Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

Breadcrumb Navigation


Talk: Conrad Friedrich (MCMP)

Location: Ludwigstr. 31, room 021

15.12.2022 at 16:00 


What is Communicated, if not a Proposition?


Clearly, we communicate successfully, if not always, surely often. We make plans, get others to do things for us, learn from each other, disagree meaningfully, etc. What explains the Lockean transmission of ideas between minds? The orthodoxy in analytic philosophy follows Frege in that their is some mind-independent content which a speaker expresses by their utterance and a hearer grasps and entertains. This shared content is usually determined to be a proposition, for literal communication at least. Slight complications arise when the content exhibits indeterminacy as is the case with semantic phenomena like indexicality, ambiguity or vagueness. Recently, an increasing number of authors raise additional worries for the orthodox view in the form of context-switching and incompleteness arguments, usually with a minor or substantial modification to answer the worries. In this talk, I argue that (i) indeed, there are significant problems for the orthodox view stemming from context-dependent features of communication, that (ii) the proposed solutions in the literature get some things right but are found lacking in other respects, and that (iii) the view I develop in the course of the talk mirrors the virtues of previous solutions but is able to circumvent their weaknesses.