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ERIC Number: ED551428
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 125
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-8410-0
ISSN: N/A
A Defense of Semantic Minimalism
Kim, Su
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Princeton University
Semantic Minimalism is a position about the semantic content of declarative sentences, i.e., the content that is determined entirely by syntax. It is defined by the following two points: "Point 1": The semantic content is a complete/truth-conditional proposition. "Point 2": The semantic content is useful to a theory of utterance interpretation. Against this position, Contextualists present two main arguments: "Incompleteness Problem": For some sentences, semantic interpretation gives us a propositional radical. "Inaccessibility Problem": For some sentences, semantic interpretation gives us a proposition that is complete/truth-conditional but not consciously accessible. The Incompleteness Problem, an argument against Point 1, claims that the semantic content of a sentence like "Tipper is ready" expresses a propositional radical that requires a completion specifying what Tipper is ready for to express a complete proposition. Since this completion is pragmatically determined, Contextualists argue that semantic interpretation alone sometimes fails to determine a content that is complete/truth-conditional. The Inaccessibility Problem, an argument against Point 2, claims that the semantic content of a sentence like "Jack and Jill are married," i.e., "Jack and Jill are each married," is oftentimes consciously inaccessible; what is accessible is the pragmatically determined proposition that "Jack and Jill are married to each other." Contextualists argue that in such cases, the semantic content fails to play any role in explaining communicative success. My aim in this dissertation is to endorse a version of Minimalism by defending Point 1 and Point 2 against these two arguments. In Chapter 1, I put the disagreement between Minimalists and Contextualists in clearer focus by separating it from another disagreement concerning the notion of saying. In Chapter 2, I defend Point 1 by arguing that the Minimalist view that I favor, according to which the semantic content of a sentence like "Tipper is ready" is a complete/truth-conditional, albeit unspecific, proposition, is a more reasonable view than Contextualism. In Chapter 3, I defend Point 2 by showing the plausibility of the idea that the semantic content of a sentence like "Jack and Jill are married" plays the input role in a speedy subconscious process that "mirrors" the Gricean implicature process. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A