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The Sense of Communication

Mind 104 (413):79 - 106 (1995)

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  1. Epistemic Modality De Re.Seth Yalcin - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2:475-527.
    Focusing on cases which involve binding into epistemic modals with definite descriptions and quantifiers, I raise some new problems for standard approaches to all of these expressions. The difficulties are resolved in a semantic framework that is dynamic in character. I close with a new class of problems about de re readings within the scope of modals.
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  • Thinking Disagreement.Víctor M. Verdejo & Xavier de Donato-Rodríguez - 2021 - Theoria 87 (6):1562-1584.
    In this paper, we bring into focus the level of thought or content in the elucidation of disagreement. We set out the view that disagreement at this level involves a specific form of noncotenability, namely, noncotenability as captured by sense or intension as opposed to reference. We present the challenge that nourishes the alternative referential view and suggest, through examples, that (i) only intensional disagreement is apt to adequately accommodate basic rationality constraints on disagreement, and (ii) it can meet the (...)
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  • Pierre’s rational and public beliefs.Victor Verdejo - 2012 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 16 (3):451-469.
    Paradigmatic cases of disagreement seem not to be compatible with a widespread kind of solution to Kripke’s celebrated Pierre puzzle. As a result, the classical puzzle about rational belief is shown to be also a puzzle about public disagreement/agreement phenomena. In this paper, I defend that the new public version of the puzzle is substantial and challenging and conclude that a full solution to Kripke’s considerations must offer a satisfactory account of both the rational and public character of belief attributions. (...)
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  • A Puzzle about Disagreement.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2013 - Disputatio 5 (37):283-297.
    Verdejo, Víctor_A Puzzle about Disagreement.
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  • On Successful Communication, Intentions and False Beliefs.Matheus Valente - 2021 - Theoria 87 (1):167-186.
    I discuss a criterion for successful communication between a speaker and a hearer put forward by Buchanan according to which there is communicative success only if the hearer entertains, as a result of interpreting the speaker's utterance, a thought that has the same truth conditions as the thought asserted by the speaker and, furthermore, does so in virtue of recognizing the speaker's communicative intentions. I argue, against Buchanan, that the data on which it is based are compatible with a view (...)
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  • A Puzzle about Communication.Matheus Valente & Andrea Onofri - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (3):1035-1054.
    It seems plausible that successfully communicating with our peers requires entertaining the same thoughts as they do. We argue that this view is incompatible with other, independently plausible principles of thought individuation. Our argument is based on a puzzle inspired by the Kripkean story of Peter and Paderewski: having developed several variations of the original story, we conclude that understanding and communication cannot be modeled as a process of thought transfer between speaker and hearer. While we are not the first (...)
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  • Recanati on Communication of First‐person Thoughts.Sajed Tayebi - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3):210-218.
    In this paper, I will provide a counterexample to Recanati's account of first-person communication (1995, 2010, 2012). In particular, I will show that Recanati's constraints are not sufficient for the success of first-person communication. My argument against Recanati's account is parallel to Recanati's argument against neo-Russellian accounts, and shows that the same problem resurfaces even in the presence of linguistically encoded mode of presentation in a neo-Fregean framework of mental files.
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  • Pritchard’s Epistemology and Necessary Truths.Jeffrey W. Roland & Jon Cogburn - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Duncan Pritchard has argued that his basis-relative anti-luck construal of a safety condition on knowing avoids the problem with necessary truths that safety conditions are often thought to have, viz., that beliefs the contents of which are necessarily true are trivially safe. He has further argued that adding an ability condition to truth, belief, and his anti-luck safety conditions yields an adequate account of knowledge. In this paper, we argue that not only does Pritchard’s anti-luck safety condition have a problem (...)
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  • Understanding Semantic Coordination in Cognition.Gurpreet Rattan - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (3):289-313.
    Kit Fine (2007) outlines an account of semantic coordination, an account motivated by the role of semantic coordination in cognition. Actually, Fine outlines two accounts of semantic coordination, one in terms of co-reference and another in terms of synonymy. I argue, first, that Fine's two accounts are not equivalent, with one being logically stronger than the other, but second and more importantly, that neither account is correct. I outline an alternative account of semantic coordination – the epistemic conception of semantic (...)
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  • Tacit knowledge of grammar: A reply to Knowles.Gurpreet Rattan - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (2):135 – 154.
    I defend the non-cognitivist outlook on knowledge of grammar from the criticisms levelled against it by Jonathan Knowles. The first part of the paper is largely critical. First, I argue that Knowles's argument against Christopher Peacocke and Martin Davies's non-cognitivist account of the psychological reality of grammar fails, and thus that no reason has been given to think that cognitivism is integral to an understanding of Chomskyan theoretical linguistics. Second, I argue that cognitivism is philosophically problematic. In particular, I argue (...)
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  • Shared modes of presentation.Simon Prosser - 2018 - Mind and Language 34 (4):465-482.
    What is it for two people to think of an object, natural kind or other entity under the same mode of presentation (MOP)? This has seemed a particularly difficult question for advocates of the Mental Files approach, the Language of Thought, or other ‘atomistic’ theories. In this paper I propose a simple answer. I first argue that, by parallel with the synchronic intrapersonal case, the sharing of a MOP should involve a certain kind of epistemic transparency between the token thoughts (...)
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  • Referential Intentions and Communicative Luck.Andrew Peet - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):379-384.
    Brian Loar [1976] observed that communicative success with singular terms requires more than correct referent assignment. For communicative success to be achieved, the audience must assign the right referent in the right way. Loar, and others since, took this to motivate Fregean accounts of the semantics of singular terms. Ray Buchanan [2014] has recently responded, maintaining that, although Loar is correct to claim that communicative success with singular terms requires more than correct referent assignment, this is compatible with direct reference (...)
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  • Knowledge-yielding communication.Andrew Peet - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3303-3327.
    A satisfactory theory of linguistic communication must explain how it is that, through the interpersonal exchange of auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli, the communicative preconditions for the acquisition of testimonial knowledge regularly come to be satisfied. Without an account of knowledge-yielding communication this success condition for linguistic theorizing is left opaque, and we are left with an incomplete understanding of testimony, and communication more generally, as a source of knowledge. This paper argues that knowledge-yielding communication should be modelled on knowledge (...)
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  • What is communicative success?Peter Pagin - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (1):pp. 85-115.
    Suppose we have an idea of what counts as communication, more precisely as a communicative event. Then we have the further task of dividing communicative events into successful and unsuccessful. Part of this task is to find a basis for this evaluation, i.e. appropriate properties of speaker and hearer. It is argued that success should be evaluated in terms of a relation between thought contents of speaker and hearer. This view is labelled ‘classical’, since it is justifiably attributable to both (...)
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  • The Publicity of Thought.Andrea Onofri - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272).
    An influential tradition holds that thoughts are public: different thinkers share many of their thoughts, and the same applies to a single subject at different times. This ‘publicity principle’ has recently come under attack. Arguments by Mark Crimmins, Richard Heck and Brian Loar seem to show that publicity is inconsistent with the widely accepted principle that someone who is ignorant or mistaken about certain identity facts will have distinct thoughts about the relevant object—for instance, the astronomer who does not know (...)
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  • Loar’s Puzzle, Similarity, and Knowledge of Reference.Andrea Onofri - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (2):1-45.
    In ‘The Semantics of Singular Terms’ (1976) Brian Loar proposed a famous case where a hearer seems to misunderstand an utterance even though he has correctly identified its referent. Loar’s case has been used to defend a model of communication where speaker and hearer must think of the referent in similar ways in order for communication to succeed. This ‘Similar Ways of Thinking’ (SW) theory is extremely popular, both in the literature on Loar cases and in other philosophical discussions. My (...)
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  • Frege and the Paradox of Analysis.Michael Nelson - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (2):159-181.
    In an unpublished manuscript of 1914 titled ‘Logic in mathematics’, Gottlob Frege offered a rich account of the paradox of analysis. I argue that Frege there claims that the explicandum and explicans of a successful analysis express the same sense and that he furthermore appreciated that this requires that one cannot conclude that two sentences differ in sense simply because it is possible for a (minimally) competent speaker to accept one without accepting the other. I claim that this is shown (...)
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  • Accidentally About Me.Daniel Morgan - 2019 - Mind 128 (512):1085-1115.
    Why are de se mental states essential? What exactly is their de se-ness needed to do? I argue that it is needed to fend off accidentalness. If certain beliefs – for example, nociceptive, proprioceptive or introspective beliefs – were not de se, then any truth they achieved would be too accidental for the subject to count as knowing. If certain intentions – intentions that are in play whenever we intentionally do anything – were not de se, then any satisfaction they (...)
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  • Tolerating Sense Variation.Eliot Michaelson & Mark Textor - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (1):182-196.
    Frege famously claimed that variations in the sense of a proper name can sometimes be ‘tolerated’. In this paper, we offer a novel explanation of this puzzling claim. Frege, we argue, follows Trendelenburg in holding that we think in language—sometimes individually and sometimes together. Variations in sense can be tolerated in just those cases where we are using language to coordinate our actions but are not engaged in thinking together about an issue.
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  • Frege’s Puzzle and Act-based Propositions.Nikhil Mahant - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (2).
    I argue that the act-based accounts of propositions, like the one defended by Soames, cannot be used to address Frege’s Puzzle without also giving up the Millian view of names. I begin by identifying two puzzles—both of which have been called Frege’s puzzle—and discuss the act-based theorist’s solution to the first puzzle. I then raise an objection against the solution and argue that it cannot be overcome unless a concession is made. Making the concession, however, would make it impossible for (...)
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  • Proper Names.Josep Macià - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (sup1):129-155.
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  • Understanding what was said.Guy Longworth - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):815-834.
    On the most prominent account, understanding what was said is always propositional knowledge of what was said. I develop a more minimal alternative, according to which understanding is sometimes a distinctive attitude towards what was said—to a first approximation, entertaining what was said. The propositional knowledge account has been supported on the basis of its capacity to explain testimonial knowledge transmission. I argue that it is not so supported.
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  • Some Models of Linguistic Understanding.Guy Longworth - 2009 - The Baltic International Yearbook 5 (1):7.
    I discuss the conjecture that understanding what is said in an utterance is to be modelled as knowing what is said in that utterance. My main aim is to present a number of alter- native models, as a prophylactic against premature acceptance of the conjecture as the only game in town. I also offer preliminary assessments of each of the models, including the propositional knowledge model, in part by considering their respective capacities to sub-serve the transmission of knowledge through testimony. (...)
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  • Linguistic understanding and knowledge.Guy Longworth - 2008 - Noûs 42 (1):50–79.
    Is linguistic understanding a form of knowledge? I clarify the question and then consider two natural forms a positive answer might take. I argue that, although some recent arguments fail to decide the issue, neither positive answer should be accepted. The aim is not yet to foreclose on the view that linguistic understanding is a form of knowledge, but to develop desiderata on a satisfactory successor to the two natural views rejected here.
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  • Communication and indexical reference.Jonas Åkerman - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):355 - 366.
    In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since there are (...)
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  • Sense, Communication, and Rational Engagement.Imogen Dickie & Gurpreet Rattan - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (2):131-151.
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  • Luck and the Value of Communication.Megan Hyska - 2023 - Synthese 201 (96):1-19.
    Those in the Gricean tradition take it that successful human communication features an audience who not only arrives at the intended content of the signal, but also recognizes the speaker’s intention that they do so. Some in this tradition have also argued that there are yet further conditions on communicative success, which rule out the possibility of communicating by luck. Supposing that both intention-recognition and some sort of anti-luck condition are correctly included in an analysis of human communication, this article (...)
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  • Desires, descriptivism, and reference failure.Alexander Hughes - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):279-296.
    I argue that mental descriptivism cannot be reasonably thought superior to rival theories on the grounds that it can (while they cannot) provide an elegant account of reference failure. Descriptivism about the particular-directed intentionality of our mental states fails when applied to desires. Consider, for an example, the desire that Satan not tempt me. On the descriptivist account, it looks like my desire would be fulfilled in conditions in which there exists exactly one thing satisfying some description only Satan satisfies (...)
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  • Solving Frege's puzzle.Richard Heck - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (1-2):728-732.
    So-called 'Frege cases' pose a challenge for anyone who would hope to treat the contents of beliefs (and similar mental states) as Russellian propositions: It is then impossible to explain people's behavior in Frege cases without invoking non-intentional features of their mental states, and doing that seems to undermine the intentionality of psychological explanation. In the present paper, I develop this sort of objection in what seems to me to be its strongest form, but then offer a response to it. (...)
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  • Speaker’s Reference, Semantic Reference, and Intuition.Richard G. Heck - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (2):251-269.
    Some years ago, Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich reported the results of experiments that reveal, they claim, cross-cultural differences in speaker’s ‘intuitions’ about Kripke’s famous Gödel–Schmidt case. Several authors have suggested, however, that the question they asked their subjects is ambiguous between speaker’s reference and semantic reference. Machery and colleagues have since made a number of replies. It is argued here that these are ineffective. The larger lesson, however, concerns the role that first-order philosophy should, and more importantly should not, (...)
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  • Frege on Identity and Identity-Statements: A Reply to Thau and Caplan.Richard G. Heck - 2003 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):83-102.
    The paper argues, as against Thau and Caplan, that the traditional interpretation that Frege abandoned his earlier views about identity and identity--statements is correct.
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  • Intuition and the Substitution Argument.Richard G. Heck - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (1):1-30.
    The 'substitution argument' purports to demonstrate the falsity of Russellian accounts of belief-ascription by observing that, e.g., these two sentences: (LC) Lois believes that Clark can fly. (LS) Lois believes that Superman can fly. could have different truth-values. But what is the basis for that claim? It seems widely to be supposed, especially by Russellians, that it is simply an 'intuition', one that could then be 'explained away'. And this supposition plays an especially important role in Jennifer Saul's defense of (...)
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  • The representational structure of linguistic understanding.J. P. Grodniewicz - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The nature of linguistic understanding is a much-debated topic. Among the issues that have been discussed, two questions have recently received a lot of attention: (Q1) ‘Are states of understanding direct (i.e. represent solely what is said) or indirect (i.e. represent what is said as being said/asserted)?’ and (Q2) ‘What kind of mental attitude is linguistic understanding (e.g. knowledge, belief, seeming)?’ This paper argues that, contrary to what is commonly assumed, there is no straightforward answer to either of these questions. (...)
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  • The process of linguistic understanding.J. P. Grodniewicz - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11463-11481.
    The majority of our linguistic exchanges, such as everyday conversations, are divided into turns; one party usually talks at a time, with only relatively rare occurrences of brief overlaps in which there are two simultaneous speakers. Moreover, conversational turn-taking tends to be very fast. We typically start producing our responses before the previous turn has finished, i.e., before we are confronted with the full content of our interlocutor’s utterance. This raises interesting questions about the nature of linguistic understanding. Philosophical theories (...)
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  • Language Understanding and Knowledge of Meaning.Mitchell Green - 209 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5:4.
    In recent years the view that understanding a language requires knowing what its words and expressions mean has come under attack. One line of attack attempts to show that while knowledge can be undermined by Gettier-style counterexamples, language understanding cannot be. I consider this line of attack, particularly in the work of Pettit and Longworth, and show it to be unpersuasive. I stress, however, that maintaining a link between language understanding and knowledge does not itself vindicate a cognitivist view of (...)
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  • Relational approaches to Frege's puzzle.Aidan Gray - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (10):e12429.
    Frege's puzzle is a fundamental challenge for accounts of mental and linguistic representation. This piece surveys a family of recent approaches to the puzzle that posit representational relations. I identify the central commitments of relational approaches and present several arguments for them. I also distinguish two kinds of relationism—semantic relationism and formal relationism—corresponding to two conceptions of representational relations. I briefly discuss the consequences of relational approaches for foundational questions about propositional attitudes, intentional explanation, and compositionality.
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  • Name-bearing, reference, and circularity.Aidan Gray - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):207-231.
    Proponents of the predicate view of names explain the reference of an occurrence of a name N by invoking the property of bearing N. They avoid the charge that this view involves a vicious circularity by claiming that bearing N is not itself to be understood in terms of the reference of actual or possible occurrences of N. I argue that this approach is fundamentally mistaken. The phenomenon of ‘reference transfer’ shows that an individual can come to bear a name (...)
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  • Minimal Fregeanism.Aidan Gray - 2022 - Mind 131 (522):429-458.
    Among the virtues of relationist approaches to Frege’s puzzle is that they put us in a position to outline structural features of the puzzle that were only implicit in earlier work. In particular, they allow us to frame questions about the relation between the explanatory roles of sense and sameness of sense. In this paper, I distinguish a number of positions about that relation which have not been clearly distinguished. This has a few pay-offs. It allows us to shed light (...)
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  • Must Differences in Cognitive Value be Transparent?Sanford Goldberg - 2008 - Erkenntnis 69 (2):165-187.
    Frege’s ‘differential dubitability’ test is a test for differences in cognitive value: if one can rationally believe that p while simultaneously doubting that q, then the contents p and q amount to different ‘cognitive values’. If subject S is rational, does her simultaneous adoption of different attitudes towards p and q require that the difference between p and q(as cognitive values) be transparent to her? It is natural to think so. But I argue that, if attitude anti-individualism is true, then (...)
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  • A transcendental argument from testimonial knowledge to content externalism.Mikkel Gerken - 2022 - Noûs 56 (2):259-275.
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  • Justification and Ways of Believing.Heimir Geirsson - 2002 - Disputatio 1 (12):1 - 11.
    One of the issues that has been hotly discussed in connection with the direct designation theory is whether or not coreferential names can be substituted salva veritate in epistemic contexts. Some direct designation theorists believe that they can be so substituted. Some direct designation theorists and all Fregeans and neo-Fregeans believe that they cannot be so substituted. Fregeans of various stripes have used their intuition against free substitution to argue against the direct designation theory. Some direct designation theorists have used (...)
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  • Replies to Matthen, Weiskopf and Wikforss.Christopher Gauker - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):121-131.
    This article consists of replies to three commentaries on the book, Words and Images: An Essay on the Origin of Ideas (Oxford 2011).
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  • Empty names and `gappy' propositions.Anthony Everett - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 116 (1):1-36.
    In recent years a number of authors sympathetic to Referentialistaccounts of proper names have argued that utterances containingempty names express `gappy,' or incomplete, propositions. In this paper I want to take issue with this suggestion.In particular, I argue versions of this approach developedby David Braun, Nathan Salmon, Ken Taylor, and by Fred Adams,Gary Fuller, and Robert Stecker.
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  • How Proper Names Refer.Imogen Dickie - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (1pt1):43-78.
    This paper develops a new account of reference-fixing for proper names. The account is built around an intuitive claim about reference fixing: the claim that I am a participant in a practice of using α to refer to o only if my uses of α are constrained by the representationally relevant ways it is possible for o to behave. §I raises examples that suggest that a right account of how proper names refer should incorporate this claim. §II provides such an (...)
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  • Understanding a communicated thought.J. Adam Carter, Emma Gordon & J. P. Grodniewicz - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):12137-12151.
    The goal of this paper is twofold. First, we argue that the understanding one has of a proposition or a propositional content of a representational vehicle is a species of what contemporary epistemologists characterise as objectual understanding. Second, we demonstrate that even though this type of understanding differs from linguistic understanding, in many instances of successful communication, these two types of understanding jointly contribute to understanding a communicated thought.
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  • Reference, Understanding, and Communication.Ray Buchanan - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):55-70.
    Brian Loar [1976] observed that, even in the simplest of cases, such as an utterance of (1): ‘He is a stockbroker’, a speaker's audience might misunderstand her utterance even if they correctly identify the referent of the relevant singular term, and understand what is being predicated of it. Numerous theorists, including Bezuidenhout [1997], Heck [1995], Paul [1999], and Récanati [1993, 1995], have used Loar's observation to argue against direct reference accounts of assertoric content and communication, maintaining that, even in these (...)
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  • The rational roles of experiences of utterance meanings.Berit Brogaard - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The perennial question of the nature of natural-language understanding has received renewed attention in recent years. Two kinds of natural-language understanding, in particular, have captivated the interest of philosophers: linguistic understanding and utterance understanding. While the literature is rife with discussions of linguistic understanding and utterance understanding, the question of how the two types of understanding explanatorily depend on each other has received relatively scant attention. Exceptions include the linguistic ability/know-how views of linguistic understanding proposed by Dean Pettit and Brendan (...)
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  • Russellianism and Explanation.David Braun - 2001 - Noûs 35 (s15):253-289.
    Many philosophers think that the Substitution Objection decisively refutes Russellianism. This objection claims that sentences (1) and (2) can differ in truth value. Therefore, it says, the sentences express different propositions, and so Russellianism is false.
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  • Can you seek the answer to this question? (Meno in India).Amber Carpenter & Jonardon Ganeri - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):571-594.
    Plato articulates a deep perplexity about inquiry in ?Meno's Paradox??the claim that one can inquire neither into what one knows, nor into what one does not know. Although some commentators have wrestled with the paradox itself, many suppose that the paradox of inquiry is special to Plato, arising from peculiarities of the Socratic elenchus or of Platonic epistemology. But there is nothing peculiarly Platonic in this puzzle. For it arises, too, in classical Indian philosophical discussions, where it is formulated with (...)
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  • Partial understanding.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2023 - Synthese 202 (2):1-32.
    Say that an audience understands a given utterance perfectly only if she correctly identifies which proposition (or propositions) that utterance expresses. In ideal circumstances, the participants in a conversation will understand each other’s utterances perfectly; however, even if they do not, they may still understand each other’s utterances at least in part. Although it is plausible to think that the phenomenon of partial understanding is very common, there is currently no philosophical account of it. This paper offers such an account. (...)
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