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Semantic Norms and Temporal Externalism

Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh (1996)

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  1. Expression, Thought, and Language.Henry Jackman - 2003 - Philosophia 31 (1-2):33-54.
    This paper discusses an "expressive constraint" on accounts of thought and language which requires that when a speaker expresses a belief by sincerely uttering a sentence, the utterance and the belief have the same content. It will be argued that this constraint should be viewed as expressing a conceptual connection between thought and language rather than a mere empirical generalization about the two. However, the most obvious accounts of the relation between thought and language compatible with the constraint (giving an (...)
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  • Convention and Language.Henry Jackman - 1998 - Synthese 117 (3):295-312.
    This paper has three objectives. The first is to show how David Lewis' influential account of how a population is related to its language requires that speakers be 'conceptually autonomous' in a way that is incompatible with content ascriptions following from the assumption that its speakers share a language. The second objective is to sketch an alternate account of the psychological and sociological facts that relate a population to its language. The third is to suggest a modification of Lewis' account (...)
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  • Foundationalism, Coherentism, and Rule-Following Skepticism.Henry Jackman - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (1):25-41.
    Semantic holists view what one's terms mean as function of all of one's usage. Holists will thus be coherentists about semantic justification: showing that one's usage of a term is semantically justified involves showing how it coheres with the rest of one's usage. Semantic atomists, by contrast, understand semantic justification in a foundationalist fashion. Saul Kripke has, on Wittgenstein's behalf, famously argued for a type of skepticism about meaning and semantic justification. However, Kripke's argument has bite only if one understands (...)
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  • Deference and Self-Knowledge.Henry Jackman - 2000 - Southwest Philosophy Review 16 (1):171-180.
    It has become increasingly popular to suggest that non-individualistic theories of content undermine our purported a priori knowledge of such contents because they entail that we lack the ability to distinguish our thoughts from alternative thoughts with different contents. However, problems relating to such knowledge of 'comparative' content tell just as much against individualism as non-individualism. Indeed, the problems presented by individualistic theories of content for self-knowledge are at least, if not more, serious than those presented by non-individualistic theories. Consequently, (...)
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  • Charity, Self-Interpretation, and Belief.Henry Jackman - 2003 - Journal of Philosophical Research 28:143-168.
    The purpose of this paper is to motivate and defend a recognizable version of N. L. Wilson's "Principle of Charity" Doing so will involve: (1) distinguishing it fromthe significantly different versions of the Principle familiar through the work of Quine and Davidson; (2) showing that it is compatible with, among other things, both semantic externalism and "simulation" accounts of interpretation; and (3) explaining how it follows from plausible constraints relating to the connection between interpretation and self-interpretation. Finally, it will be (...)
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  • Semantic Pragmatism and a Priori Knowledge: (Or 'Yes We Could All Be Brains in a Vat').Henry Jackman - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):455-480.
    Hillary Putnam has famously argued that we can know that we are not brains in a vat because the hypothesis that we are is self-refuting. While Putnam's argument has generated interest primarily as a novel response to skepticism, his original use of the brain in a vat scenario was meant to illustrate a point about the "mind/world relationship." In particular, he intended it to be part of an argument against the coherence of metaphysical realism, and thus to be part of (...)
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  • Intuitions and Semantic Theory.Henry Jackman - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (3):363-380.
    While engaged in the analysis of topics such as the nature of knowledge, meaning, or justice, analytic philosophers have traditionally relied extensively on their own intuitions about when the relevant terms can, and can't, be correctly applied. Consequently, if intuitions about possible cases turned out not to be a reliable tool for the proper analysis of philosophically central concepts, then a radical reworking of philosophy's (or at least analytic philosophy's) methodology would seem to be in order. It is thus not (...)
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  • Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation.Henry Jackman - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):159 - 177.
    While philosophers of language have traditionally relied upon their intuitions about cases when developing theories of reference, this methodology has recently been attacked on the grounds that intuitions about reference, far from being universal, show significant cultural variation, thus undermining their relevance for semantic theory. I’ll attempt to demonstrate that (1) such criticisms do not, in fact, undermine the traditional philosophical methodology, and (2) our underlying intuitions about the nature of reference may be more universal than the authors suppose.
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  • Temporal Externalism and Epistemic Theories of Vagueness.Henry Jackman - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 117 (1-2):79-94.
    'Epistemic' theories of vagueness notoriously claim that (despite the appearances to the contrary) all of our vague terms have sharp boundaries, it's just that we can't know what they are. Epistemic theories are typically criticized for failing to explain (1) the source of the ignorance postulated, and (2) how our terms could come to have such precise boundaries. Both of these objections will, however, be shown to rest on certain 'presentist' assumptions about the relation between use and meaning, and if (...)
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  • Minimalism, Psychological Reality, Meaning and Use.Henry Jackman - 2007 - In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.
    A growing number of philosophers and linguists have argued that many, if not most, terms in our language should be understood as semantically context sensitive. In opposition to this trend, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore defend a view they call "Semantic Minimalism", which holds that there are virtually no semantically context sensitive expressions in English once you get past the standard list of indexicals and demonstratives such as "I", "you", "this", and "that". While minimalism strikes many as obviously false, it (...)
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  • Descriptive Atomism and Foundational Holism: Semantics Between the Old Testament and the New.Henry Jackman - 2005 - ProtoSociology 21:5-19.
    While holism and atomism are often treated as mutually exclusive approaches to semantic theory, the apparent tension between the two usually results from running together distinct levels of semantic explanation. In particular, there is no reason why one can’t combine an atomistic conception of what the semantic values of our words are (one’s “descriptive semantics”), with a holistic explanation of why they have those values (one’s “foundational semantics”). Most objections to holism can be shown to apply only to holistic version (...)
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  • Temporal Externalism and Our Ordinary Linguistic Practices.Henry Jackman - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):365-380.
    Temporal externalists argue that ascriptions of thought and utterance content can legitimately reflect contingent conceptual developments that are only settled after the time of utterance. While the view has been criticized for failing to accord with our “ordinary linguistic practices”, such criticisms (1) conflate our ordinary ascriptional practices with our more general beliefs about meaning, and (2) fail to distinguish epistemically from pragmatically motivated linguistic changes. Temporal externalism relates only to the former sort of changes, and the future usage relevant (...)
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  • We Live Forwards but Understand Backwards: Linguistic Practices and Future Behavior.Henry Jackman - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (2):157-177.
    Ascriptions of content are sensitive not only to our physical and social environment, but also to unforeseeable developments in the subsequent usage of our terms. This paper argues that the problems that may seem to come from endorsing such 'temporally sensitive' ascriptions either already follow from accepting the socially and historically sensitive ascriptions Burge and Kripke appeal to, or disappear when the view is developed in detail. If one accepts that one's society's past and current usage contributes to what one's (...)
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  • Temporal Externalism, Conceptual Continuity, Meaning, and Use.Henry Jackman - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (9-10):959-973.
    ABSTRACT Our ascriptions of content to past utterances assign to them a level of conceptual continuity and determinacy that extends beyond what could be grounded in the usage up to their time of utterance. If one accepts such ascriptions, one can argue either that future use must be added to the grounding base, or that such cases show that meaning is not, ultimately, grounded in use. The following will defend the first option as the more promising of the two, though (...)
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  • Moderate Holism and the Instability Thesis.Henry Jackman - 1999 - American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):361-69.
    This paper argues that popular criticisms of semantic holism (such as that it leaves the ideas of translation, disagreement and change of mind problematic) are more properly directed at an "instability assumption" which, while often associated with holism, can be separated from it. The versions of holism that follow from 'interpretational' account of meaning are not committed to the instability assumption and can thus avoid many of the problems traditionally associated with holism.
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  • Temporal Externalism, Normativity and Use.Henry Jackman - manuscript
    Our ascriptions of content to utterances in the past attribute to them a level of determinacy that extends beyond what could supervene upon the usage up to the time of those utterances. If one accepts the truth of such ascriptions, one can either (1) argue that subsequent use must be added to the supervenience base that determines the meaning of a term at a time, or (2) argue that such cases show that meaning does not supervene upon use at all. (...)
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  • Temporal Externalism, Constitutive Norms, and Theories of Vagueness.Henry Jackman - 2006 - In Tomas Marvan (ed.), What Determines Content? The Internalism/Externalism Dispute. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    Another paper exploring the relation between Temporal externalism and Epistemicism about Vagueness, but with slightly more emphasis on the role of constitutive norms relating to our concept of truth.
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