Explaining Reference: A Plea for Semantic Psychologism

In Julien Dutant, Davide Fassio & Anne Meylan (eds.), Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel. University of Geneva. pp. 550-580 (2014)
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Abstract
‘Modest’ and ‘full-blooded’ conceptions of meaning disagree on whether we should try to provide explanations of reference. In this paper, I defend a psychological brand of the full-blooded program. As I understand it, there are good reasons to provide a psychological explanation of referential abilities. This explanation is to be framed at an intermediary level of description between the personal level and the explanations provided by neuroscience. My defense of this program has two parts: First, I display the explanatory insufficiency of truth-conditional semantics and, second, I respond to some widespread arguments against psychological explanations of referential abilities.
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Archival date: 2014-02-02
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