Browsing by Author "Smit, J. P."
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- ItemAn alternative to the Lewisian view of conventions(University of Stellenbosch, Department of General Linguistics, 2016) Smit, J. P.Lewis (1969) characterises conventions as regularities that arise from recurrent coordination games. I argue, contra Lewis, that conventions are rules that promote a relevant goal in virtue of coordinating our behaviour. I demonstrate the virtues of this view by showing that it provides an elegant way of dealing with four basic objections to Lewis’s view, namely that Lewis requires agents to understand their own situation too well, that his view robs conventions of explanatory force, that it mischaracterises cases where someone has non-prudential reasons to follow a convention, and that it mischaracterises situations where the relevant behaviour is non-uniform.
- ItemA note on mental content in the Causal Theory(Stellenbosch University, Department of General Linguistics, 2013) Smit, J. P.Kripke's causal theory requires that downstream users of a name must have the intention to use the name in the same way that upstream users did. Kripke, however, has demonstrated no need for this requirement qua independent condition. He is antecedently committed to a distinction between baptismal use and downstream use. Any plausible construal of this distinction will block the problem that this condition is supposed to solve.
- ItemA note on name individuation and identifying descriptions(Stellenbosch University, Department of Linguistics, 2014) Smit, J. P.In ‘Public Proper names and Idiolectical Identifying Descriptions’ (2009) Glezakos puts forward a theory concerning the role of identifying descriptions in the theory of names. Her main claim is that such identifying descriptions serve to individuate names, i.e. to make it the case that a given linguistic act containing a name N contains N, and not some phonetically/orthographically equivalent name. In this paper I will claim that, while a lot of what Glezakos has to say about the role of descriptions is probably correct, such descriptive conditions are not needed to solve the individuation problem.
- ItemSome lessons from Kripke’s a puzzle about belief(Stellenbosch University, Department of General Linguistics, 2011) Smit, J. P.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The literature on Kripke’s A Puzzle About Belief has delivered convincing answers to the problem raised by Kripke. This is so both for referentialists and descriptivists. In this article I consider what I take to be the best responses of both parties and what we can learn from these responses. I argue, firstly, that the most basic cleavage when considering the semantics of belief-attribution is between theories that claim content to be transparent and theories that do not, secondly, that such substitutivitypuzzles cannot be of much use in deciding the issue between referentialist and descriptivist theories of belief-attribution and, thirdly, that the most basic challenge facing the descriptivist is to come up with a notion of content on which such content is epistemically transparent.
- ItemSpeaker's reference, semantic reference and public reference(Department of General Linguistics, Stellenbosch University, 2018) Smit, J. P.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Kripke (1977) views Donnellan’s (1966) misdescription cases as cases where semantic reference and speaker’s reference come apart. Such cases, however, are also cases where semantic reference conflicts with a distinct species of reference I call “public reference”, i.e. the object that the cues publicly available at the time of utterance indicate is the speaker’s referent of the utterance. This raises the question: do the misdescription cases trade on the distinction between semantic reference and speaker’s reference, or the distinction between semantic reference and public reference? I argue that Kripke’s own construal in terms of semantic reference and speaker’s reference is at best incomplete, and probably wrong. I also explain the general importance of the notion of ‘public reference’.