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Saying and meaning: intention's role in fixing propositional content

Grant number: 18/07457-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2018
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Philosophy of Language
Principal Investigator:João Vergílio Gallerani Cuter
Grantee:Eduardo Caliendo Marchesan
Supervisor: Colin Peter Johnston
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Stirling, Scotland  
Associated to the scholarship:16/16504-6 - Context and meaning: radical contextualism and the truth-conditions of a statement, BP.PD


Two traditions, inheritors of ordinary language philosophy, offer distinct solutions for radical contextualism problem regarding the contextual determination of an assertion's truth-conditions. While they both accept the contextualist schism between linguistic meaning and propositional content, they nevertheless relate to a second distinction between saying and meaning in different ways. The first tradition, derived from Peter Strawson, suggests a mentalist response deeming the speaker's intentions and beliefs to be the extra-linguistic factor that fixes the propositional content. The second, founded on J. L. Austin and the second Wittgenstein's works acknowledges that the intentional response clashes with Frege's foundational precept whereby the logic and the psychological must be separated and so it proposes a conventional answer for the problem: the attention aspect of the speech act is a determinant factor for fixing the truth-conditions. While the conventionalist tradition manages to avoid problems with objectivity deriving from the assumption of a private mental element's being primitive, it nevertheless seems to drain the speaker's role by ignoring the fact that an assertion is made by an individual who wishes to make it. This project addresses the central problem of that clash, i.e. the nature of the truth-bearers, and the problem derived from it: the role of intention in a non-mentalist perspective. The hypothesis put forward endeavors to show, firstly, that the difficulties that make the intentional perspective unfeasible are related to its fidelity to certain aspects of traditional pragmatics and secondly, that the conventional perspective can integrate the notion of intention insofar as it can be re-read based on the problematization of the notion of agency, questioning the engagement of the speaker with the action carried out in a speech act. (AU)

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