Truth theories, translation manuals, and theories of meaning

Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (4):487 - 505 (2006)
In "Truth and Meaning", Davidson suggested that a truth theory can do the work of a theory of meaning: it can give the meanings of expressions of a language, and can explain the semantic competence of speakers of the language by stating information knowledge of which would suffice for competence. From the start, this program faced certain fundamental objections. One response to these objections has been to supplement the truth theory with additional rules of inference (e.g. from T-sentences to meaning theorems). I argue that these modifications of Davidson's original idea fail to solve the problems with Davidsonian semantics, and that the prospects for a solution to these problems within the Davidsonian framework are dim. A general lesson to be drawn is that Davidsonian theories do not provide a viable alternative to Russellian and Fregean approaches to semantics which recognize the reality of language-independent contents.
Keywords Davidson  truth-theoretic semantics
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-006-0006-z
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References found in this work BETA
Max Kölbel (2001). Two Dogmas of Davidsonian Semantics. Journal of Philosophy 98 (12):613-635.
Scott Soames (1992). Truth, Meaning, and Understanding. Philosophical Studies 65 (1-2):17-35.
Donald Davidson (1976). Reply to Foster. In Gareth Evans & John Henry McDowell (eds.), Truth and Meaning: Essays in Semantics. Clarendon Press 33--41.

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