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Mind, meaning and miscommunication

Uings, David John (2008) Mind, meaning and miscommunication. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

I examine various instances of miscommunication to look for factors that might provide a clearer understanding of the nature of meaning. My focus is on how meaning relates to mind. I am therefore concerned primarily with utterances as linguistic units in themselves, and only secondarily with propositions and speech acts formed from utterances. I approach the task on the basis of the modularity of mind, and consider cases of miscommunication under three headings: (a) the acquisition of meaning (how children acquire language and thereby meaning); (b) the expression of meaning (factors that determine how we express meaning in our utterances); and (c) the extraction of meaning (how we determine the meaning of utterances). I review various philosophical approached to meaning, including those of Davidson, Frege, Grice, Putnam, Searle and Tarski. I assess their strengths and weaknesses in the light of the cases of miscommunication that have some bearing upon them. In the final part of the thesis I attempt to provide a coherent account of what meaning is, and how meaning and language are related, before suggesting in conclusion that my proposed account of meaning fits well with the modular theory of mind.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: meaning, mind, miscommunication, sense, reference, modularity of mind, language, language of thought,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Supervisor's Name: Weir, Professor Alan
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Mr David John Uings
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-355
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:17
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/355

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