Semantic intuitions, conceptual analysis, and cross-cultural variation

Philosophical Studies 146 (2):159 - 177 (2008)
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Abstract

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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Henry Jackman
York University

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