Abstract

Hume's views on language have been widely misunderstood. Typical discussions cast Hume as either a linguistic idealist who holds that words refer to ideas or a proto-verificationist. I argue that both readings are wide of the mark and develop my own positive account. Humean signification emerges as a relation whereby a word can both indicate ideas in the mind of the speaker and cause us to have those ideas. If I am right, Hume offers a consistent view on meaning that is neither linguistic idealism nor positivism but a genuine alternative to these, one that deserves to be taken seriously.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
pp. 233-252
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
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