Necessity and meaning
Russell, Gillian. (2012). Necessity and meaning. In In Russell, Gillian and Graff Fara, Delia (Ed.). Routledge companion to philosophy of language pp. 782-794 Routledge.
|Editors||Russell, Gillian and Graff Fara, Delia|
We can approach the topic of necessity and meaning by distinguishing three kinds of view about the relationship between modality—taken to include modal properties like necessity and possibility, and modal objects such as possible worlds and possibilia— and meaning. The first holds that modality is are rather mysterious and the best way to explain it (both metaphysically and epistemically) is in terms of more fundamental and accessible meaning properties. A famous example of this kind of view is the Linguistic Doctrine of Necessary Truth, according to which all necessary truth is to be explained in terms of analyticity (Ayer, 1936; Hempel, 1945; Goodman, 1955; Carnap, 1958).
A different kind of view holds instead that it is meanings which are mysterious, and the best way to understand them is in terms of more fundamental, and better understood, modal notions, such as those of worlds and possible objects. This approach reverses the direction of explanation and metaphysical dependence suggested by the positivists and a version can be found in Lewis (1976).
The third kind of view holds that semantic and modal notions do not mesh well enough for one to be entirely dependent on, or explained in terms of, the other. This view is of more recent provenance and reasons for it can be found in Thomason (1974), Kaplan (1989b), Soames (2004), King (2005), and Russell (2008).
There is room for more skeptical approaches than the three listed above; Quine had little time for full-blooded modal or semantic properties (Quine, 1951, 1953, 1966). But if there is no such thing as one, then it is straightforward to see that there will be no accounting for the other in terms of it, and so the focus of this chapter will be on what we are to make of the relationship between meaning and modality, on the assumption that both exist.
|Book title||Routledge companion to philosophy of language|
|Place of publication||New York|
|Web address (URL)||https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/acu/detail.action?&docID=1016038|
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|24 Feb 2012|
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|Deposited||27 Sep 2021|
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