Relativism 2: Semantic Content

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In the pair of articles of which this is the second, I present a set of problems and philosophical proposals that have in recent years been associated with the term 'relativism'. These problems are related to the question of how we should represent thought and speech about certain topics. The main issue is whether we should model such mental states or linguistic acts as involving representational contents that are absolutely correct or incorrect, or whether, alternatively, their correctness should be thought of as varying with some (more or less surprising) factor.

In the first article, 'Relativism 1: Representational Content', I discussed the general issue of relativism about representational content. I argued for the conciliatory view that both relativist and absolutist conceptions of representational content can be legitimate.

In the present continuation, I look in more detail at a special case of the general issue, namely the question of whether semantic contents, i.e. the contents assigned to linguistic utterances in the semantics of natural language, should be construed in an absolutist or in a relativist way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-67
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophy Compass
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 603120 Philosophy of language



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