Minimalist Meaning, Internalist Interpretation


  • Paul M. Pietroski


This article offers a conception of semantics, and of what makes the human language faculty distinctive, based on five theses: Meanings are instructions to build concepts; concatenation calls for conjunction of monadic concepts; grammatical relations invoke certain thematic relations and a kind of existential closure; lexicalization is a partly creative process of abstraction; and meanings are internalistic properties of expressions. Each of these claims is defended elsewhere. The aim here is to connect them explicitly, and compare the result with alternatives, in the hope of providing a plausible conception of natural language meaning that coheres with Chomsky’s minimalist program.