Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Pursuing Meaning$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

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: 08 December 2021

The Methodological Argument Against Minimal Word Meanings

The Methodological Argument Against Minimal Word Meanings

(p.165) Chapter 6 The Methodological Argument Against Minimal Word Meanings
Pursuing Meaning

Emma Borg

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the methodological argument against minimal word meanings: namely the claim that any such word meanings are inadequate to carry what is called the ‘internalist’ or ‘intra-linguistic’ burden on semantics. So, for instance, it might be expected that a semantic theory should explain why certain readings are possible or impossible for sentences, that is should explain the systematic patterns of syntactic transformation which expressions allow, or that it should explain relations such as synonymy, polysemy and analyticity. Yet plausibly explaining all these kinds of things requires a complex account of the meanings of lexical items which goes far beyond a mere list pairing words and denotations. If this is right, then it seems minimal word meanings will be insufficient to underpin the work required of a semantic theory. This chapter explores the intra-linguistic burden and suggests that, perhaps contrary to initial appearances, a properly nuanced referential account of word meaning might be able to bear such a burden. Furthermore, and again perhaps contrary to initial appearances, it is argued that such a nuanced account of word meaning is entirely consistent with the tenets of minimal semantics.

Keywords:   word meaning, lexical semantics, inferential role semantics, Pietroski, Chomsky, Bach, radical minimalism, organisational lexical semantics

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .