Asymmetrical dependence between causal laws does not account for meaning

In V. Abrusci (ed.), Prospettive della Logica e della Filosofia della scienza. ETS. pp. 307-316 (1998)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In (1990), Jerry Fodor has defended a naturalized conception of meaning for Mentalese expressions which relies on the notion of asymmetric dependence. According to this conception, any naturalized theory of meaning must be able to account for the fact that meaning is robust, namely that any token of a certain Mentalese expression “x” retains the expression’s meaning, X, for any Y (≠ X) which happens to cause it. Now, this robustness of “x”‘s meaning can precisely be explained in terms of the subsistence of an asymmetric dependence of any nomic connection between Ys and “x”‘s tokens on another nomic connection between Xs and “x”‘s tokens. According to Fodor, then, this relation between nomic connections can account in perfectly naturalistic terms for “x” meaning X, by providing a sufficient condition for such a meaning. In what follows, however, I will try to show, first, that the subsistence of asymmetric dependencies of the kind envisaged by Fodor is not enough for assigning meaning to a certain expression. Indeed, there are dependencies of this kind which are meaning-irrelevant. Secondly, I will claim that asymmetric dependence relations are not able even to support for the robustness of meaning. For there are cases in which according to the structure of these relations we would have to conclude that meaning is altered although robustness would require to have it unchanged.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 78,094

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

3 (#1,326,792)

6 months
1 (#486,551)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Alberto Voltolini
Università degli Studi di Torino

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references