The lecture entitled “Is Meaning Arbitrary? A Philosopher Looks at Semiotics”
According to the thesis of the arbitrariness of meaning, the relationship between the sound of a linguistic expression and its meaning is arbitrary in that a meaning that is associated with one sound could have in principle been associated with any other sound. The arbitrariness of meaning has assumed a special pride of place in the semiotic tradition, but it is also widely accepted by linguists and philosophers. This lecture will make a case for the surprising conclusion that the arbitrariness thesis is false: some meanings of some sounds cannot, even in principle, be associated with certain other sounds.
Juhani Yli-Vakkuri completed a PhD (DPhil) in philosophy at the University of Oxford in 2012. Before being elected Professor of Philosophy of Language at the University of Tartu in September 2017, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oslo and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at Bielefeld University.
Professor Yli-Vakkuri’s research interests are in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophical logic. He is co-author (with John Hawthorne) of the monograph Narrow Content (Oxford University Press, 2018) and co-editor (with Mark McCullagh) of Williamson on Modality (Routledge, 2017), and his work has appeared in a variety of leading philosophy journals, such as Noûs, Analysis, Philosophical Studies, and Philosophical Quarterly.
Professor Juhani Yli-Vakkuri’s work in Tartu is supported by the University of Tartu ASTRA project PER ASPERA, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!
There will be a live webcast of the lecture, which can be viewed on the university’s video portaal www.uttv.ee