Locke, expressivism, conditionals

Analysis 63 (1):86–92 (2003)
The sentence ‘x is square’ might have had different truth conditions from those it in fact has. It might have had no truth conditions at all. Its having truth conditions and its having the ones it has rest on empirical facts about our use of ‘x is square’. What empirical facts? Any answer that goes into detail is inevitably highly controversial, but we think that there is a rough answer that is, by philosophers’ standards, relatively uncontroversial. It goes back to Locke 1689 and beyond, and is best known to contemporary philosophers through the work of Grice 1957 and Lewis 1969. It is that we (usually implicitly) agreed, as a matter of contingent fact, to use ‘x is square’ as a way of conveying our taking it to be the case that x is square.
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