2020 Carl G. Hempel Lecture #1: "The thesis of plural signification"

Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Virtual event

Series title: "The Multiplicity of Meaning"

This lecture will introduce the thesis of the lecture-series:

Plural Signification: Almost always, when x​ bears a semantic relation to y ​, ​x bears that relation to many other entities very similar to y.

Here, “semantic” relations include speech-act relations like saying and asserting between people and propositions; psychological relations like believing and thinking about, and relations like expressing and referring to that words and larger linguistic expressions bear to entities in various categories. This lecture will introduce and flesh out the thesis; provide some intuitive motivations for it; set aside some bad arguments for it; and consider a few obvious objections. Finally, I will present an argument for a certain restricted version of Plural Signification, based on certain cases where even knowledgeable, competent, co-operative speakers will generally not all choose the same answer when asked a yes/no question.

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