more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 2335

[catalogued under 19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 7. Meaning Holism / b. Language holism]

Full Idea

If I say "Hawks fly", I do not intend my hearer to deduce that a hawk with a broken wing will fly. What we expect depends on the whole network of belief. Language describes experience as a network, not sentence by sentence.

Gist of Idea

Understanding a sentence involves background knowledge and can't be done in isolation


Hilary Putnam (Representation and Reality [1988], 1 p.09)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Representation and Reality' [MIT 1992], p.9

A Reaction

The shortcut through this is 'exactly what did you mean when you said "Hawks fly"?'. That is, get me closer to your proposition.