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Reflections on Meaning$
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Paul Horwich

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019925124X.001.0001

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Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty

Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty

(p.174) 7 Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty
Reflections on Meaning

Paul Horwich (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the phenomenon of meaning from the perspective of Chomsky’s ‘I-linguistics’ and his empirical postulation of the ‘language faculty’. After a sketch of that model, the question is raised as to how meaning should be incorporated within it. In accord with the use-theoretic perspective of this book, an answer is developed whereby the association of I-sounds with I-meanings is achieved by virtue of the conceptual roles of those I-sounds, i.e., their basic acceptance-properties. It is shown that this picture compares favourably with various alternatives, including those suggested by Fodor’s mentalese, Davidson’s view of compositionality, naturalizations of the reference relation, and by Chomsky-style explicitly-represented definitions.

Keywords:   Chomsky, I-linguistics, sounds, conceptual roles, basic acceptance-properties, Fodor, mentalese, Davidson, compositionality, reference

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