- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Semantics1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 14/11/2020 12:41:46): Semantics
- I need to separate those issues in the topic of personal identity that turn on matters of fact, and those that just depend on the meaning of our words. Sometimes, it is not clear which of these options is assumed in any particular case.
- For instance, David Wiggins’s view (shared with many others) is that we should use the term Person4 of individuals5 who belong to a kind6 whose typical members have certain capacities.
- This will allow us to use the term of individuals who don’t presently possess these capacities – which may be correct in the case of temporary loss of function – but also of those who never have and – most likely – never will possess them.
- Then, if we accord certain rights to Persons in this sense, we may act differently to some of those designated Person than do those who only confer the title Person to those with present (or typically-present) capacities.
- So, there is a practical difference. But is this difference generated only by confusion over words? If we adopt the “typical members” definition., then might we not then say that not all Persons have the same rights, and introduce a new term “Person-Plus” for all of whose exemplars do deserve the rights? Of course, the “typical members” definition may be adopted to resist this slide (as it might be seen).
- This will depend on whether Person is a natural kind7 concept8, and whether this kind strictly relates to Person or Person-Plus.
- My own view is that neither Person nor Person-Plus is a natural-kind concept, but is an honorific or description of properties possessed by a true natural-kind concept – Human Animal9 or Human Being10.
- The above discussion overlaps with discussions in the following notes:-
→ Degrees of Personhood11
→ Forensic Property12
- The topic of Semantics in Linguistics is highly technical and not relevant to my researches. I’ve in general ignored the technical works in the reading lists below, except where I’ve read them!
- For a Page of Links13 to this Note, Click here. Too many to be of much use, and almost all are irrelevant in any case.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read14, include the following (which include some that only touch on the topic tangentially):-
- "Armstrong (David) - Introduction to Universals and Scientific Realism Vol. 1 (Nominalism and Realism)", Armstrong
- "Ayers (Michael R.) - Locke on 'Masses of Matter'", Ayers
- "Blackburn (Simon) & Simmons (Keith) - Truth: Introduction", Blackburn
- "Blatti (Stephan) - Review of 'The Rise and Fall of Soul and Self', by Raymond Martin and John Barresi", Blatti
- "Block (Ned) - What Intuitions about Homunculi Don't Show", Block
- "Cargile (James) - Review of Hintikka - Cogito, Ergo Sum: Inference or Performance?", Cargile
- "Dainton (Barry) - Time and Space: Preface", Dainton
- "Dennett (Daniel) - True Believers: The Intentional Strategy and Why it Works", Dennett
- "Eagle (Anthony) - Telling Tales", Eagle
- "Fodor (Jerry) - Psychosemantics", Fodor
- "Gibbard (Allan) - Contingent Identity", Gibbard
- "Harnish (Robert M.) - Basic Topics in the Philosophy of Language: Introduction", Harnish
- "Haugeland (John) - Semantics", Haugeland
- "Francescotti (Robert) - Statues and Their Constituents: Whether Consitution is Identity", Haugeland
- "Lewis (David) - General Semantics", Lewis
- "Lewis (David) - Scorekeeping in a Language Game", Lewis
- "Lewis (David) - 'Tensions", Lewis
- "MacDonald (Cynthia) & MacDonald (Graham) - Connectionism: Debates in Psychological Explanation - Preface", MacDonald
- "Reid (Jasper) - Kripke on Naming and Necessity (Course Notes)", Reid
- "Salmon (Nathan) - Reference and Essence - Prefaces & Introduction", Salmon
- "Shapiro (Stewart) - Thinking about Mathematics: Preface", Shapiro
- "Unger (Peter) - The Physical Approach To Our Survival", Unger
- "Williams (Christopher) - Review of J.R.Lucas's 'The Future'", Williams
- "Williamson (Timothy) - Vagueness: Preface + Introduction", Williamson
- A further reading list might start with:-
- "Adams (Robert Merrihew) - Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity", Adams
- "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Seeming to See Red", Baker
- "Bermudez (Jose Luis) - Thinking Without Words: Preface", Bermudez
- "Bird (Alexander) & Tobin (Emma) - Natural Kinds", Bird
- "Fodor (Jerry) - The Elm and the Expert - Mentalese and its Semantics", Fodor
- "Koslicki (Kathrin) - The Semantics of Mass-Predicates", Koslicki
- "Millikan (Ruth Garrett) - Biosemantics", Millican
- "Papineau (David) - Teleosemantics and Indeterminacy", Papineau
- "Perry (John) - Semantics, Possible Worlds", Perry
- … TBC … While I’ve started to cherry pick items from the ‘Page of Links’, few of them look of any relevance to my Thesis. I’ll revisit the list if I ever get round to investigating these matters further.
- This is mostly a place-holder15.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (14/11/2020 12:41:46).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020