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Meaning DiminishedToward Metaphysically Modest Semantics$
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Kenneth A. Taylor

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803447.001.0001

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The Metaphysical Modesty of Narrowly Linguistic Semantics

The Metaphysical Modesty of Narrowly Linguistic Semantics

(p.18) 2 The Metaphysical Modesty of Narrowly Linguistic Semantics
Meaning Diminished

Kenneth A. Taylor

Oxford University Press

Some foundational assumptions of the generative paradigm in linguistic semantics are outlined. It is argued that they do not suffice, on their own, to license the drawing of metaphysically immodest conclusions about the assigned semantic values on the basis of narrowly semantic premises. It is concluded that if we seek to establish metaphysical conclusions from semantic starting points, we need additional premises not provided by narrowly linguistic semantics alone. The possibility is bruited that we may be furnished such premises from some style or other of broadly philosophical semantics and metasemantics, setting the stage for a subsequent discussion of various alternative metasemantical theses about the proper dialectical role of semantic analyses vis-à-vis metaphysical inquiry.

Keywords:   lexicon, native syntax, native semantics, generative linguistics, metasemantics, metaphysical modesty, semantic value, semantic fundamentals

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