cognition:104010.
    In this paper, a critical discussion is made of the role of entailments in the so-called New Paradigm of psychology of reasoning based on Bayesian models of rationality (Elqayam & Over, 2013). It is argued that assessments of probabilistic coherence cannot stand on their own, but that they need to be integrated with empirical studies of intuitive entailment judgments. This need is motivated not just by the requirements of probability theory itself, but also by a need to enhance the interdisciplinary (...)
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  22. Theory Without Practice is Empty; Practice Without Theory is Blind: The Inherent Inseparability of Doctrine and Skills.Harold Anthony Lloyd - 2017 - In Linda H. Edwards (ed.), The Doctrine Skills Divide: Legal Education's Self-Inflicted Wound. Durham, NC, USA: pp. 77-90.
    This article maintains that the so-called theory-practice divide in legal education is not only factually false but semantically impossible. -/- As to the divide's falsity, practitioners have of course performed excellent scholarship and academics have excelled in practice. As to the divide's semantic impossibility, this article examines, among other things: -/- (1) the essential role of experience in meaning, -/- (2) the resulting inseparability of theory and practice in the world of experience, -/- (3) problems the divide shares in common (...)
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  23. The Logicality of Language: A New Take on Triviality, “Ungrammaticality”, and Logical Form.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):785-818.
    Recent work in formal semantics suggests that the language system includes not only a structure building device, as standardly assumed, but also a natural deductive system which can determine when expressions have trivial truth-conditions (e.g., are logically true/false) and mark them as unacceptable. This hypothesis, called the `logicality of language', accounts for many acceptability patterns, including systematic restrictions on the distribution of quantifiers. To deal with apparent counter-examples consisting of acceptable tautologies and contradictions, the logicality of language is often paired (...)
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  24. Cancellation, Negation, and Rejection.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen, Peter Collins, Karolina Krzyżanowska, Ulrike Hahn & Karl Christoph Klauer - 2019 - Cognitive Psychology 108:42-71.
    In this paper, new evidence is presented for the assumption that the reason-relation reading of indicative conditionals ('if A, then C') reflects a conventional implicature. In four experiments, it is investigated whether relevance effects found for the probability assessment of indicative conditionals (Skovgaard-Olsen, Singmann, and Klauer, 2016a) can be classified as being produced by a) a conversational implicature, b) a (probabilistic) presupposition failure, or c) a conventional implicature. After considering several alternative hypotheses and the accumulating evidence from other studies as (...)
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  25. Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen '(Nicht-)Metaphysik' der Religion: (Anti-)Realismus, (Non-)Kognitivismus und die religiöse Imagination.Amber Griffioen - 2016 - In Rico Gutschmidt & Thomas Rentsch (eds.), Gott ohne Theismus. Münster, Germany: pp. 127-147.
    In this chapter, I first explore the possible meanings of the expression 'non-metaphysical religion' and its relation to the realism and cognitivism debates (as well as these debates' relation to each other). I then sketch out and defend the germs of an alternative semantics for religious language that I call 'religious imaginativism'. This semantics attempts to move us away from the realism-antirealism debates in Philosophy of Religion and in this sense might count as 'non-metaphysical'. At the same time, it allows (...)
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  26. Is Meaning Holism Compatible with Semantic Minimalism?Filip Kawczyński - 2017 - Studia Semiotyczne 31 (2):53-75.
    Meaning Holism and Contextualism are standardly acknowledged to be similar relativistic theories that often lead to similar troubles, in particular to issues concerning instability. On the other hand, the main rival of Contextualism, which is Minimalism, is taken to be resistant to these problems. In effect, it seems inevitable to see Meaning Holism and Minimalism as natural enemies. In my paper, I attempt to reject such a view. My argumentation consists of three main parts. First, I argue that Minimalism does (...)
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  27. Normalizing Slurs and Out‐Group Slurs: The Case of Referential Restriction.Justina Diaz Legaspe - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (2):234-255.
    The relation between slurs and their neutral counterparts has been put into question recently by the fact that some slurs can be used to refer to subsets of the referential classes determined by their associated counterparts. This paper aims to reinforce this relation by offering a way of explaining referential restriction that distinguishes between two kinds of slurs: those performing a normalizing role upon (some) individuals inside a class (mostly, a gender) and those used to derogate a marginalized out- group.
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  28. Meaning, Modulation, and Context: A Multidimensional Semantics for Truth-Conditional Pragmatics.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (2):165-207.
    The meaning that expressions take on particular occasions often depends on the context in ways which seem to transcend its direct effect on context-sensitive parameters. ‘Truth-conditional pragmatics’ is the project of trying to model such semantic flexibility within a compositional truth-conditional framework. Most proposals proceed by radically ‘freeing up’ the compositional operations of language. I argue, however, that the resulting theories are too unconstrained, and predict flexibility in cases where it is not observed. These accounts fall into this position because (...)
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  29. Concept Originalism, Reference-Shift and Belief Reports.Seyed N. Mousavian & Mohammad Saleh Zarepour - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):269-285.
    Concept originalism, recently introduced and defended by Sainsbury and Tye, Tye, and Sainsbury, holds that “atomic concepts are to be individuated by their historical origins, as opposed to their semantic or epistemic properties”. The view is immune to Gareth Evans’s “Madagascar” objection to the Causal Theory of Reference since it allows a concept to change its reference over time without losing its identity. The possibility of reference-shift, however, raises the problem of misleading belief reports. S&T try to tackle the problem (...)
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  30. Review of Imagination and Convention: Distinguishing Grammar and Inference in Language, by Ernie Lepore and Matthew Stone. [REVIEW]Daniel W. Harris - 2017 - Philosophical Review Current Issue 126 (4):554-558.
  31. Precis of Aboutness.Stephen Yablo - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):771-777.
    A lightning fast summary of Yablo, Aboutness, cutting many corners in the interests of brevity. The emphasis is on “ways.” Substituting “ways for S to be true” in for “worlds in which S is true” improves a number of philosophical explanations. The subject matter of S is identified with S’s ways of holding in a world, or failing, as the case may be. S contains T iff T is implied by S, and T’s ways of being true are implied by (...)
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  32. Readings in Semantics.Farhang Zabeeh, E. D. Klemke & Arthur Jacobson - 1976 - Foundations of Language 14 (4):621-624.
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  33. Herbert Hart and the Semantic Sting: Timothy A.O. Endicott.Timothy Endicott - 1998 - Legal Theory 4 (3):283-300.
    Even to disagree, we need to understand each other. If I reject what you say without understanding you, we will only have the illusion of a disagreement. You will be asserting one thing and I will be denying another. Even to disagree, we need some agreement.
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  34. A New Approach to Semantics – Part I.John G. Kemeny - 1956 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 21:1.
  35. The Reference Book. By John Hawthorne and David Manley.Gary Kemp - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (253):827-830.
    © 2013 The Editors of The Philosophical QuarterlyMany moons ago, Bertrand Russell thought of reference in epistemic terms: to mean an object—to refer to it—one had to be acquainted with it; for it is ‘scarcely conceivable’ that one should judge without knowing what one is judging about. The rest of the relation between language and the world is conceived as denoting, a feature of linguistic expressions and bits of the world which crucially holds or fails to hold without affecting the (...)
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  36. Context for Meaning and Analysis: A Critical Study in the Philosophy of Language. [REVIEW]Michael Wreen - 1997 - Erkenntnis 46 (3):401-405.
  37. Semantic Intentions and Linguistic Structure: Comments on Schiffer's Paper: "Intention-Based Semantics".Richard E. Grandy - 1982 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 23:327-332.
  38. Reference and Reflexivity.Eros Corazza - 2003 - Mind 112 (445):171-175.
  39. II—Hyperintensional Truth Conditions.Gary Kemp - 2014 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 88 (1):57-68.
    A response to certain parts of Rumfitt : I defend Davidson's project in semantics, suggest that Rumfitt's use of sentential quantification renders his definition of truth needlessly elaborate, and pose a question for Rumfitt's handling of the strengthened Liar.
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  40. Carnapian and Tarskian Semantics.Pierre Wagner - 2017 - Synthese 194 (1):97-119.
    Many papers have been devoted to the semantic turn Carnap took in the late 1930s after Tarski had explained to him his method for defining truth and his work on the establishment of scientific semantics. Commentators have often argued that the major turn in Carnap’s approach to languages had already been taken in the Logical Syntax of Language, but they have usually assumed that Carnap was happy to subsequently follow Tarski and adopt Tarskian semantics. In this paper, it is argued (...)
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  41. Hesperus and Phosphorus: Sense, Pretense, and Reference.Mark Crimmins - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (1):1-47.
    In “On Sense and Reference,” surrounding his discussion of how we describe what people say and think, identity is Frege’s first stop and his last. We will follow Frege’s plan here, but we will stop also in the land of make-believe.
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  42. The Logic of Inconsistency. A Study in Non-Standard Possible-World Semantics and Ontology. [REVIEW]G. W. R. - 1982 - Review of Metaphysics 35 (3):627-629.
    This work is a study in the new field of paraconsistent logics. The authors attempt to give a formal characterization of the notions of indeterminate possible worlds and inconsistent possible worlds. The characterization works by constructing the non-standard worlds out of combinations of standard possible worlds either by taking those statements as true in a non-standard world which are true in both of two standard worlds, which generates indeterminate worlds, or by taking those statements as true in a non-standard world (...)
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  43. Meaning, Truth Conditions and the Internal Point of View: The Ethical Dilemma.Ch Goossens - 1989 - Philosophical Inquiry 11 (3/4):27-45.
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  44. Temporal Externalism and Epistemic Theories of Vagueness.Henry Jackman - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:77-83.
    'Epistemic' accounts of vagueness argue that so called 'borderline' cases of a term actually always do fall within that term's extension. What makes the case borderline is that this fact may be unknowable. Such epistemic theories have traditionally been taken to be unable to accommodate the intuitive connection between meaning and use. However, it will be argued here that if one endorses a type of 'Temporal Externalism' about meaning, then one can both endorse epistemic accounts of vagueness and hold on (...)
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  45. A General Argument Against Structured Propositions.Peter Pagin - 2019 - Synthese 196 (4):1501-1528.
    The standard argument against ordered tuples as propositions is that it is arbitrary what truth-conditions they should have. In this paper we generalize that argument. Firstly, we require that propositions have truth-conditions intrinsically. Secondly, we require strongly equivalent truth-conditions to be identical. Thirdly, we provide a formal framework, taken from Graph Theory, to characterize structure and structured objects in general. The argument in a nutshell is this: structured objects are too fine-grained to be identical to truth-conditions. Without identity, there is (...)
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  46. Motivating the Relevance Approach to Conditionals.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (5):555-579.
    The aim is to motivate theoretically a relevance approach to conditionals in a comparative discussion of the main alternatives. In particular, it will be argued that a relevance approach to conditionals is better motivated than the suppositional theory currently enjoying wide endorsement. In the course of this discussion, an argument will be presented for why failures of the epistemic relevance of the antecedent for the consequent should be counted as genuine semantic defects. Furthermore, strategies for dealing with compositionality and the (...)
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  47. Cognitive Propositions.Stephen Schiffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2551-2563.
    Soames's new theory of "cognitive propositions" is presented and several prima facie objections are presented to it.
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  48. Meaning, Reference and Necessity: New Studies in Semantics.Simon Blackburn (ed.) - 1975 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    A volume of studies in philosophical logic by a group of younger philosophers in the UK. There is a core of problems in the theory of meaning which have been accorded a central importance by philosophers, logicians and theoretical linguists, and which have stimulated some of the most powerful and original work in these subjects. The contributors to the volume have a common interest in these topics, insist on their continuing and fundamental importance, and offer here a distinctive and original (...)
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  49. Meaning and Modality.Casimir Lewy - 1976 - Cambridge University Press.
    A study of various central and connected topics in philosophical logic and the theory of meaning. There are important sections on the relation between linguistic and abstract entities, on necessity and convention, on meaning, sense and reference, and on entailment. Dr Lewy proposes a number of original solutions to problems which have been widely discussed in literature, and there is in particular a sharp and sustained criticism of conventionalism and reductionism. These are among the most difficult and intricate issues in (...)
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  50. Semantic Innocence and Substitutivity.Paul Egré - 2007 - In María José Frápolli (ed.), Saying, Meaning and Referring: Essays on François Recanati's Philosophy of Language. Palgrave-Macmillan.
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