Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||There is a certain approach to the semantic paradoxes that is highly intuitive and for that reason alone never seems to go away. Roughly put, it's the idea that the paradoxical sentences just don't really have any truth conditions at all, no matter how grammatically sound and meaningful they and their parts are. I suppose that just about anyone who spends even a relatively modest amount of time thinking about the paradoxes comes up with this idea eventually. There is a great deal to recommend this approach, especially when it carefully distinguishes sentence tokens from sentence types. For one thing, it requires no significant alteration in commonsensical views about language or logic. Let us call it the Token Approach, as it trades on distinguishing linguistic tokens from types. The approach does not contain any of the flashy logical moves that characterize most other current responses to the semantic paradoxes. Many contemporary philosophers of language and logic ignore the Token Approach in part because, it seems, they cannot display their logical chops when investigating it. Despite this devastating drawback, the approach strikes me as good as any. It faces two obstacles: it apparently lacks a plausible explanation of how certain type-identical sentence tokens can differ in truth conditions, and it may fail to adequately deal with certain paradoxical sentences of the liar family. However, I don't take the obstacles to be insurmountable: in each case the advocate of the Token Approach can appeal to a traditional and highly credentialed-if controversial and obscure-contemporary view of linguistic meaning that promises to supply suitable ways around both obstacles.|
|Keywords||liar paradox grellings paradox currys paradox types and tokens semantic paradoxes|
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