Against Expressionism: Wittgenstein, Searle, and Semantic Content

Brandon Absher


In this paper, I present Wittgenstein’s criticisms of a group of popular
theories, which I call “expressionism.” Expressionist theories of meaning claim
that means of representation (e.g. sounds) represent semantic content by virtue
of their relation to mental states. In this paper, I show that even theories,
such as John Searle’s, that do not rely on phenomenal mental rules are subject
to Wittgenstein’s criticisms.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; semantic content; rule-following; intentionality

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