Dartmouth Events

What We Mean as What We Say or Would Have Said

Martin Jonsson, Lund University, presented by Philosophy Sapientia Lecture Series

Wednesday, April 10, 2024
3:30pm – 5:00pm
106 Thornton Hall
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Arts and Sciences

Martin Jonsson, Lund University

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 3:30pm
Lecture Location: 106 Thornton (tentative)

Lecture title: "What we mean as what we say or would have said"

Abstract: "We usually mean what we say, but sometimes we don’t. When I ironically utter “What lovely weather” on a rainy day, or mistakenly utter “Jim is a barn door” instead of “Jim is a darn bore.”, I say one thing and mean another. However, although utterances like these are not uncommon, they are greatly overshadowed by the volume of humdrum utterances of “There is wine in the fridge” or “I really like nachos” where we mean what we say. And since we usually mean what we say, the following simple thesis will usually be correct.
(N) S meant that p by uttering e iff S said that p by uttering e.
The simplicity of (N) begs the question of whether it can be refined in order to also cover situations where we don’t mean what we say. In this paper we defend a modal version of (N): an analysis where speaker meaning in most situations is identified with what is actually said, and in other situations with what the speaker would have said in certain counterfactual situations. The analysis constitutes a radical, but welcome, break with Gricean orthodoxy, where linguistic meaning, rather than speaker meaning, is ultimately used to explain other semantic notions."


Funded by the Mark J. Byrne 1985 Fund in Philosophy, which is an endowment established in 1996 to help support the study of philosophy at Dartmouth College. For more information on Philosophy's Sapientia Lecture Series, please visit this link.

For more information, contact:
Prof John Kulvicki

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.