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Words and Thoughts – Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language

Robert Stainton


It is a near truism of philosophy of language that sentences are prior to words. Sentences, it is said, are what we believe, assert, and argue for; uses of them constitute our evidence in semantics; only they stand in inferential relations, and are true or false. Sentences are, indeed, the only things that fundamentally have meaning. Does this near truism really hold of human languages? This book, drawing on a wide body of evidence, argues forcefully that speakers can and do use mere words, not sentences, to communicate complete thoughts. It considers the implications of this empirical result ... More

Keywords: sentences, semantics, pragmatics, cognitive sciences

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780199250387
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250387.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert Stainton, author
University of Western Ontario
Author Webpage