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Foundations of LanguageBrain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution$
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Ray Jackendoff

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198270126

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198270126.001.0001

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Reference and Truth

Reference and Truth

(p.294) Chapter 10 Reference and Truth
Foundations of Language

Ray Jackendoff

Oxford University Press

The most difficult challenge to a mentalist semantics is the intuition that language refers to objects and events ‘in the world’. A direct connection between a language in the mind and objects in the world is severely problematic. It is argued that the proper formulation of reference is as a relation between linguistic expressions and the world as conceptualized by the language user. Such a formulation aligns with standard views in perceptual psychology, and permits a far richer ontology of entities for language. Some of the standard philosophical objections to this view are answered; at the same time, some of the standard puzzles of reference are shown to dissolve.

Keywords:   language, objects, reference, consciousness

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