In Defense of Paul Horwich's Theory of Meaning against Critics

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Tarbiat Modares University

2 PhD student, Department of Philosophy, Tarbiat Modares University

3 Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Tarbiat Modares University

4 Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, Tarbiat Modares University


To complete “the use theory of meaning”, Paul Horwich put forward a new thesis upon which some usages of a word have explanatory role and justify the overall use-regularities of that word. These specific usages have a basic acceptance property which makes them believable in user’s belief system and, like a semantic axiom, make other usages justified. But, there are still some usages that cannot be explained. In this article, at first, through conceptual and logical method, we prove that although acceptance property justifies main usages of the word, for non-usual usages of the word, some properties similar to acceptance property can be assumed. Secondly, we try to find some connection between these properties through suggesting that manifestation of acceptance property has a crucial role in determining common meaning of a word and its other meanings . Finally, we make a distinction between acceptance property and other properties of a word by supposing that only acceptance property is non-intentional.