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21 marzo 2014: Marco Santambrogio: Words, Pencils, and Artworks

Alice meets Humpty Dumpty - The Victorian Web

Seminari di Filosofia del linguaggio e della mente

Marco Santambrogio (Università di Parma)

Words, Pencils, and Artworks

Venerdì 21 marzo 2014 - ore 13,00,

Aula Crociera Alta, Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano 

La conferenza sarà tenuta in inglese. (The talk will be in English)

La partecipazione all’incontro è fortemente consigliata consigliata agli allievi della Scuola di Dottorato in Filosofia e Scienze dell’Uomo.

The semantics of a referential expression is externalist if it is not the case that its reference is determined by some uniquely identifying marks, some unique properties satisfied by the referent and known or believed to be true of that referent by the speaker. I claim that the semantics of artifactual words, like table and pencil, is externalist. Here is my strategy. First, the words of all languages, even though they are unlikely to occur to anyone as primary instances of artifacts, are in fact prototypical artefacts. Second, a Principle of Common Ancestry is in the nature of words: Two utterances or inscriptions belong to the same word only if they have some common ancestor. The same principle obviously holds for biological species and is sufficient for Twin Earth thought experiments to go through. In order to complete my defense of externalism concerning artifactual words in general, I only have to show that the metaphysics of all artifacts obeys the Principle of Common Ancestry. I will draw on the works by Paul Bloom and Jerrold Levinson, who have defended some version of the Principle, albeit using different terminology.

21 marzo 2014
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