Place, U. T. (1997k). Two theories of meaning: The two-factor dispositional/relational and the single factor relational [Presented at the Twenty Third Philosophy of Science Course, Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik, 8th April 1997].
[Abstract]Theories of meaning are of two kinds, two-factor dispositional/relational theories and single factor relational theories. A two-factor dispositional/relational theory of meaning holds that the word 'meaning' has two senses: a primary and fundamental sense in which meaning is a disposition and a secondary and derivative sense in which meaning is a relation. (a) In the primary or dispositional sense, the meaning of a linguistic expression, such as a phrase or sentence, is a disposition, shared by relevantly competent speakers and interpreters of a particular natural language or technical code, to apply certain criteria (which they need not be able to state) in deciding whether or not a particular they encounter is either an instance to which, in the case of a general term or universally quantified sentence, the expression applies or, in the case of a singular term or singularly quantified sentence, the individual to which it refers. (b) In the secondary or relational sense, the meaning of a linguistic expression is the actual individuals assigned, by the application of those criteria, to the extension of a general term or universally quantified sentence or the actual individual referred to by a singular term or singularly quantified sentence when uttered on a particular occasion, as determined by the criteria. Taking their cue from Quine's (1951/1980) repudiation of the analytic/synthetic distinction, many philosophers have defended a purely relational/extensional theory of meaning in which dispositional notions such as 'intension', 'Sinn' ('sense'), 'analytic' and 'necessary' (defined in terms of what it is self-contradictory to deny) play no part. Motivation for the single-factor relational theory comes from logic. That for the two-factor dispositional relational theory defended here comes from psychology. The application of the two-factor theory to scientific principles such as 'Water is H2O' and Ohm's Law is described.
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Download: 1997k Two Theories of Meaning - The Two-Factor Dispositional Relational and the Single Factor Relational.pdf