The meanings speakers and auditors assign to utterances are exquisitely context sensitive, with contexts and their elements varying wildly with the linguistic occasions. This paper investigates a theory of how linguistic agents might assign meanings to utterances in a contextually sensitive manner consistent with the agents’ evident inability cognitively to identify what within their systems of mental representation is contextually relevant to the utterances of the moment. According to the proposed account, the contexts determinative of meaning function in the manner of adverbial operators on utterances serving so to fuse context and utterance as to render context transparent to agents.
Compare Columbo (2013) Pinker (1997) Sperber (1994) and Segal (1996).
See also the exchange between Churchland (1979) and Fodor (1984) on whether perception is theory laden as it emerges from the literature on this topic moving forward from Hanson (1961) and Kuhn (1962).
Following standard practice since Fodor (1975) here we pretend but only for expository purpose that the auditor’s system of mental representation is a mental language—Mentalese—expressions of which are displayed in caps.