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Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation

Henry Jackman
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 146, No. 2 (Nov., 2009), pp. 159-177
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27734510
Page Count: 19
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Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation
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Abstract

While philosophers of language have traditionally relied upon their intuitions about cases when developing theories of reference, this methodology has recently been attacked on the grounds that intuitions about reference, far from being universal, show significant cultural variation, thus undermining their relevance for semantic theory. I'll attempt to demonstrate that (1) such criticisms do not, in fact, undermine the traditional philosophical methodology, and (2) our underlying intuitions about the nature of reference may be more universal than these critics suppose.

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