Week Eleven: Objections to Jackson

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One of the benefits of the 2D framework we looked at last week was that it explained how we could understand a sentence without knowing which proposition it expressed. And we could do this even if we give an account of understanding which is closely tied to the possible worlds semantics we use to analyse propositions. Really this can be done very easily, without appeal to any high-flying Kripkean cases. In “Analytic Metaphysics” Jackson discusses a very simple case of it. I can understand an utterance of “I have a beard” without knowing which proposition it expresses. I know how the proposition is generated from context plus meaning, if X is the speaker then the sentence expresses the proposition X has a beard. And that is enough for understanding. But if I don’t know who said the sentence, so I don’t know who X is, I don’t know which proposition is expressed by that utterance
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