Prospects for an Expressivist Theory of Meaning

Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-43 (2015)

Abstract

Advocates of Expressivism about basically any kind of language are best-served by abandoning a traditional content-centric approach to semantic theorizing, in favor of an update-centric or dynamic approach (or so this paper argues). The type of dynamic approach developed here — in contrast to the content-centric approach — is argued to yield canonical, if not strictly classical, "explanations" of the core semantic properties of the connectives. (The cases on which I focus most here are negation and disjunction.) I end the paper by describing a distinctive sense in which mental states might play a fundamental role in the practice of semantic theorizing (as I understand it), and I connect this to a distinctive account of the pragmatic function of, e.g., a normatively laden claim in discourse.

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Author's Profile

Nate Charlow
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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The Moral Problem.Michael Smith (ed.) - 1994 - Wiley.
Change in View: Principles of Reasoning.Gilbert Harman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work

Grading Modal Judgement.Nate Charlow - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):769-807.
Content in a Dynamic Context.Una Stojnić - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):394-432.
Semantic expressivism for epistemic modals.Peter Hawke & Shane Steinert-Threlkeld - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (2):475-511.
Epistemic Multilateral Logic.Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - 2020 - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-32.
Speech Acts: The Contemporary Theoretical Landscape.Daniel W. Harris, Daniel Fogal & Matt Moss - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Matt Moss & Daniel Harris (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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