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The Science of MeaningEssays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics$
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Derek Ball and Brian Rabern

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198739548.001.0001

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Semantics as Measurement

Semantics as Measurement

(p.381) 14 Semantics as Measurement
The Science of Meaning

Derek Ball

Oxford University Press

This chapter defends a view of semantics on which developing a semantic theory closely resembles developing a scale of measurement. The view helps explain how semantics has made so much progress despite deep disagreements about the target of semantic theorizing (e.g., between those who maintain that semantics is characterizing something psychological, and those who maintain that it is characterizing something social), how appeals to set-theoretic abstracta make sense despite Benacerraf-style worries and despite the fact that set-theoretic entities fit badly with standard (e.g., causal) metasemantic views, and why the threat of radical context sensitivity does not undermine the semantic project.

Keywords:   Semantics, Metasemantics, Measurement, radical contextualism

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