Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism / Edition 1

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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
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book is an ingenious defense of two positions notwidely thought to be compatible: truth-conditional semantics andsemantic minimalism. Cappelen and Lepore’s highlycontroversial views are already, and will continue to be, at thecenter of inquiry into the nature of linguisticcommunication.” Jason Stanley, University ofMichigan

“Cappelen and Lepore have performed a singular service inbringing together the threads of the contextualist debate, and informulating a minimalist alternative to some current trends.”James Higginbotham, University of Southern California

“This is a pleasingly spare yet instructivelysophisticated account of how Davidsonians can accommodate themassive context sensitivity of language use. Good stuff.”Paul Pietroski, University of Maryland

“This is a book of considerable importance, which dealswith a topic currently at the center of research in the philosophyof language. As a result, Insensitive Semantics has been andwill continue to be widely discussed …This book pushes thediscussion of context-sensitivity forward in new and usefuldirections. Read it and learn from it.” Journal ofLinguistics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405126748
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Herman Cappelen is Associate Professor of Philosophy atVassar College and the University of Oslo. He has publishedextensively in philosophy of language and mind, including articlesin Noûs, Mind, Mind & Language,Analysis, and Synthese.

Ernie Lepore is Professor of Philosophy at RutgersUniversity. He is author of Meaning and Argument (revisededition, Blackwell, 2003) and, with Jerry Fodor, of Holism(Blackwell, 1991). He is editor of Truth and Interpretation(Blackwell, 1989), and co-editor, with Zenon Pylyshyn, of Whatis Cognitive Science? (Blackwell, 1999), as well as generaleditor of the Blackwell series Philosophers and TheirCritics.

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Table of Contents

1 Overview 1
2 Exegesis : the methodology of contextualism 17
3 The instability of context shifting arguments 39
4 Diagnosis : why context shifting arguments are misused 53
5 The instability of incompleteness arguments 59
6 Digressions : binding and hidden indexicals 69
7 Objections to radical contextualism (I) : fails context sensitivity tests 87
8 Objections to radical contextualism (II) : makes communication impossible 123
9 Objections to radical contextualism (III) : internal inconsistency 128
10 Semantic minimalism 143
11 Semantics and metaphysics 155
12 Semantics and psychology 176
13 Speech act pluralism 190
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