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symposium on kent bach
1. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Esther Romero, Belén Soria Challenges to Bach’s Pragmatics
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In this paper, we will revise Bach’s classification of contents in what is directly meant. That catalogue was introduced to reach an exhaustive characterization of the contents that may appear in what the speaker means; something that cannot be done just with Grice’s division between what is said and what is implied. However, Bach’s distinction among different types of direct inexplicit contents (explicit, implicit, and figurative) presents some theoretical problems which we think can be avoided if at least the following is considered. First, within what he calls “local completion”, a more fine grained distinction between lexical specializationand local completion proper should be established. We suggest that this can be done by resorting to different senses in which a mandatory demand of pragmatic information may be triggered. Cases of lexical specialization will depend on context-sensitive expressions and will require a new notion for explicit contents: expliciture. Second, we argue that metonymy should be considered as an impliciture rather than as a case of figurative content, taking into account that supplementation rather than transfer is the pragmatic strategy involved in the interpretation of metonymic utterances. Third, we defend that in metonymic utterances, the impliciture is based on completion rather than expansion and this entails a refi nement of the notion of propositional radical. In this way, our reform leads to a more exhaustive classification, and provides the criteria underlying this catalogue of the ways in which what is directly communicated in an utterance can go beyond sentence meaning.
2. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey C. King Kent Bach on Speaker Intentions and Context
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It is generally believed that natural languages have lots of contextually sensitive expressions. In addition to familiar examples like ‘I’, ‘here’, ‘today’, ‘he’, ‘that’ and so on that everyone takes to be contextually sensitive, examples of expressions that many would take to be contextually sensitive include tense, modals, gradable adjectives, relational terms (‘local’; ‘enemy’), possessives (‘Annie’s book’) and quantifi ers (via quantifier domains). With the exception of contextually sensitive expressions discussed by Kaplan [1977], there has not been a lot of discussion as to the mechanism whereby contextually sensitive expressions get their values in context, aside from vague references to speakers’ intentions. In a recent paper, I proposed a candidate for being this mechanism and defended the claim that it is such. Because, as I suggested, these issues have been most extensively discussed in the case of demonstratives, I focused on these expressions by way of contrasting the mechanism I proposed with others in the literature. In the present work, I simply state what I claim is the mechanism by means of which demonstratives secure semantic values in contexts without defending the claim that it is so. I then consider some claims made by Kent Bach, and arguments for those claims, which would undermine the account I propose of how demonstratives secure semantic values in context.
3. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Michael Devitt Good and Bad Bach
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This paper is concerned with Bach’s stand on the “semantics-pragmatics” issue. A bit of Good Bach is his skepticism about the evidential role of intuitions. Another bit is his firm stand against the widespread confusion of what constitutes the meanings of utterances with how hearers interpret utterances. The paper argues at length against two bits of Bad Bach. (1) There is no sound theoretical motivation for his excluding the reference fixing of demonstratives, pronouns and names from “what-is-said”. (2) His methodology for deciding what is “semantic” is flawed in three respects: first, in its commitment to the mistaken Modified Occam’s Razor; second, in its placing inappropriate syntactic constraints on conventional meanings; and, third, in explaining many regularities in usage as standardizations rather than conventionalizations. This flawed methodology has the conservative effect of ruling out new meanings.
4. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Mirela Fuš Bach’s Constraint on Extending Acquaintance: Some Questions and a Modest Proposal
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My aim in this paper is to examine how Kent Bach’s theory of singular thought about material objects meets the requirements of transmitting de re thought. I identify a certain possible paradox haunting Bach’s move of extending acquaintance in order to widen the scope of singular thought and I attempt to answer this possible paradox. First, I briefly present the manner in which Bach motivates extended acquaintance and which constraints he puts on it. I then address the problem of the sorites paradox which might lead not only to Bach’s communication-based de re thoughts, but perception-based de re thoughts in general, thus defined. Finally, I offer my tentative solution to the problem of extended acquaintance which consists in introducing two constraints on singular thought, namely (i) the (external) acquaintance constraint and (ii) the (internal) cognitive significance constraint, and two types of representations, namely indexical-iconic representations and indexical-discursive representations which are together crucial for having a singular thought.
5. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Kent Bach Replies to My Critics
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I thank my critics for time, thought, and effort put into their commentaries. Since obviously I can’t respond to everything, I will try to address what strike me as the most important questions they ask and objections they raise. I think I have decent answers to some questions and decent responses to some objections, in other cases it seems enough to clarify the relevant view, and in still others I need to modify the view in question. One complication, which I won’t elaborate on, is that the views under consideration have evolved, or at least changed, over the years, so that my critics are aiming at a moving target, albeit a slowly moving one. Before responding, I will sketch some of the main ideas behind my view, including their unifying motivation, and mention a few key distinctions that are particularly relevant to topics addressed by my critics.
6. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Philipp Haueis Vagueness and Mechanistic Explanation in Neuroscience
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The problem of fuzzy boundaries when delineating cortical areas is widely known in human brain mapping and its adjacent subdisciplines (anatomy, physiology and functional neuroimaging). Yet, a conceptual framework for understanding indeterminacy in neuroscience is missing, and there has been no discussion in the philosophy of neuroscience whether indeterminacy poses an issue for good neuroscientific explanations. My paper addresses both these issues by applying philosophical theories of vagueness to three levels of neuroscientific research, namely to (i) cytoarchitectonic studies at the neuron level (ii) intra-areal neuronalinteraction measured by the BOLD-signal of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and (iii) inter-areal connectivity between different cortical areas. The rest of the paper explores how this framework can be extended to mechanistic explanations in neuroscience. I discuss a semantic and an ontic interpretation of vagueness in mechanistic explanations and argue how both become scientifically interesting from the perspective of a philosophy of scientific practice.
7. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Maria Serban Structural Representations and the Explanatory Constraint
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My aim in this paper is to investigate what epistemic role, if any, do appeals to representations play in cognitive neuroscience. I suggest that while at present they seem to play something in between a minimal and a substantive explanatory role, there is reason to believe that representations have a substantial contribution to the construction of neuroscientic explanations of cognitive phenomena.
8. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Tamara Dobler Ever the Twain shall Meet? Chomsky and Wittgenstein on Linguistic Competence
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It is a dominant view in the philosophical literature on the later Wittgenstein that Chomsky’s approach to the investigation of natural language stands in stark contrast to Wittgenstein’s, and that their respective conceptions of language and linguistic understanding are irreconcilable. The aim in this paper is to show that this view is largely incorrect and that the two approaches to language and its use are indeed compatible, notwithstanding their distinctive foci of interest. The author argues that there is a signifi cant correspondence in at least five different areas of their work, and that once we pay attention to these there will be lesstemptation to see Wittgenstein and Chomsky as enemies.
9. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Andrei Nasta A Guide to Binding Economy
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This is an introduction to the syntax, semantics and pragmatics of binding, with a special focus on the so-called principles of linguistic economy. I shall first look at the (syntactic) Binding Principles, and stress some of their limitations. Consequently, additional constraints are needed to complement the robust syntactic generalisations already ensured by the Binding Principles and thus to overcome their limitations. Subsequently, we shall explore the basic mechanisms underlying the reconstruction of Binding Theory under the new set of constraints introduced by the economy principles. It is this variety of principles of economy that is the main theme of the present paper. I spell out the idea of linguistic economy, its ramifications as well as its explanatory uses.
book review
10. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Luca Malatesti Joško Žanić, Značenje, stvarnost i konceptualna struktura: Ogled o temeljima semantike i njihovim ontološkim implikacijama (Meaning, Reality and Conceptual Structure: An Essay on the Foundations of Semantics and the Ontological Implications Thereof)
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