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On What We Mean (Paperback)
  • On What We Mean (Paperback)
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On What We Mean (Paperback)

(author)
£49.95
Paperback 236 Pages / Published: 08/11/2002
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In On What We Mean, Arnold Chien discusses the meaning of a speaker, a notion we use in everyday conversation. Speaker's meaning is a fundamental notion of pragmatics, i.e. the study of the relation between words and speakers. Yet everyday speaker's meaning has not been systematically studied in philosophy or linguistics. Chien's approach to these issues is to take a speaker's meaning as an answer to "what do you (s/he) mean" (WDYM) questions. He then analyzes WDYM-questions in terms of Bas van Fraassen's analysis of why-questions, according to which, a question consists of a set of parameters whose values vary according to the context. The constraints on speaker's meanings are analyzed in terms of certain constraints on answers to WDYM-questions. The account is extended to metaphor, understood to be a kind of conceptual indeterminacy.

Publisher: University Press of America
ISBN: 9780761824176
Number of pages: 236
Weight: 354 g
Dimensions: 228 x 150 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Arnold Chien takes on the important and neglected question of the meanings of abstract and semantically fluid terms such as 'clever,' 'internal,' and 'freedom.' Chien develops a novel account of the relation between conventional and speaker meaning, and gives detailed and subtle application to a wide range of linguistic phenomena, including ambiguity, ellipsis, competence and metaphor, as well as surrounding issues in the philosophy of language and mind. 'On What We Mean' is an original and impressivework. -- Theodore Sider, Rutgers University
Arnold Chien's book tackles the familiar notion of speaker's meaning with remarkably productive results. First he shows that a surprising wealth of previously unexplored issues around this concept merit careful study. Along the way he delves deeply into the underexplored but pervasive phenomenon of 'conceptual indeterminacy.' He gives a central place in linguistic competence to knowledge of constraints on possible (potentially novel) speaker's meanings. He also applies his framework to a wide range ofphenomena in pragmatics, explaining and unifying them in an illuminating way. This is a comprehensive, rigorous, and original work which will interest researchers in semantics, pragmatics, and philosophy of language and mind. -- Barbara H. Partee, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Arnold Chien's book tackles the familiar notion of speaker's meaning with remarkably productive results. First he shows that a surprising wealth of previously unexplored issues around this concept merit careful study. Along the way he delves deeply in to the underexplored but pervasive phenomenon of 'conceptual indeterminacy.' He gives a central place in linguistic competence to knowledge of constraints on possible (potentially novel) speaker's meanings. He also applies his framework to a wide range of phenomena in pragmatics, explaining and unifying them in an illuminating way. This is a comprehensive, rigorous, and original work which will interest researchers in semantics, pragmatics, and philosophy of language and mind. -- Barbara H. Partee, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Arnold Chien takes on the important and neglected question of the meanings of abstract and semantically fluid terms such as 'clever,' 'internal,' and 'freedom.' Chien develops a novel account of the relation between conventional and speaker meaning, and gives detailed and subtle application to a wide range of linguistic phenomena, including ambiguity, ellipsis, competence and metaphor, as well as surrounding issues in the philosophy of language and mind. 'On What We Mean' is an original and impressive work. -- Theodore Sider, Rutgers University

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