Philosophy Colloquium – Dr. Rachel Goodman: ‘Shared Thought and Communication’

Friday November 10, 2023
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
1866 Main Mall, Vancouver

Talk Abstract:

On a Fregean view of communication, communication requires shared sense. On a Russellian view, it requires only shared reference and fulfillment of what I will call transactional requirements. My first aim is to illustrate that the Fregean view is dialectically unstable, for reasons not usually discussed. However, even among those who shy away from a Fregean view of communication, hesitation to embrace a Russellian view is common, so my second aim is to ask whether this hesitation is justified. I do so by clarifying the relationship between Russellianism about communication and relationism about communication: a view which may seem to provide a third option. I’ll suggest a way to adjudicate between these two views, by clarifying a commitment shared by the Fregean and the relationist, but rejected by the Russellian. If this commitment is justified, then given the instability of the Fregean view, relationism is preferable. If not, traditional dissatisfaction with a Russellian view of communication is undermotivated.

Speaker Bio:

Rachel Goodman is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She works in the philosophy of mind and language, with a special interest in the nature of representation, questions about mental reference and ‘singular thought’, and connected issues about reference in the philosophy of language.