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Reflections on Meaning$
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Paul Horwich

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019925124X.001.0001

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Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty

Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty

Chapter:
(p.174) 7 Meaning and its Place in the Language Faculty
Source:
Reflections on Meaning
Author(s):

Paul Horwich (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019925124X.003.0007

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.

Keywords:   Chomsky, I-linguistics, sounds, conceptual roles, basic acceptance-properties, Fodor, mentalese, Davidson, compositionality, reference

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