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Semantics and cognitive value

Grant number: 13/22364-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2014
Effective date (End): June 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Marco Antonio Caron Ruffino
Grantee:Filipe Martone de Faria
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):14/11895-1 - Semantics and cognitive value, BE.EP.MS


Should semantics give an account for not just the relation between words and reality but for the cognitive dimension of language as well? Should a semantic theory be epistemically sensitive, i.e., be able to explain certain cognitive phenomena which involve linguistic expressions? In Frege's "On Sense and Reference" we find a model of semantics that evidently presupposes an affirmative answer to that question. More precisely, an explanation of the cognitive value of expressions is an essential part of his semantic project. For a long time, this model of semantics was widely accepted among philosophers, even by the most prominent direct reference theorists like David Kaplan and John Perry. Even though they defend a theory that is anti-Fregean by nature, they share the assumption that is the task of semantics to explain certain cognitive phenomena. In other words, some philosophers try to fit the direct reference theory - which is contrary to the most fundamental Fregean principles - in the Fregean semantic project. Only in the eighties, in the paper called "Has Semantics Rested on a Mistake?" by Howard Wettstein, that this model of semantics was explicitly criticized. For Wettstein, semantics should not worry about the cognitive dimension of language, and any project of this kind is doomed to fail. My main objective is to study this criticism, so little explored by the literature, and see if it is reasonable.

Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
FARIA, Filipe Martone de. Problema de Frege, valor cognitivo e referência direta. 2015. Master's Dissertation.

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