David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 173 (3):317 - 333 (2010)
I examine the radical contextualists’ two main arguments for the semantic underdeterminacy thesis, according to which all, or almost all, English sentences lack context-independent truth conditions. I show that both arguments are fallacious. The first argument, which I call the fallacy of the many understandings , mistakenly infers that a sentence S is semantically incomplete from the fact that S can be used to mean different things in different contexts. The second argument, which I call the open texture fallacy , wrongly concludes that a sentence S lacks context-independent truth conditions from the fact that there are circumstances in which the truth value of S would be indeterminate. I do however defend the claim that a certain class of sentences not containing any indexicals do lack context-independent truth conditions, and put forward an argument to that effect. But this argument, as I show, does not generalize to all sentences, and thus fails to support the semantic underdeterminacy thesis.
|Keywords||Contextualism Semantic underdeterminacy Semantic incompleteness Indeterminacy Truth conditions Open texture Context sensitivity|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Herman Cappelen (2005). Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. Blackwell Pub..
John R. Searle (1969). Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge University Press.
François Recanati (2004). Literal Meaning. Cambridge University Press.
R. Carston (2002). Thoughts and Utterances. Blackwell.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Martin Montminy (2007). Epistemic Contextualism and the Semantics-Pragmatics Distinction. Synthese 155 (1):99 - 125.
Martin Montminy (2008). Contextualist Resolutions of Philosophical Debates. Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):571-590.
Claudia Bianchi & Nicla Vassallo (2007). Meaning, Contexts and Justification. In B. Kokinov (ed.), Modeling and Using Context. 6th International and Interdisciplinary Conference, CONTEXT '07, LNAI 4635. Springer 69--81.
James O. Young (2002). The Slingshot Argument and the Correspondence Theory of Truth. Acta Analytica 17 (2):121-132.
David Botting (2012). What is a Sophistical Refutation? Argumentation 26 (2):213-232.
Alexandre Billon (2011). My Own Truth ---Pathologies of Self-Reference and Relative Truth. In Rahman Shahid, Primiero Giuseppe & Marion Mathieu (eds.), Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science, Vol. 23. Springer
Dilip Ninan (2012). Propositions, Semantic Values, and Rigidity. Philosophical Studies 158 (3):401-413.
Christopher Gauker (2006). Against Stepping Back: A Critique of Contextualist Approaches to the Semantic Paradoxes. Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (4):393 - 422.
Stefano Predelli (2005). Painted Leaves, Context, and Semantic Analysis. Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (3):351 - 374.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads59 ( #57,882 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #66,646 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?