Buczkowska Janina
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45(2009)2 - Consciousness and the Subject

Janina Buczkowska

Some remarks concerning the reference of mental and language representations

  • language: Polish


This paper is an attempt to answer the question, what is exactly represented by our thoughts or language expressions. At the beginning the article presents main philosophical problems regarding the understanding of the nature of the subject of reference of such representations as names or descriptions. Is the name directly referred to the real object or rather to the content of thought? What about cases when the name cannot be referred to the real object? What is the relation between the intentional subject connected with every name (or description) and the external object to which only some names can be referred to, and which one is prior to the constitution of representation?

The idea to understand the subject of mental or language representations as a complex structure which has a relational nature is the solution proposed in this paper. This structure is constituted by cognition and ties internal elements of a given representation such as the content with the elements which are external with regard to this given representation. This structure reflects such elements as the content of representation, the way in which this content is given, the correlate of the content and its mode of existence as well as additional systemic information coordinated with given representation.

Some consequences of this proposal are discussed at the end of the article. It is explained how the differentiation of the elements of this structure can lead to different types of reference. The basis to understand the issue in question is the relation between internal and external object of reference. It can be interpreted (as is suggested in the paper) as a connection between internal elements of the described structure.

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47(2011)3 - Science versus Utopia. Limits of Scientific Cognition

Janina Buczkowska

An attempt at the categorization of the limits of science

  • language: English


The paper makes a (non-exhaustive) attempt to indicate various categories of limits faced by science. It is also demonstrated that investigation of the limits may be an additional source of knowledge about the essence of science.

The general question about “the limits of science” is ambiguous and we need to detail which limits are concerned. Science encounters several limits. Some mark the boundaries of its capabilities, while others determine its character. One may ask, what is the limit of current science, or ask whether there is a domain of phenomena, which, by its own internal rule, science will never be able to investigate. Yet another question is how far we can change present research methods to still be able to define the results attained through them as scientific? These are the questions about the limits of science as a whole. Philosophy has frequently attempted to identify and sometimes demarcate those science limits.

The question of limits of a specific theory has a different reference. It concerns the issue of how adequate the laws of a particular scientific theory are, e.g. the classic theory of gravity, the biological brain's neuronal theory etc. Those limits are not placed on science by philosophy or culture, but are defined by science itself. In this paper these kinds of limits are just shortly mentioned.

In the paper the author concentrates on this type of scientific limits, which characterizes science as a whole. The limits of science taken as a whole follow from the types of postulates set for the ideal of science. Each specified kind of limit is related to some philosophical dispute, which indicates that science transcends those limits and a model of science, which does not account for this and imposes strict limitations, is inadequate. The main subject of this paper is to show that philosophy tries to discover the nature of science by defining the limitations for scientific knowledge. Confrontation of these philosophical expectations with real science leads to a development of our knowledge about science as such.

The image of science revealed through this analysis demonstrates that it is a certain dynamic entirety of theories and methods, constantly evolving and developing in accordance with its internal laws. It is not completely homogenous in terms of methodology or scope. It has some kind of hierarchical structure, but there is a certain kind of internal non-contradiction between theories of various levels. Various areas of knowledge in the scope of the entirety of science interact and inspire each other. As is demonstrated, getting to know the limits of science is a way to better understanding its nature.


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50(2014)2 - Papers

Janina Buczkowska

The linguistic meaning and sense of an utterance.
Semantic and pragmatic components of linguistic communication

  • Language: Polish


The aim of this article is to analyze the semantic and pragmatic determination of linguistic meaning. Current research in pragmatics emphasize the influence of context on the interpretation of the utterance. The theses of “semantic underdetermination” of linguistic meaning is assumed.

The article defends the autonomy of semantic properties of expressions in the process of communication. It refers to the M. Devitt proposal to associate semantic properties of the expression with the representational function of language. This allows to distinguish between the meaning of expression in the literal sense and the utterance interpretation in which the context of the utterance is taken into account. The terms what is said and what is meant proposed by Grice an Devitt correspond to this distinction.

It has been shown that what the sentence says, the meaning of an expression is defined semantically and is the basic and necessary condition of linguistic communication. Pragmatic properties do not constitute the meaning of expressions (what is said) but sense of utterance (what is meant) which is a combination of sentence, context and interpretation. Although the sense of the utterance is richer and different from the meaning of the expression, the phrase used in a speech retains its conventional content. What is said provides independent premises apart from context to interpretation of what is meant.