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Pursuing Meaning$
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Emma Borg

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588374

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588374.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Surveying the Terrain

Surveying the Terrain

(p.1) Chapter 1 Surveying the Terrain
Pursuing Meaning

Emma Borg

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces and defines the approach of semantic minimalism and contrasts it with the opposing approaches of indexicalism, contextualism, semantic relativism, and occasionalism. It argues that if a theorist decides to move to one of these opposing positions on the grounds of what are known as ‘context-shifting arguments’ then they will ultimately be unable to resist a slide into a full-blown use-based approach to meaning (embodied here by Charles Travis’ occasionalism). For, if one takes the phenomenon thrown up by context-shifting arguments to be semantically relevant, then, it is argued, the middle-ground positions of indexicalism, contextualism and relativism turn out to be theoretically unstable

Keywords:   semantic minimalism, indexicalism, contextualism, semantic relativism, occasionalism, context-shifting arguments, formal theories of meaning, use theories of meaning

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