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Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism Herman Cappelen(Author),Ernest Lepore(Author)

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Book Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism

Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism

Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism.pdf

 

Original name book: Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism

Pages: 232

Language: English

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (January 14, 2005)

By: Herman Cappelen(Author),Ernest Lepore(Author)

Book details


Format *An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose. *Report a Broken Link

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Printable? Yes

Category - New, Used & Rental Textbooks

Bestsellers rank - 6 Rating Star

Insensitive Semantics is an overview of and contribution to the debates about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication, investigating the effects of context on communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context of utterance is and what it is to be in one.

  • Provides detailed and wide-ranging overviews of the central positions and arguments surrounding contextualism



  • Addresses broad and varied aspects of the distinction between the semantic and non-semantic content of language



  • Defends a distinctive and explanatorily powerful combination of semantic minimalism and speech act pluralism



  • Confronts core problems which not only run to the heart of philosophy of language and linguistics, but which arise in epistemology, metaphysics, and moral philosophy as well

“This book is an ingenious defense of two positions not widely thought to be compatible: truth-conditional semantics and semantic minimalism. Cappelen and Lepore’s highly controversial views are already, and will continue to be, at the center of inquiry into the nature of linguistic communication.” Jason Stanley, University of Michigan From the end of the nineteenth century until today, philosophy of language has been plagued by an extensive and notoriously confusing literature on how to draw the distinction between semantic and non-semantic content. This debate, at its deepest level, is about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication. Insensitive Semantics is a book about this debate, investigating the effects of context on communicative interaction and, as a corollary, what a context of utterance is and what it is to be in one. To this end, the authors defend a combination of two views: Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. If these views are right, then many philosphers and linguists are guilty of some very profound mistakes, with wide-ranging implications for not only philosophy of language, but also epistemology, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and other branches of philosophy. The central opponents in this book are contextualists, philosophers, and linguists who inflate the role of context in semantics. The common thread that runs throughout the authors' criticism of contextualism is that it fails to account for how we communicate across contexts. People with different background beliefs, goals, audiences, and perceptual inputs can understand each other. They can agree or disagree. They can say, assert, claim, state, investigate or deride the very same claim. No theory of communication is adequate unless it explains how this is possible. Contextualists cannot provide such an explanation, but Semantic Minimalism combined with Speech Act Pluralism can.

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Customer Reviews
  • By DWA on December 31, 2012

    This book argues for two theses about how the context in which a sentence is used shapes our interpretation of what the sentence means: semantic minimalism and speech act pluralism. According to Cappelen & Lepore (C&L), semantic minimalism is the thesis that the semantic content (literal meaning) of a sentence is sensitive to context in a very limited (grammatically-triggered) number of cases. Speech act pluralism is the thesis that whenever a sentence is uttered, no one thing is said, asserted, claimed, etc. The whole of the book is dedicated to defending these two theses and does so in a compelling and provocative way. The authors argue that all of their opponents fit into two categories (moderate contextualists and radical contextualists). Moderate contextualists, C&L argue, are really half-hearted radical contextualists, and radical contextualism is wrong for a number of reasons which they detail.Similar to other books on this same topic (e.g. Recanti's "Literal Meaning" or Borg's "Minimal Semantics"), C&L's "Insensitive Semantics" is readable by anyone with some light background in the philosophy of language or linguistics. Technical portions of the book (e.g. on binding arguments) are marked as "Digressions." Readers with little familiarity on the topic could start here since C&L aim at showing that their theory is the best of the lot, and so they spend some time introducing the main contenders.

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