Collective Communicative Intentions in Context

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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What are the objects of speaker meaning? The traditional answer is: propositions. The traditional answer faces an important challenge: If propositions are the objects of speaker meaning then there must be specific propositions that speakers intend their audiences to recover. Yet, speakers typically exhibit a degree of indifference regarding how they are interpreted, and cannot rationally intend for their audiences to recover specific propositions. Therefore, propositions are not the objects of speaker meaning (Buchanan (2010), MacFarlane (2020a, 2020b), and Abreu Zavaleta (2021)). In this paper I do two things. Firstly, I outline a collective analog of this challenge that undermines the most prominent responses to the original challenge. Secondly, I provide a new solution: Typical utterances are backed by a cluster of partial communicative intentions. This response resolves both individual and collective variants of the problem and allows us to retain the traditional propositional view of speaker meaning.

Author's Profile

Andrew Peet
University of Leeds


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