Meaning holism and de re ascription
Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 38, (4), . (doi:10.1353/cjp.0.0033).
- Author's Original
According to inferential role semantics, for an expression to have a meaning is for it to have a role in inference. It is widely recognised that any such theory seems to face a communication problem. Since no two speakers share the same beliefs, they will inevitably make different inferential transitions involving an expression. Hence, given inferential role semantics, the same word in different mouths will possess a different meaning and be understood differently. In this paper, I outline Brandom’s proposed solution, which involves an appeal to de re ascriptions. That strategy, I argue, fails in several respects to solve the communication problem.
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