Julian Nida-Rümelin

I limiti del linguaggio

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In this paper I develop an argument against lingualism in general and its radical variants specifically. I argue that the extra-lingual is constitutive for the lingual, that intentionality is logically and genetically prior to language. In the last resort it is intention that transforms behavior into language. Only intention allows for interpreting behavior as communication. This constitutive intentionality, however, cannot be reconstructed adequately within the conceptual frame of the belief-desire model. The metaphysics of the given with its duality of empirical knowledge on the one hand and arational desire on the other cannot be upheld if this - antipositivist - analysis is correct. Intentionality is understood as the result of weighing reasons, as krisis in the Stoic sense. I proceed in three steps. First I give an account of radical interpretation of intentionalist utterances. I try to show that the concept of radical interpretation can be applied not only to descriptive, but also to intentionalist utterances. Second I sketch a Kantian version of intentionalist semantics. I try to show that a common understanding of reasons - theoretical reasons for believing and practical reasons for acting - is necessary for successful communication. Intentionalist semantics takes conventions and rules to be secondary with respect to intentions. This Kantian perspective holds as well that intentions are constitutive for communication only if they focus on exchanging reasons. From this radical interpretation of intentionality and this Kantian version of intentionalist semantics I conclude that - against Wittgenstein - the limits of language are not the limits of the world, that intentionality and normativity are prior to language and transcend it.

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