Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01bg257f10d
 Title: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism Authors: Kim, Su Advisors: Harman, Gilbert Contributors: Philosophy Department Subjects: Philosophy Issue Date: 2012 Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Abstract: Semantic Minimalism is a position about the semantic content of declarative sentences, i.e., the content that is determined entirely by syntax. It is defined by the following two points: Point 1: The semantic content is a complete/truth-conditional proposition. Point 2: The semantic content is useful to a theory of utterance interpretation. Against this position, Contextualists present two main arguments: Incompleteness Problem: For some sentences, semantic interpretation gives us a propositional radical. Inaccessibility Problem: For some sentences, semantic interpretation gives us a proposition that is complete/truth-conditional but not consciously accessible. The Incompleteness Problem, an argument against Point 1, claims that the semantic content of a sentence like "Tipper is ready" expresses a propositional radical that requires a completion specifying what Tipper is ready for to express a complete proposition. Since this completion is pragmatically determined, Contextualists argue that semantic interpretation alone sometimes fails to determine a content that is complete/truth-conditional. The Inaccessibility Problem, an argument against Point 2, claims that the semantic content of a sentence like "Jack and Jill are married," i.e., Jack and Jill are each married, is oftentimes consciously inaccessible; what is accessible is the pragmatically determined proposition that Jack and Jill are married to each other. Contextualists argue that in such cases, the semantic content fails to play any role in explaining communicative success. My aim in this dissertation is to endorse a version of Minimalism by defending Point 1 and Point 2 against these two arguments. In Chapter 1, I put the disagreement between Minimalists and Contextualists in clearer focus by separating it from another disagreement concerning the notion of saying. In Chapter 2, I defend Point 1 by arguing that the Minimalist view that I favor, according to which the semantic content of a sentence like "Tipper is ready" is a complete/truth-conditional, albeit unspecific, proposition, is a more reasonable view than Contextualism. In Chapter 3, I defend Point 2 by showing the plausibility of the idea that the semantic content of a sentence like "Jack and Jill are married" plays the input role in a speedy subconscious process that "mirrors" the Gricean implicature process. URI: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01bg257f10d Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.) Language: en Appears in Collections: Philosophy

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