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Title: Under what conditions are two utterances peformances of the same word?
Author(s): Morasch, Nathalie
Director of Research: Ebbs, Gary
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Ebbs, Gary
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Wagner, Steven; McCarthy, Timothy; Lasersohn, Peter
Department / Program: Philosophy
Discipline: Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Kaplan
Kripke puzzle
Abstract: Starting from the fact that people sometimes use the “same” words to talk about a given topic, I want to clarify what word-sameness comes to in those uses. I will adopt an epistemic framework, in which words are primarily instruments that render the inter-subjective transfer of knowledge possible. In the course of my dissertation I refine Kaplan’s notion of words to propose an account that occupies the middle ground between (social) anti-individualism and the kind of individualism that individuates a speaker’s words without input from the speaker’s linguistic community. I make the case that speakers keep track of the various performances of a given word w via a mental register. According to my proposal, the conceptions the speaker comes to associate with her mental register over time may play a role in whether we ought to identify her idiolectal word w with the public word w’. I will argue that in the end we must leave it up to the speaker’s own (informed) judgment whether she interprets her word w as repeating a particular public word w’. According to Kaplan the individual speaker’s word w is referentially bound to the public word w’ through her intentions to repeat w’. I stress that the intention to repeat her own words w trumps the intention to repeat the word w’ produced by some other speaker. I attempt to solve Kripke’s Paderewski puzzle and problems of self-knowledge by arguing that the speaker cannot be wrong about how she keeps track of her own words.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
Rights Information: © Copyright 2011 Nathalie Morasch
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
Date Deposited: 2011-05

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