Semiotica 2021 (240):317-334 (2021)

Filip Kawczyński
University of Warsaw
In this paper I investigate the nature of the relation between meaning-interdependence and analyticity. The theory within which meaning-interdependence reaches its peak and becomes omnipresent is meaning holism, according to which every two expressions are meaning-interdependent. A lot of people reject holism partially due to the impression that the theory leads to the picture in which language is self-sufficient in the sense that it is nothing but a game of meanings which is detached from reality. What stands behind that impression is probably something along the lines: analyticity stems from meaning-interdependence, so if all expressions are meaning-interdependent, then everything appears analytic. I defend holism from this kind of objection. I start with showing that analyticity traditionally understood cannot pour over language within holism, because it is not applicable to the theory at all. Then, I argue that adopting some weaker notion of analyticity leads to the ubiquity of analyticity indeed, but analyticity so understood is too weak to actually endanger holism. Finally, I demonstrate that the problems with analyticity appear only when meaning-interdependence is treated in extremely superficial way. I also propose a very simple hierarchy of meaning-interdependence, based on Pagin’s total-pair holism, which immediately repeal the ‘ubiquitous analyticity’ problem.
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DOI 10.1515/sem-2021-0010
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