ABSTRACT. “Fire” means fire, and so does smoke. What then is the connection between linguistic meaning and natural signs? I explore the connections in the context of revisting Paul Grice’s classic attempt to distinguish the two forms of meaning in his paper “Meaning”. I argue that there are many problems with Grice’s attempt to drive a wedge between the two forms of meaning. Dretske-inspired transition cases of non-human instruments that display information using conventional symbols and language show that the line between natural signs and language is at least blurred. I conclude with three possible accounts of a close connection between language and natural meaning, and tentatively endorse one of them. (pp. 114–133)

Keywords: natural, meaning, language, Grice, sign, symbol


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University of Minnesota-Duluth


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