Husserl on Meaning, Grammar, and the Structure of Content

Husserl Studies 34 (2):101-121 (2018)
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Abstract
Husserl’s Logical Grammar is intended to explain how complex expressions can be constructed out of simple ones so that their meaning turns out to be determined by the meanings of their constituent parts and the way they are put together. Meanings are thus understood as structured contents and classified into formal categories to the effect that the logical properties of expressions reflect their grammatical properties. As long as linguistic meaning reduces to the intentional content of pre-linguistic representations, however, it is not trivial to account for how semantics relates to syntax in this context. In this paper, I analyze Husserl’s Logical Grammar as a system of recursive rules operating on representations and suggest that the syntactic form of representations contributes to their semantics because it carries information about semantic role. I further discuss Husserl’s syntactic account of the unity of propositions and argue that, on this account, logical form supervenes on syntactic form. In the last section I draw some implications for the phenomenology of thought and conjecture that the structural features it displays are likely to convey the syntactic structures of an underlying language-like representational system.
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Archival date: 2018-06-25
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What is Meaning.Soames, Scott

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