- Compositionality from a "use-theoretic" perspective
- 32nd International Wittgenstein Symposium 2009, Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria
- Book/source title
- Language and world: Pre-proceedings of 32nd International Wittgenstein Symposium
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Conference contribution
- Interfacultary Research Institutes
- Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)
What does it mean to say that language is a potential-infinite object, as opposed to an actual-infinite one? I want to inquiry into the picture of language as an infinite object in such a way that we move closer to an inquiry into language-understanding. Philosophers have attributed to language the property of infinity. This has motivated the study of compositional theories of meaning. Compositionality is also supposed to solve the problem of productivity of language, which allegedly is created by the infinity of language. I will argue that the assumption that languages are infinite objects leads to insurmountable obstacles to putting the notion of understanding back into the picture -and therefore, that compositionality doesn't do the job it was hired for. I will follow instead the idea that it is fruitful to analyze the problem of productivity in a parallel way to Wittgenstein’s discussion of the infinity of natural numbers.
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