The Things We Mean

The Things We Mean

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If there exist such things as the things we mean, then those things are also the things we believe, and the things in terms of which we must understand all semantic notions. If such entities as the things we mean and believe exist, an account of their nature must be the most foundational concern in the theory of linguistic and mental representation.

Schiffer argues that there are such things as the things we mean and believe. They are what he calls pleonastic propositions, and he provides an account of what they are in themselves and of their place in nature, language and thought.

After developing the theory of pleonastic propositions, Schiffer uses it to provide accounts of (among other things) linguistic meaning and knowledge of meaning, the relation between intentional and non-intentional facts, vagueness and indeterminacy, moral discourse, conditionals, and the role of propositional content in information acquisition and explanation.

This radical new treatment of meaning will command the attention of everyone who works on fundamental questions about language, and will attract much interest from other areas of philosophy.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 376 pages
  • 139 x 217 x 20mm | 448g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199257760
  • 9780199257768
  • 1,615,432

Table of contents

Preface ; 1. The Face-Value Theory ; 2. Pleonastic Propositions ; 3. Meanings and Knowledge of Meaning ; 4. Having Meaning ; 5. Vagueness and Indeterminacy ; 6. Moral Realism and Indeterminacy ; 7. Conditionals and Indeterminacy ; 8. Why Pleonastic Propositions? Content in Information and Explanation ; References ; Indes
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Review quote

rich, complex and thought provoking * Peter Pagin, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * ... new and original work ... it repays serious study by offering a fresh perspective on many issues in the philosophy of language and related disciplines. It is likely to be discussed for many years to come ... the ideas present in this monograph are interesting and original. The Things We Mean will yet further enhance Schiffer's reputation as one of the leading English-speaking philosophers of his generation. * Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie * ...a philosopher's feast, a subtle framework skilfully used to generate a unified treatment of the meaning of linguistic expressions and our knowledge of it. * Times Literary Supplement *
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