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This essay ties together some main strands of the author’s research spanning the last quarter-century. Because of its broad scope and space limitations, he prescinds from detailed arguments and instead intuitively motivates the general points which are supported more fully in other publications to which he provides references. After an initial delineation of several distinct notions of meaning (Section 1), the author considers (Section 2) such a notion deriving from the evolutionary biology of communication that he terms ‘organic meaning’, and places it in the context of evolutionary game theory. That provides a framework for a special type of organic meaning found in the phenomenon of expression (3), of which the author here offers an updated characterization while highlighting its wide philosophical interest. Expression in turn generalizes to a paradigmatic form of human communication—conversation—and section 4 provides a taxonomy of conversation-types while arguing that attention to such types helps to sharpen predictions of what speakers say rather than conversationally implicate. We close (5) with a view of fictional discourse on which authors of fictional works are engaged in conversation with their readers, and can provide them with knowledge in spite of the fictional character of their conversation. Such knowledge includes knowledge of how an emotion feels and is thus a route to empathy.

In: Grazer Philosophische Studien
In: Making Scientific Discoveries
Interdisciplinary Reflections
Scientific progress depends crucially on scientific discoveries. Yet the topic of scientific discoveries has not been central to debate in the philosophy of science. This book aims to remedy this shortcoming. Based on a broad reading of the term “science” (similar to the German term “Wissenschaft ”), the book convenes experts from different disciplines who reflect upon several intertwined questions connected to the topic of making scientific discoveries.
Among these questions are the following: What are the preconditions for making scientific discoveries? What is it that we (have to) do when we make discoveries in science? What are the objects of scientific discoveries, how do we name them, and how do scientific names function? Do dis-coveries in, say, physics and biology, share an underlying structure, or do they differ from each other in crucial ways? Are other fields such as theology and environmental studies loci of scientific discovery? What is the purpose of making scientific discoveries? Explaining nature or reality? Increasing scientific knowledge? Finding new truths? If so, how can we account for instructive blunders and serendipities in science?
In the light of the above, the following is an encompassing question of the book: What does it mean to make a discovery in science, and how can scientific discoveries be distinguished from non-scientific discoveries?