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Horwich on meaning and use

Katzav, J. (2004) Horwich on meaning and use. Ratio, XVII (2). pp. 159-175. ISSN 1467-9329

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Paul Horwich claims that theories of meaning ought to accommodate the commonsense intuition that meanings play a part in explaining the use of words. Further, he argues that the view that best does so is that according to which the meaning of a word is constituted by a disposition to accept, in some circumstances, sentences in which it features. I argue that if meanings are construed thus, they will in fact fail to explain the use of words. I also argue that if we insist, as Horwich does, on the commonsense assumption that meanings are a species of entity, all versions of the view that meaning is constituted by our dispositions to use words will have to be rejected. I do not, however, claim that such theories ought to be rejected. My point is that they are incompatible with the requirements of commonsense. Further, I suggest that it is premature to impose such requirements on theories of meaning.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2004 Blackwell Publishing. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Ratio. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > School of Philosophy (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science (Leeds) > School of Philosophy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Leeds Philosophy Department
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2007 12:08
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:04
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org10.1111/j.1467-9329.2004.00245.x
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2004.00245.x
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3234

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