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City University of New York (CUNY)

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Unarticulated Constituents And Theories Of Meaning, Jesse Rappaport Sep 2018

Unarticulated Constituents And Theories Of Meaning, Jesse Rappaport

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This work is an investigation into a phenomenon introduced by John Perry that I call ‘totally unarticulated constituents.’ These are entities that are part of the propositional content of a speech act, but are not represented by any part of the sentence uttered or of the thought that is being expressed - that is, they are fully unarticulated. After offering a novel definition of this phenomenon, I argue that totally unarticulated constituents are attested in natural language, and may in fact be quite common. This raises fatal problems for a prominent theory of underspecification defended by Jason Stanley, according to which ...


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.