I argue that the most natural reading of the claim that the language of thought is compositional is a metasemantic reading: complex expressions mean what they do in virtue of their syntax and the meanings of their parts.
I then argue that there is a better metasemantic theory for complex expressions, one I call the Direct Theory. According to the Direct Theory, both simple and complex expressions get their meanings in the same way, via the causal or informational connections they have with objects, properties, and relations in the world.
Philosophy Seminar Series.
Date: Monday, 8 Oct 2012
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)
Speaker: Michael Johnson, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Hong Kong
Moderator: Dr. Neil Sinhababu
About the Speaker: Michael Johnson is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He received his PhD. from Rutgers University in 2011. He considers himself a cognitive scientist whose work centers around issues in the epistemology and metaphysics of mental and linguistic content, and he approaches those issues with an empirically oriented attitude.