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Semantic Pluralism

Emanuel Viebahn

Cite this publication as

Emanuel Viebahn, Semantic Pluralism (2018), Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main, ISBN: 9783465143482


What is the content of a sentence in context? At most one proposition, says the standard view of propositionalism accepted in much of semantics. A set of propositions, says the hitherto little-explored view of semantic pluralism. The aim of this book is to motivate, develop and defend semantic pluralism. To achieve this aim, the book puts forward two arguments against semantic propositionalism. It spells out two versions of semantic pluralism: flexible pluralism, which takes many expressions to be context-sensitive, and strong pluralism, which denies that context-sensitivity is widespread. And it shows how pluralist theories can reply to several objections that have been lodged against non-propositional semantic theories.


  • Front Cover
  • Impressum
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Semantics: aims, explanations and theories
  • 2.1 The aims of semantic theorising
  • 2.2 Methods and explanations in semantics
  • 2.3 Four kinds of semantic theories
  • 3. The case for Semantic Pluralism
  • 3.1 The argument from unspecific contexts
  • 3.2 The argument from explanatory value
  • 3.3 Objections and replies
  • 4. Semantic Pluralism
  • 4.1 Flexible Pluralism
  • 4.2 Strong Pluralism
  • 4.3 Pluralist semantics
  • 4.4 Pluralism from a Gricean model of communication
  • 4.5 Pluralism and what is said
  • 5. Responding to objections to Semantic Pluralism
  • 5.1. The instability objection
  • 5.2 The objection from truth-value judgements
  • 5.3 The objection from validity judgements
  • 5.4 The objection from belief
  • 5.5 The objection from literality judgements
  • 6. Outlook
  • Bibliography

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