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Substructural Content

Kaplan, Daniel (2022) Substructural Content. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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It is nearly ubiquitous for philosophers interested in meaning and consequence to first provide a semantics for sentences and next define what it means for sentences to follow from one another. Structural features of consequence such as monotonicity, transitivity, contraction, and reflexivity are rarely acknowledged except insofar as they are presupposed by whatever we intend with "follows from". Since "follows from" succeeds sentence meaning, structural features are taken to presuppose robust constraints on the latter. My dissertation argues that this setup is mistaken; it misunderstands the connection between sentence meaning and what structural features require of content. For example, monotonicity is taken to follow from strong assumptions concerning the compositionality of sentence meaning. As a result the setup assumes that substructural consequence relations require different understandings of content. If we reject this setup and posit a closer relationship between meaning and consequence, then we are better able to understand what sorts of constraints are placed on semantic content by structural rules. I develop a view in which the two are maximally close: meaning just is contribution to consequence. I argue that this notion of content, when precisified yields a completely tractable, robust semantics. Refiguring the relationship between meaning and consequence also yields surprising insights for the philosophy of language and meta-ethics.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kaplan, Danieldsk31@pitt.edudsk31
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBrandom, Robert B.rbrandom@pitt.edurbrandom
Committee MemberShaw, James A.R.jrs164@pitt.edujrs164
Committee MemberShumener, Ericaehs20@pitt.eduehs20
Committee MemberRestall,
Date: 6 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 December 2021
Approval Date: 6 June 2022
Submission Date: 10 December 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 269
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: philosophy of language, philosophical logic, substructural logic, inferentialism, defeat, defeasible reasoning, radical contextualism, semantic minimalism, moral particularism
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 15:54
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 15:54


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