more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 12593

[catalogued under 19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 6. Meaning as Use]

Full Idea

A use theory of meaning has to suppose it is words and ways of putting words together that have meaning because of their uses, not sentences.

Gist of Idea

The use theory attaches meanings to words, not to sentences


Gilbert Harman ((Nonsolipsistic) Conceptual Role Semantics [1987], 12.1.3)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Reasoning Meaning and Mind' [OUP 1999], p.3

A Reaction

He says that most sentences are unique, so cannot have a standard use. Words do a particular job over and over again. How do you distinguish the quirky use of a word from its standard use?