UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Locke and the Primary Signification of Words: An Approach to Word Meaning

Pritchard, T; (2013) Locke and the Primary Signification of Words: An Approach to Word Meaning. British Journal for the History of Philosophy , 21 (3) pp. 486-506. 10.1080/09608788.2013.771611. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
Locke-FinalVersion.pdf

Download (220kB) | Preview

Abstract

Locke's claim that the primary signification of (most) words is an idea, or complex of ideas, has received different interpretations. I support the majority view that Locke's notion of primary signification can be construed in terms of linguistic meaning. But this reading has been seen as making Locke's account vulnerable to various criticisms, of which I consider two. First, it appears to make the account vulnerable to the charge that an idea cannot play the role that a word meaning should play. I argue that the role Locke actually gives to signified ideas is not susceptible to this criticism. Second, it appears to make Locke guilty of at least some degree of semantic idealism. I argue that Locke is not guilty of this and that he makes a proper distinction between the non-referential relation that holds between a word and its primary signification and the referential relation that holds between a word and things the word is used to speak about.

Type: Article
Title: Locke and the Primary Signification of Words: An Approach to Word Meaning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09608788.2013.771611
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2013.771611
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy on 23/05/2013, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2013.771611.
Keywords: Locke, signification, word meaning, meaning, reference
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471672
Downloads since deposit
921Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item