Synonymy, common knowledge, and the social construction of meaning

In Paul Dekker & Michael Franke (eds.), Proceedings of the Fifteenth Amsterdam Colloquium. Amsterdam: ILLC. pp. 161-166 (2005)
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Abstract
In this paper it is shown how a formal theory of interpretation in Montague’s style can be reconciled with a view on meaning as a social construct. We sketch a formal theory in which agents can have their own theory of interpretation and in which groups can have common theories of interpretation. Frege solved the problem how different persons can have access to the same proposition by placing the proposition in a Platonic realm, independent from all language users but accessible to all of them. Here we explore the alternative of letting meaning be socially constructed. The meaning of a sentence is accessible to each member of a linguistic community because the way the sentence is to be interpreted is common knowledge among the members of that community. Misunderstandings can arise when the semantic knowledge of two or more individuals is not completely in sync.
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