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Title: Sentence meaning
Author: Loar, Brian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3611 8594
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1972
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Introduction. Grice's first definition of speaker's meaning is described and stated. An important class of counterexamples lead to adopting a definition by Schiffer, which employs the notion of mutual knowledge. I.1 Signals have no semantical structure, but have meaning. The intention is announced of defining '2 means p in G' in terms of speaker's meaning. I.2 A signal's meaning consists in its being governed by a certain kind of convention. Schiffer's' analysis of 'x means p in G' is given. I.3 An account of convention by Schiffer is stated. His two definitions together do not provide a convention which governs meaning. I.4 A form of convention is proposed which is adequate for defining 'x means p in G'. It is argued that there are specifiable circumstances in which, if one utters a signal, then one's utterance accords with the convention only if one means such and such. ll Introduction. Not all signals are propositional; hence, to give their meaning, one must quantify into 'to mean that', about which there are difficulties. II.1 A theory of Quine's is described in which he accounts for a limited kind of quantification into belief contexts. It is argued that Quine's fails to make sense of a certain valid inference. II.2 It is claimed that, contrary to entrenched assumptions, there are occurrences of singular terms which are both referential and non-extensional, that is, which do not satisfy what some have called 'Leibniz' Law', which is here called the" substitution principle". II.3 The substitution principle is not a priori true. A general explanation of exceptions to it is offered. II.4 The logical form of sentences containing non-extensional but referential occurrences of singular terms in belief contexts is stated. The theory requires that, on such occurrences, singular terms have a dual role. II.5 Several points here. First, belief of things is under some uniqueness conception of them. Secondly, this cannot in general be construed in terms of uniqueness properties. Thirdly, what is required is sometimes that the believer's conception of something is as being uniquely related to him. Fourthly, a problem about self-ascriptive beliefs, and a way of representing their logical form. II.6 An apparent difficulty in extending the account to 'means' is dealt with. III.1 An account is given of certain signals which have pure indexical meaning - that is, signals which mean it is F - extending the device of Chapter 1. III.2 Qualified indexicality, as in signals which mean the E is F, requires some new apparatus, in particular, the notion of referring. III.3 A definition of referring qua, produced jointly with Schiffer, is given. III.4 'z means the E is F' is defined, extending the kind of definition used for 'z means it is F', and using the notion of referring qua. III.5 An account is given of the meaning of signals which are (as it were)" token-reflexive". III.6 How to represent complex referential embedding in the specifying of the meaning of signals. "Referential qualifier" is defined. III.7 A general account is given of what conventional restrictions there are on the references which are made on the utterance of a signal. The notion "super-reference" is defined; this captures how one's primary references are related to one's n-ary references. III.8 Incorporating super-reference, and earlier points about the relation between meaning and reference, we arrive at a general account of what is meant on the utterance of any indicative signal, regardless of referential complexities. The definition of meaning for all indicative signals. III.9 An account of the logical structure of speaker's imperative meaning. How to ascribe meaning to imperative signals, and to signals which have specific illocutionary forces. The final definition of meaning for all simple signals. lV.l It is argued that the assumption that there are separate conventions for word meanings is superfluous. The convention which governs sentence meaning incorporates a complex abstract relation which associates each sentence with each of its meanings. A general definition is given of what it is for a sentence to mean Such and such. IV.2 A problem is raised about the nature of the entities which are to serve as meanings (propositions and propositional functions.) It is claimed that the unanalyzed notion of proposition will not enable us to state recursively the relations which relate sentences to their meanings. lV.3 An identification of propositions with certain intensions - namely, functions from possible worlds to truth values - is rejected from counterexamples. Carnap's notion of intensional isomorphism serves as a constraint of any adequate account of propositions. IV.4 Propositions are identified with intensional structures, certain hierarchically ordered entities which contain both intensions and structural functions, which are functions from intensions to intensions. Propositional functions and referential qualifiers are similarly construed. IV.5 Frege's theory that the denotatum of a that-clause is the sense of its embedded sentence is shown to be compatible with the requirement that the meaning function for a language be recursively specifiable. IV.6 It is claimed that, with an important qualification which is consistent with the general program, the notion of word meaning is derivative from that of sentence meaning. An example of how this may be shown for a particular language is given. A similar claim is made about the derivativeness of logico-syntactic vocabulary, and an example of how to do it for a simple language is given. The concluding words express a certain unsupported bias concerning the nature of grammar.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Meaning (Philosophy)