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Pursuing Meaning$
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Emma Borg

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588374

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588374.001.0001

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Surveying the Terrain

Surveying the Terrain

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Surveying the Terrain
Source:
Pursuing Meaning
Author(s):

Emma Borg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588374.003.0001

This chapter introduces and defines the approach of semantic minimalism and contrasts it with the opposing approaches of indexicalism, contextualism, semantic relativism, and occasionalism. It argues that if a theorist decides to move to one of these opposing positions on the grounds of what are known as ‘context-shifting arguments’ then they will ultimately be unable to resist a slide into a full-blown use-based approach to meaning (embodied here by Charles Travis’ occasionalism). For, if one takes the phenomenon thrown up by context-shifting arguments to be semantically relevant, then, it is argued, the middle-ground positions of indexicalism, contextualism and relativism turn out to be theoretically unstable

Keywords:   semantic minimalism, indexicalism, contextualism, semantic relativism, occasionalism, context-shifting arguments, formal theories of meaning, use theories of meaning

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