Marco Cruciani

Intended Meaning, States of Affairs and Explicit Level of Communication

  • Abstract

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Keywords:

The issue of intended meaning is an open problem in the study of linguistic processes. The paper presents a notion of intended meaning based on the idea of the speaker's preference for a state of affairs to which a sentence refers. Its argument has two components. The first is the conception of meaning developed by analytic philosophy of language; that is, the meaning of a sentence identifies with the truth conditions of the sentence, and the meaning of an expression identifies with the contribution of that expression to the truth value of the sentence in which it appears. The second is the notion of the agent's interest, as a state of affairs which implies the agent's goal, as developed by cognitive social theory. The paper maintains that a speaker's intended meaning establishes when the truth conditions of a sentence and the possibility conditions of the state of affairs preferred by the agent match. The last part of the paper illustrates a linguistic dispute to support its theoretical intuitions.

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