Forthcoming: Language and scientific explanation: Where does semantics fit in?

Eran Asoulin  

Synopsis

This book discusses the two main construals of the explanatory goals of semantic theories. The first, externalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of a hermeneutic and interpretive explanatory project. The second, internalist conception, understands semantic theories in terms of the psychological mechanisms in virtue of which meanings are generated. It is argued that a fruitful scientific explanation is one that aims to uncover the underlying mechanisms in virtue of which the observable phenomena are made possible, and that a scientific semantics should be doing just that. If this is the case, then a scientific semantics is unlikely to be externalist, for reasons having to do with the subject matter and form of externalist theories. It is argued that semantics construed hermeneutically is nevertheless a valuable explanatory project.

Eran Asoulin

Eran Asoulin works in linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science, with a focus on the interaction between language and thought. He is currently Visiting Fellow at the School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales, Australia.

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