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Horwich on meaning and use

By J. Katzav


Paul Horwich claims that theories of meaning ought to accommodate the commonsense intuition that meanings play a part in explaining the use of words. Further, he argues that the view that best does so is that according to which the meaning of a word is constituted by a disposition to accept, in some circumstances, sentences in which it features. I argue that if meanings are construed thus, they will in fact fail to explain the use of words. I also argue that if we insist, as Horwich does, on the commonsense assumption that meanings are a species of entity, all versions of the view that meaning is constituted by our dispositions to use words will have to be rejected. I do not, however, claim that such theories ought to be rejected. My point is that they are incompatible with the requirements of commonsense. Further, I suggest that it is premature to impose such requirements on theories of meaning

Publisher: Blackwell
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:3234

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