University of Cambridge > > Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) > Referential intentions and minimal semantics

Referential intentions and minimal semantics

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Christopher Lucas.

This paper examines the role of speaker intentions in issues of reference determination for context-sensitive expressions, focusing on demonstratives. Intuitively, the referent of a token utterance of ‘that’ is determined (at least in part) by the speaker’s intentions. However, if this is right it seems to cause a problem for so-called formal theories of meaning. I begin by setting out the precise nature of this problem and proceed to explore three putative solutions. First, the assumption that speaker intentions determine reference in these cases may be rejected; second, it may be held that current speaker intentions are relevant but that they can be accommodated within a formal semantic theory; third, reference determination and semantic content may be held strictly apart. I argue that the first two of these moves, respectively termed ‘conventionalism’ and ‘non-inferentialism’, are flawed but that the third move provides an appealing way for the formal semanticist to accommodate the content of context-sensitive terms.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2023, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity