Hume Studies 32 (2):233-252 (2006)

Walter Ott
University of Virginia
Hume’s views on language have been widely misunderstood. Typical discussions cast Hume as either a linguistic idealist who holds that words refer to ideas or a proto-verificationist. I argue that both readings are wide of the mark and develop my own positive account. Humean signification emerges as a relation whereby a word can both indicate ideas in the mind of the speaker and cause us to have those ideas. If I am right, Hume offers a consistent view on meaning that is neither linguistic idealism nor positivism but a genuine alternative to these, one that deserves to be taken seriously
Keywords Hume  meaning  signification  positivism
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ISBN(s) 0319-7336
DOI hume20063222
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A Puzzle About Fictions in the Treatise.Jonathan Cottrell - 2016 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (1):47-73.
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Hume's Dual Criteria for Memory.Maité Cruz - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2):336-358.
What Can Causal Claims Mean?Walter Ott - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (3):459-470.

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