Seeing and Hearing Meanings. A Non-Inferential Approach to Utterance Comprehension

In Anders Nes & Timothy Chan (eds.), Inference and Consciousness. Routledge. pp. 99-124 (2020)
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Abstract
In this paper I provide empirical and theoretical considerations in favor of a non-inferential view of speech comprehension. On the view defended, we typically comprehend speech by perceiving or grasping apparently conveyed meanings directly rather than by inferring them from, say, linguistic principles and perceived phonemes. “Speech” is here used in the broad sense to refer not only to verbal expression, but also written messages, including Braille, and conventional signs and symbols, like emojis, a stop sign or a swastika. Along the way I define what I mean by ‘inference’ and provide an account of what it means to say that we perceive apparently conveyed meanings.
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