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Introduction to Meaning and the Dynamics of Interpretation

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Chapter Summary

The paper addresses Kaplan's notion of character in discussing the essential indexical aspects of making assertions, ending on a more cognitive science note of whether ways in which people may differ in computing meaning in context should bear on theories of linguistic competence. The Paradox of the Heap investigates the consequences of contextual fixing of the extensions of vague predicates. The paper explicitly sets out to unite truth-functional aspects of meaning with the more pragmatic or epistemic aspects of what language users do when they come to understand what a clause means in the context in which it is used, presenting the account as a rule based fragment of a syntax-semantics mapping reminiscent of Montague Grammar. Notions of doxastic strength and persistence of beliefs provide novel ways to formally account for dynamic belief revision in Discourse Representation Theory (DRT) and how people actually may come to understand each other.

Keywords:discourse representation theory (DRT); dynamics of interpretation; language



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