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The Seas of Language$
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Michael Dummett

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198236214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198236212.001.0001

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Language and Communication

Language and Communication

Chapter:
(p.166) 7 Language and Communication
Source:
The Seas of Language
Author(s):

Michael Dummett (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198236212.003.0007

There is a contest between the view that the primary function of language is that of an instrument of communication and the view that it is that of a vehicle of thought. But such a dilemma is misconceived. The true opposition is between language as representation and language as activity. The representation picture of language is misleading in so far as it assumes that the representative power can be isolated from other features of language and that it consists in the speaker's being in the correct interior states. That would render understanding completely mysterious, and therefore, we should demand an outward manifestation of understanding expressed in linguistic exchange and other actions.

Keywords:   communication, Grice, manifestation challenge, representation, Theory of meaning, P.F. Strawson, Wittgenstein

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