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Success in Referential Communication (Philosophical Studies #80)

M. Paul


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Paperback (10/28/2010)


One of the most basic themes in the philosophy of language is referential uptake, viz., the question of what counts as properly understanding' a referring act in communication. In this inquiry, the particular line pursued goes back to Strawson's work on re-identification, but the immediate influence is that of Gareth Evans. It is argued that traditional and recent proposals fail to account for success in referential communication. A novel account is developed, resembling Evans' account in combining an external success condition with a Fregean one. But, in contrast to Evans, greater emphasis is placed on the action-enabling side of communication. Further topics discussed include the role of mental states in accounting for communication, the impact of re-identification on the understanding of referring acts, and Donnellan's referential/attributive distinction.
Readership: Philosophers, cognitive scientists and semanticists.

Springer, 9780792359746, 172pp.

Publication Date: September 30, 1999