Partial understanding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Say that an audience understands a given utterance perfectly only if she correctly identifies which proposition (or propositions) that utterance expresses. In ideal circumstances, the participants in a conversation will understand each other’s utterances perfectly; however, even if they do not, they may still understand each other’s utterances at least in part. Although it is plausible to think that the phenomenon of partial understanding is very common, there is currently no philosophical account of it. This paper offers such an account. Along the way, I argue against two seemingly plausible accounts which use Stalnaker’s notion of common ground and Lewisian subject matters, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Communication
  • Content parthood
  • Semantic underdetermination
  • Truthmaker semantics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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