Improbable Semantics

Picturing, Signifying, and Musicking


In order to discuss the language of possible worlds, it is first necessary to define what is meant by language, and this requires us to provide an account of how communication and representation stand with regard to conceptual thought, as well as to modal categories (i.e. possibility, necessity, impossibility) and their determination (which would concern probability, uncertainty, and risk). To do this we’ll draw on the Sellarsian distinction between picturing and signifying, and see how it can be understood apropos language evolution theory, cognitive science, and computationalism. The aim will be to show how extralinguistic communicative practices such as music are able to express possible worlds and to act as a conduit towards their construction, while avoiding the tendency of such claims to fall into the myth of the given.…