Lexical Competence

Lexical Competence

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What does our ability to use words -- that is, our lexical competence -- consist of? What is the difference between a system that can be said to understand language and one that cannot? Most approaches to word meaning fail to account for an essential aspect of our linguistic competence, namely, our ability to apply words to the world. This monograph proposes a dual picture of human lexical competence in which inferential and referential abilities are separate -- a proposal confirmed by neuropsychological research on brain-damaged persons. According to the author, artificial systems for natural-language understanding could come much closer to achieving their goal if they conformed to this dual picture of competence. Topics discussed include classical issues in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind such as the analytic/synthetic dichotomy, semantic holism, causal theories of reference, dual-factor theories, publicness, verificationism, and Searle's Chinese room. Language, Speech, Communication series
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Product details

  • Paperback | 222 pages
  • 150 x 226 x 18mm | 359.99g
  • Bradford Books
  • Massachusetts, United States
  • English
  • 0262517167
  • 9780262517164
  • 2,156,800

Review quote

"In a manner at once learned and persuasive, Marconi's book argues that anadequate theory of language must prioritize inferential competence (theability to recognize what follows inferentially) alongside referentialcompetence (the ability to recognize occasions of use). His plausibledefense of this thesis is bound to attract attention and controversy. Win,lose, or draw it will make a significant contribution to our understandingof language use." Nicholas Rescher, University Professor of Philosophy, University ofPittsburgh " Semantics' is a very puzzling word. It acquires different meanings in suchexpressions as Model-theoretical Semantics, Lexical Semantics, StructuralSemantics and so on. Marconi's book is a remarkable attempt to make themeaning of meaning less meaningless." Umberto Eco "What does it take to understand a word? This exemplarily lucid andup-to-date book by one of the leaders of analytic philosophy's currentupsurge in continental Europe has plenty to teach philosophers, linguistsand cognitive scientists about the answer. Timothy Williamson, University of Edinburgh
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