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Perry, Wittgenstein's Builders and Metasemantics
Pragmatics & Cognition (2009)
  • Robert J. Stainton, University of Western Ontario

The paper discusses in detail John Perry’s important article “Davidson’s Sentences and Wittgenstein’s Builders”. Perry argues, on the basis of Wittgenstein’s famous block/slab language, that words make direct metasemantic contact with the world. The present paper urges that, while Perry’s conclusions are correct and important, the arguments provided for them, in his 1994 article, ignore essential features of genuine words in natural language. A more empirically-oriented alternative tactic for supporting the same philosophical conclusions is then provided, and its advantages and disadvantages are weighed.

  • Donald Davidson,
  • John Perry,
  • lexical syntax and semantics,
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein,
  • metasemantics,
  • sententialism,
  • subsentential speech
Publication Date
Citation Information
Robert J. Stainton. "Perry, Wittgenstein's Builders and Metasemantics" Pragmatics & Cognition Vol. 17 Iss. 2 (2009)
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