Introducing internalism via "Conjoining Meanings: Semantics Without Truth Values" (Pietroski 2018)
Malhaar Shah
July 2022

A detailed overview of "Conjoining Meanings" (Pietroski, 2018), a model of linguistic meaning that does not appeal to truth-values, but takes meanings to be instructions to fetch conceptual mental representations and compose them via analogues of conjunction. I put this in terms of a "minimalist program for semantics", looking to recapture phenomena usually described in terms of Function Application, lambda-abstraction, variables, etc. I discuss the main architectural issues for Pietroski (polysemy and building a typology that does not overgenerate). I walk through some derivations to help semanticists get an idea of what Pietroski's project is about. A section-by-section summary of the entire book is provided, including its criticisms of truth-condtional semantics. I round off with a discussion of (i) the differences between Pietroski and Chomsky's views on internalism, (ii) the relation of Pietroski's system to 'neo-constructionist' approaches in syntax, (iii) the semantics/pragmatics distinction and the strict context-insensitivity of meanings in Conjoining Meanings, and (iv) characterising inferential patterns without entailment.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006699
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Unpublished - comments very welcome!
keywords: internalism, philosophy, pietroski, typology, composition, truth conditions, semantics, chomsky
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