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The cognitivist account of meaning and the liar paradox

Pinder, Mark (2015). The cognitivist account of meaning and the liar paradox. Philosophical Studies, 172(5) pp. 1221–1242.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-014-0345-5
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Abstract

A number of theorists hold that literal, linguistic meaning is determined by the cognitive mechanism that underpins semantic competence. Borg and Larson and Segal defend a version of the view on which semantic competence is underpinned by the cognition of a truth-conditional semantic theory—a semantic theory which is true. Let us call this view the “cognitivist account of meaning”. In this paper, I discuss a surprisingly serious difficulty that the cognitivist account of meaning faces in light of the liar paradox. I raise an argument to the effect that, in light of linguistic evidence concerning the liar paradox, the cognised semantic theory is inconsistent. This contradicts the cognitivist account. I consider a range of possible responses to the difficulty, raising problems for each. The liar paradox poses a serious difficulty to the cognitivist account of meaning, and it is unclear whether the difficulty can be resolved.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1573-0883
Keywords: cognitivism; meaning; Liar Paradox; truth condition; semantics; inconsistency
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 56635
Depositing User: Mark Pinder
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2018 10:20
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2019 17:45
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/56635
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