Abstract of "Humpty Dumpty and Verbal Meaning" (1981)
- Humpty Dumpty's notoriously subjective semantics (Carroll, Through
the Looking-Glass, 1872), often cited in the courts, can be rationalized
as being an ordinary theory of "stipulative definition," but
practiced under extraordinary conditions (time goes backwards, deranging
the speech-act procedure). Similarly, H. P. Grice's intentionalist semantics
("Meaning," 1957) makes sense if the concept of verbal intention
is understood strictly as presupposing that the speaker believes that her
intended meaning may be recognized.
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Department of English, University of Minnesota
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Created February 1995
Last revised 17 September 1996