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Reply to “do linguistic meanings meet linguistic form?”
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Autonomous syntax
Formal semantics
Sapir-whorf hypothesis
Symbolic logic

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DUFFLEY, Patrick. Reply to “do linguistic meanings meet linguistic form?” . Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 45, n. 1, p. 175–183, 2022. Disponível em: Acesso em: 19 maio. 2024.


In reply to the claim that syntax is not taken into account in Linguistic Meaning Meets Linguistic Form, I show that local syntactic analysis has been implemented in the treatment of aspectual verbs and verbs of positive and negative recall, where the syntactic function of the -ing form as direct object of the main verb is put into relation with the main verb’s meaning as the basis for the inferences drawn concerning the temporal relation between the main verb’s event and that expressed by the complement. I argue that I have also developed new tools of syntactic analysis for the to-infinitive, demonstrating that it is not the direct object of the main verb, but rather a goal- or result-specifier, and showing how this accounts for the fact that its event is always understood to be somehow subsequent to that of the main verb. Regarding the applicability of formal semantics to natural language, I argue that the absolute priority accorded to the truth-functional dimension of language by this type of semantics leads to the artificial separation of use-conditions from truth-conditions, with the former being treated as an additional interpretational function added on to the truth-functional one. Contra the autonomous syntax claim that our desire to express meaning is to a great extent independent of the means we use to express those meanings, it is argued that how we perceive the world in our experience is influenced by our system of linguistic representation.

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