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Paul Ricoeur on Utterer’s Meaning - Dictionary of Arguments

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Utterer`s meaning/utterance meaning/Grice/Ricoeur: The concept of meaning allows two interpretations which reflect the main dialectic between event and meaning. To mean is both what the speaker means, i.e., what he intends to say, and what the sentence means, i.e., what the conjunction between the identification function and the predicative function yields. (Cf. >Grice (1957)(1)) Meaning, in other words, is both noetic and noematic. We may connect the reference of discourse to its
speaker with the event Side of the dialectic. The event is somebody speaking. >Speaker’s Meaning
.
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I/personal pronoun/Ricoeur: The personal pronouns, for exåmple, have no objective meaning. "I" is not a concept. It is impossible to substitute a universal expression for it such as "the one who is now speaking. ((s) >I, Ego, Self/Anscombe). Its only function is to refer the whole sentence to the subject of the speech event. It has a new meaning each time it is used (...).
The same thing is true of the adverbs of time and space and the demonstratives, which may be considered as egocentric particulars. Discourse therefore has many substitutable ways of referring back to its speaker. >Discourse/Ricoeur.
Discourse: By paying attention to these grammatical devices of the self-reference of discourse we obtain two advantages. On the one hand, we get a new criterion of the difference between discourse and linguistic codes. On the other hand, we are able to give a nonpsychological, because purely semantic, definition of the utterer's meaning. No mental entity need be hypothesized or hypostazised. The utterance meaning points back towards the utterer's meaning thanks to the self-reference of discourse to itself as an event.


1. This point has been made forcefully and convincingly by Paul Grice. See his "Meaning," Philosophical Review, 66 (1957): 377-88; "Utterer's Meaning, Sentence-Meaning, and
World-Meaning," Foundations of Language, 4 (August 1968): 225-45; "Utterer's Meaning and Intentions," Philosophical Review, 78 (1969): 147-77.

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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Ricoeur I
Paul Ricoeur
De L’interprétation. Essai sur Sigmund Freud
German Edition:
Die Interpretation. Ein Versuch über Freud Frankfurt/M. 1999

Ricoeur II
Paul Ricoeur
Interpretation theory: discourse and the surplus of meaning Fort Worth 1976


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