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The Live Principle of Compositionality

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Chapter Summary

This chapter approaches contextualist findings in the philosophy of language (not epistemology) from the perspective of the formal semanticist's enterprise. It briefly discusses the issues of contextualism and compositionality and proposes a conception of the principle of compositionality as one that involves so-called 'live' meanings. Live meanings figure as the natural instants of contextually determined interpretations. The chapter also discusses a series of cases, in which one can see the live principle of compositionality (LPoC) at work, and which illustrate the importance of a live understanding of expressions in actual discourse. It provides some further reflection on the formal semantic enterprise, given that the LPoC can be taken to cast doubt on the very i.e. of a minimalist semantic program. Finally, the chapter argues that the principle can be, and as a matter of fact is, already, very productively employed in linguistic discussions at the syntax/semantics/pragmatics interface.

Keywords: formal semantic enterprise; live meanings; live principle of compositionality (LPoC)



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