Causal Theories of Meaning

Discipline: Philosophy

Theories which explain the meaning of a word or sentence in terms of its effect on the hearer, or in terms of the cause of its utterance by the speaker.

Such theories are also sometimes called 'stimulus/response theories', and they have some kinship with behaviorism.

An objection is that most such views ignore the roles of intention and insight in genuine, as against merely apparent, communication.

Source:
H P Grice, 'Meaning', Philosophical Review (1957); reprinted in P F Strawson, ed., Philosophical logic (1967)

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