Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty
This chapter considers the phenomenon of meaning from the perspective of Chomsky’s ‘I-linguistics’ and his empirical postulation of the ‘language faculty’. After a sketch of that model, the question is raised as to how meaning should be incorporated within it. In accord with the use-theoretic perspective of this book, an answer is developed whereby the association of I-sounds with I-meanings is achieved by virtue of the conceptual roles of those I-sounds, i.e., their basic acceptance-properties. It is shown that this picture compares favourably with various alternatives, including those suggested by Fodor’s mentalese, Davidson’s view of compositionality, naturalizations of the reference relation, and by Chomsky-style explicitly-represented definitions.
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