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Meaning

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Meaning Through Things, Marilynn Johnson Sep 2017

Meaning Through Things, Marilynn Johnson

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Interpretation is the process by which we find meaning in the things in the world around us: clouds on the horizon, bones, street signs, hairbrushes, uniforms, paintings, letters, and utterances. But where does that meaning come from and on what basis are we justified in saying a particular meaning is the right meaning? Drawing from debates in the philosophy of language, I argue that a complete theory of meaning and interpretation must be grounded in intentions. My argument employs research in the philosophy of language, aesthetics, linguistics, and cognitive science to develop a general framework of interpretation. This framework is ...


Semantic Holism Revisited, Chun-Ping Yen Sep 2016

Semantic Holism Revisited, Chun-Ping Yen

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

I defend semantic holism, the view that the meaning of an expression is determined by its relations to every other expression in the language of individual competent users. I argue that, once properly understood, most disadvantages attributed to holism can be dissolved and suggest that the core division between the holist and the non-holist is on the question whether invariant meanings shared across all possible occasions where the corresponded expressions are uttered are necessary for the explanation of meaning sharing. I give reason why the answer is negative and demonstrate how to explain our linguistic interaction without such invariant meanings.