Abstract for Rabern’s Talk

A common view relating semantics and the objects of assertion holds the following: Sentences S and S’ expresses the same proposition (in a context) iff S and S’ have the same modal semantic value (in context).  Following Dummett (1973) and Evans (1979), Stanley (1997) argues that this view is fundamentally mistaken (and thus blocks Kripke’s modal objection to descriptivism). According to Dummett, we must distinguish between the contribution an expression makes to more complex expressions-—what he called its “ingredient sense”–and its assertoric content. In a recent paper, Stojnic insists that views which distinguish the roles of content and semantic value must nevertheless ensure a tight connection between the two. But, Stojnic argues, on the views under consideration, there is no way to secure an appropriate connection between the semantics and a theoretically motivated notion of assertoric content. I will review the background issues from Dummett, Evans, and Stanley, and provide a principled way of bridging the gap between semantic value and a theoretically motivated notion of assertoric content.

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