Semantic plasticity and speech reports

Journal article


Dorr, Cian and Hawthorne, John 2014. Semantic plasticity and speech reports. The Philosophical Review. 123 (3), pp. 281 - 338. https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-2683531
AuthorsDorr, Cian and Hawthorne, John
Abstract

Most meanings we express belong to large families of variant meanings, among which it would be implausible to suppose that some are much more apt for being expressed than others. This abundance of candidate meanings creates pressure to think that the proposition attributing any particular meaning to an expression is modally plastic: its truth depends very sensitively on the exact microphysical state of the world. However, such plasticity seems to threaten ordinary counterfactuals whose consequents contain speech reports, since it is hard to see how we could reasonably be confident in a counterfactual whose consequent can be true only if a certain very finely tuned microphysical configuration obtains. This essay develops the foregoing puzzle and explores several possible solutions.

Year2014
JournalThe Philosophical Review
Journal citation123 (3), pp. 281 - 338
PublisherDuke University Press
ISSN0031-8108
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-2683531
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84907022964
Page range281 - 338
Research GroupDianoia Institute of Philosophy
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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