Petr S. Kusliy
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
On the semantic content of “progress”
Abstract. The paper is a reply to Alexander Nikiforov’s discussion of the notion of progress and a critical evaluation of that discussion. The author accepts Nikiforov’s arguments about the relativity of the denotation of the term “progress” but rejects his attempts to explain the term’s meaning by an appeal to a positive development in a concrete, albeit abstract, realm. The author argues that even though “progress” is an evaluative predicate whose denotation heavily depends on context, this does not mean that its semantics lacks an objective component. Building on some literature from formal semantics of natural language, the author outlines an approach to the semantics of “progress” that would not have the shortcomings of the approach suggested by Nikiforov.
Keywords: semantics, pragmatics, progress, context, reference
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