The monist: Vol. 96, No. 2, April 2012.
Formal Semantics and Wittgenstein: An Alternative? MARTIN STOKHOF
This paper discusses a number of methodological issues with mainstream formal semantics and then investigates whether Wittgenstein's later work provides an alternative approach that is able to avoid these issues. The paper starts with a discussion of core assumptions of the standard model of formal semantics, in particular methodological individualism and methodological psychologism, and then argues that this model is lacking as an empirical discipline because these assumptions force core concepts, such as competence, semantic facts, and the methodology of intuitions that is based on them, to be constructed as improper idealizations from actual phenomena that disregard their heterogeneous nature. The second half discusses whether a Wittgensteinian approach to language and meaning--with its emphasis on the behavioral aspects of language use, on externalism with respect to meaning, and on the role of the social context--might constitute an alternative framework that is able to deal with the observed heterogeneity. It is argued that the Wittgensteinian perspective does not provide an alternative at the level of empirical theory, but does suggest an alternative view of what formal semantics does and does not accomplish.
Original Intentionality Is Phenomenal Intentionality, TERRY HORGAN
The real moral of the Searle's Chinese room thought experiment is this: Genuine original intentionality consists of an intrinsic phenomenal character that is inherently intentional. (A consequence, because of the intrinsicness component, is that phenomenal intentionality cannot accrue to the internal states of any creature--either robotic or flesh-and-blood--solely by virtue of the functional roles played by those internal states.) This paper proposes an argument that directly supports this contention and its antifunctionalist consequence, and that also reveals why the contention is indeed the real moral of Searle's famous thought experiment. The argument proceeds via a series of thought-experimental scenarios that collectively constitute a "morph" sequence, similar in structure to a series of visual images that gradually change (say) from a good depiction of Elvis into a good depiction of Bill Clinton. Searle's original Chinese room thought experiment is the initial stage in the morph sequence, occupying the Elvis slot.
The Relationship of Experience to Thought, ANIL GUPTA
This essay studies the contribution of experience to the content of thoughts. After reflecting on several traditional accounts of this contribution, a new proposal is offered. Following Frege, a distinction is made between two dimensions of content: sense and reference. It is argued that experience makes a critically important contribution to both dimensions. This account of the contribution of experience is reached through an extended reflection on ostensive definitions. This reflection advocates a highly non-Fregean conception of sense.
Indefinite Extensibility in Natural Language, LAUREANO LUNA
The Monist's call for papers for the issue on formal and intentional semantics ended: "if formalism is true, then it must be possible in principle to mechanize meaning in a conscious thinking and language using machine; if intentionalism is true, no such project is intelligible." This paper uses the Grelling-Nelson paradox to show that natural language is indefinitely extensible, which has two important consequences: (1) it cannot be formalized and (2) model theoretic semantics, standard for formal languages, is not suitable for it. This paper also points out that object-object mapping theories of semantics, the usual account for the possibility of nonintentional semantics, do not seem able to account for the indefinitely extensible productivity of natural language.
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|Title Annotation:||PHILOSOPHICAL ABSTRACTS|
|Publication:||The Review of Metaphysics|
|Article Type:||Periodical review|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2013|
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