Communication and Strong Compositionality
 Peter Pagin
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Ordinary semantic compositionality (meaning of whole determined from meanings of parts plus composition) can serve to explain how a hearer manages to assign an appropriate meaning to a new sentence. But it does not serve to explain how the speaker manages to find an appropriate sentence for expressing a new thought. For this we would need a principle of inverse compositionality, by which the expression of a complex content is determined by the expressions of it parts and the mode of composition. But this presupposes that contents have constituent structure, and this cannot be taken for granted. However, it can be proved that if a certain principle of substitutivity is valid for a particular language, then the meanings expressed by its sentences can justifiably be treated as structured. In its simplest form, this principle says that if in a complex expression a constituent is replaced by another constituent with a different meaning, the new complexhas a meaning different from the original. This principle is again inversely related to the normal compositional principle of substitutivity. The combination of ordinary and inverse compositionality is here called ‘strong compositionality’. The proof is carried out in the algebraic framework developed by Wilfrid Hodges and Dag Westerståhl.
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 Title
 Communication and Strong Compositionality
 Journal

Journal of Philosophical Logic
Volume 32, Issue 3 , pp 287322
 Cover Date
 20030601
 DOI
 10.1023/A:1024258529030
 Print ISSN
 00223611
 Online ISSN
 15730433
 Publisher
 Kluwer Academic Publishers
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 algebraic semantics
 Carnap
 communication
 compositionality
 explanation
 Fodor
 Frege
 Hodges
 language
 language of thought
 meaning
 semantics
 structured meanings
 syntax
 universal algebra
 Westerståhl
 Authors

 Peter Pagin ^{(1)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University, 10691, Stockholm, Sweden