Where's the Use in Meaning?


Millar A (1985) Where's the Use in Meaning?. Dialectica, 39 (1), pp. 35-51.

The article presents a critique of Quine's criticism of mentalism in semantics. Quine is right to demand that theories of meaning show how the meanings of linguistic expressions are grounded in verbal dispositions. His own account of verbal dispositions is inadequate to the task. It is argued that the dispositions in which meanings are grounded are (i) dispositions to accept and reject sentences, (ii) essentially involve beliefs, (iii) link sentences with one another, as well as with experience, and (iv) are conventional. The importance of the distinction between disposition-based relations between sentences and logical relations between sentences is stressed.

logic; meaning; mentalism; Quine; verbal dispositions

Dialectica: Volume 39, Issue 1

Publication date31/03/1985
Publication date online01/2011
PublisherBlackwell-Wiley for the Editorial Board of Dialectica