Article/Publication Details

Constructional vs. Denotational Conception of Aboutness

(Original title: Constructional vs. Denotational Conception of Aboutness)
Organon F, 2014, vol. 21, No 2, pp. 219-236.
Language: English
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Abstract

Following Carnap’s Principle of Subject Matter, Pavel Tichý proposed a methodological principle I call the “Denotational Principle of Aboutness”. It says that expressions are about their denotata. Denotata are modelled as possible world intensions or (common) extensions. Nearly the same principle was recently defended by Marie Duží and Pavel Materna under the name the “Parmenides Principle”. However, Duží and Materna did not react to Tichý’s late proposal which I call the “Constructional Principle of Aboutness”. It says that the subject matter of expressions consists not in their denotata but in their meanings. The meanings are explicated by Tichý, and also by Duží and Materna, as so-called constructions; constructions are complex entities akin to algorithms, they construct intensions or extensions. In this paper, I argue in favour of the Constructional Principle of Aboutness. I show that there are not only single arguments, but the whole net of methodological principles which support it. This is why the topic largely transcends the debate among Tichý’s followers.

Keywords

Aboutness, logical analysis of natural language, logical semantics, principle of subject matter

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