Semantics, Pragmatics, and the Role of Semantic Content

Jeffrey C. King, Jason Stanley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


This chapter distinguishes two conceptions of semantics. On the expression-centred conception, semantic attributes (designation, content, truth value, meaning) are attributed to expression types (relative to such parameters as contexts, times, and/or possible worlds). On the speech-act-centred conception (evidently the currently favoured), semantic attributes are attributed instead to such things as utterances or tokens. The former conception allows for the possibility of widespread and even systematic deviation between what a speaker means or designates (etc.) and what his/her words mean or designate. The latter conception is more reductionist in spirit. The expression centred conception is defended against the alternative conception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSemantics versus Pragmatics
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191719165
ISBN (Print)9780199251520
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • Compositionality
  • Context
  • Pragmatics
  • Semantics
  • Speech act
  • Utterance


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