Ontology in the theory of meaning

Ernest Lepore, Kirk Ludwig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper advances a general argument, inspired by some remarks of Davidson, to show that appeal to meanings as entities in the theory of meaning is neither necessary nor sufficient for carrying out the tasks of the theory of meaning. The crucial point is that appeal to meaning as entities fails to provide us with an understanding of any expression of a language except insofar as we pick it out with an expression we understand which we tacitly recognize to be a translation of the term whose meaning we want to illuminate by the appeal to assigning to it a meaning. The meaning drops out as irrelevant: the work is done, and can only be done, by matching terms already understood with terms they translate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


  • Compositionality
  • Davidson
  • Meanings
  • Ontology
  • Theory of meaning

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