Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism

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9781405126755: Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism
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Insensitive Semantics is an overview of and contribution tothe debates about how to accommodate context sensitivity within atheory of human communication, investigating the effects of contexton communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context ofutterance is and what it is to be in one.


  • Provides detailed and wide-ranging overviews of the centralpositions and arguments surrounding contextualism



  • Addresses broad and varied aspects of the distinction betweenthe semantic and non-semantic content of language



  • Defends a distinctive and explanatorily powerful combination ofsemantic minimalism and speech act pluralism



  • Confronts core problems which not only run to the heart ofphilosophy of language and linguistics, but which arise inepistemology, metaphysics, and moral philosophy as well

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Book Description:

From the end of the nineteenth century until today, philosophy of language has been plagued by an extensive and notoriously confusing literature on how to draw the distinction between semantic and non-semantic content. This debate, at its deepest level, is about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication. Insensitive Semantics is a book about this debate, investigating the effects of context on communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context of utterance is and what it is to be in one. To this end, the authors defend a combination of two views: Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. If these views are right, then many philosphers and linguists are guilty of some very profound mistakes, with wide-ranging implications for not only philosophy of language, but also epistemology, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and other branches of philosophy. The central opponents in this book are contextualists, philosophers, and linguists who inflate the role of context in semantics. The common thread that runs throughout the authors' criticism of contextualism is that it fails to account for how we communicate across contexts. People with different background beliefs, goals, audiences, and perceptual inputs can understand each other. They can agree or disagree. They can say, assert, claim, state, investigate or deride the very same claim. No theory of communication is adequate unless it explains how this is possible. Contextualists cannot provide such an explanation, but Semantic Minimalism combined with Speech Act Pluralism can.

About the Author:

Herman Cappelen is Associate Professor of Philosophy atVassar College and the University of Oslo. He has publishedextensively in philosophy of language and mind, including articlesin Noûs, Mind, Mind & Language,Analysis, and Synthese.


Ernie Lepore is Professor of Philosophy at RutgersUniversity. He is author of Meaning and Argument (revisededition, Blackwell, 2003) and, with Jerry Fodor, of Holism(Blackwell, 1991). He is editor of Truth and Interpretation(Blackwell, 1989), and co-editor, with Zenon Pylyshyn, of Whatis Cognitive Science? (Blackwell, 1999), as well as generaleditor of the Blackwell series Philosophers and TheirCritics.

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Book Description John Wiley and Sons Ltd, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Insensitive Semantics is an overview of and contribution to the debates about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication, investigating the effects of context on communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context of utterance is and what it is to be in one. Provides detailed and wide-ranging overviews of the central positions and arguments surrounding contextualism Addresses broad and varied aspects of the distinction between the semantic and non-semantic content of language Defends a distinctive and explanatorily powerful combination of semantic minimalism and speech act pluralism Confronts core problems which not only run to the heart of philosophy of language and linguistics, but which arise in epistemology, metaphysics, and moral philosophy as well. Seller Inventory # AAH9781405126755

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