Horwich on meaning and use

J.K. Katzav

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Paul Horwich claims that theories of meaning ought to accommodate the commonsense intuition that meanings play a part in explaining the use of words. Further, he argues that the view that best does so is that according to which the meaning of a word is constituted by a disposition to accept, in some circumstances, sentences in which it features. I argue that if meanings are construed thus, they will in fact fail to explain the use of words. I also argue that if we insist, as Horwich does, on the commonsense assumption that meanings are a species of entity, all versions of the view that meaning is constituted by our dispositions to use words will have to be rejected. I do not, however, claim that such theories ought to be rejected. My point is that they are incompatible with the requirements of commonsense. Further, I suggest that it is premature to impose such requirements on theories of meaning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159-175
    Number of pages17
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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