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SAMPLES AS SYMBOLS

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Abstract

Nelson Goodman and, following him, Catherine Z. Elgin and Keith Lehrer have claimed that sometimes a sample is a symbol that stands for the property it is a sample of. The relation between the sample and the property it stands for is called ‘exemplification’ (Goodman, Elgin) or ‘exemplarisation’ (Lehrer). Goodman and Lehrer argue that the notion of exemplification sheds light on central problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of mind. However, while there seems to be a phenomenon to be captured, Goodman's account of exemplification has several flaws. In this paper I will offer an alternative account of exemplification that is inspired by Grice's idea that one can communicate something by providing one's audience with intention-independent evidence and letting them draw the obvious conclusion for themselves. This explication of exemplification will solve the problems that arose for Goodman's theory in the spirit of his approach.1

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