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Authors: Beyer, Christian
Title: Meaning, context, and background
Online publication date: 11-Nov-2016
Language: english
Abstract: It is widely held that (truth-conditional) meaning is context-dependent. According to John Searle's radical version of contextualism, the very notion of meaning “is only applicable relative to a set of […] background assumptions” (Searle 1978, p. 207), or background know-how. In earlier work, I have developed a (moderately externalist) “neo-Husserlian” account of the context-dependence of meaning and intentional content, based on Husserl’s semantics of indexicals. Starting from this semantics, which strongly resembles today's mainstream semantics (section 2) I describe the (radical) contextualist challenge that mainstream semantics and pragmatics face in view of the (re-)discovery of what Searle calls the background of meaning (section 3). Following this, and drawing upon both my own neo-Husserlian account and ideas from Emma Borg, Gareth Evans and Timothy Williamson, I sketch a strategy for meeting this challenge (section 4) and draw a social-epistemological picture that allows us to characterize meaning and content in a way that takes account of contextualist insights yet makes it necessary to tone down Searle's “hypothesis of the Background” (section 5).
DDC: 100 Philosophie
100 Philosophy
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-publ-551531
Version: Published version
Publication type: Buchbeitrag
License: in Copyright
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Citation: Open MIND
Metzinger, Thomas
Pages or article number: Kap. 4(T)
Publisher: MIND Group
Publisher place: Frankfurt am Main
Issue date: 2015
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.15502/9783958570221
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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