About this topic
Summary The truth-conditional theory of meaning states that the meaning of a proposition is given by its truth conditions.
Key works Davidson 1984; Lepore & Ludwig 2007 (the latter is an edited collection).  These works presume something between semantic minimalism and the mere fixing of pronominal anaphora and similar phenomena.  A pragmatic, fully contextualist view is to be found in Bezuidenhout 2002.  A full development which challenges the semantics-pragmatics divide can be found in Recanati 2010.
Introductions Because almost all introductions to logic use truth-theoretic semantics, the best introductions to this area are introductory logic textbooks which do so. There are literally hundreds of these; each instructor will have his own favorite.
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228 found
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1 — 50 / 228
  1. added 2020-06-02
    Free Choice and Distribution Over Disjunction.Rick Nouwen - 2018 - Semantics and Pragmatics 11:1-11.
  2. added 2020-05-01
    An Observation About Truth.David Kashtan - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Jerusalem
    Tarski's analysis of the concept of truth gives rise to a hierarchy of languages. Does this fragment the concept all the way to philosophical unacceptability? I argue it doesn't, drawing on a modification of Kaplan's theory of indexicals.
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  3. added 2020-04-21
    Methodological Deflationism and Semantic Theories.Adam C. Podlaskowski - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-8.
    Methodological deflationism is a policy about how we should conduct ourselves when it comes to theories of truth: in particular, a deflationary theory of truth should be taken as one’s starting point, and the notion of truth should be inflated only as necessary. This policy is motivated, in part, by the need to balance the theoretical virtue of parsimony with that of explanatory sufficiency. In this article, the case is made that the methodological deflationist is in no position to properly (...)
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  4. added 2020-03-24
    The Structure of Content is Not Transparent.Thomas Hodgson - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):425-437.
    Sentences in context have semantic contents determined by a range of factors both internal and external to speakers. I argue against the thesis that semantic content is transparent to speakers in the sense of being immediately accessible to speakers in virtue of their linguistic competence.
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  5. added 2020-01-11
    In Defense of Convention T.Donald Davidson - 1973 - In Hugues Leblanc (ed.), Truth, Syntax and Modality. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
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  6. added 2019-12-30
    Can Truth‐Conditional Theorists of Content Do Without ‘That’‐Clause Ascriptions?Lionel Shapiro - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (1):1-27.
    Hartry Field has proposed a fundamental division of theories of linguistic and mental content into those that do, and those that don’t, give a central role to ‘that’-clause ascriptions. Here I investigate the commitments of theories that (in accord with Field’s position) deny ‘that’-clause ascriptions a central role, but (in contrast to Field’s position) give truth conditions a central role. Such non-oblique truth-conditionalism promises significant advantages. However, the stance is costlier than it may appear. Non-oblique truth-conditionalists, I argue, must renounce (...)
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  7. added 2019-12-04
    Not Wanted: On Scharp’s Solution to the Liar.Mark Pinder - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Kevin Scharp argues that the concept of truth is defective, and is therefore unable to play its intended role in natural language truth-conditional semantics. As such, for this theoretical purpose, Scharp constructs two replacements: ascending truth and descending truth. Scharp applies the resultant theory, AD semantics, to the liar sentence, thereby obtaining a novel solution to the liar paradox. The aim of the present paper is fourfold. First, I show that, contrary to Scharp’s claims, AD semantics in fact yields an (...)
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  8. added 2019-08-31
    Why Philosophers Should Do Semantics : A Reply to Cappelen.Ryan Nefdt - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (1):243-256.
    In this paper, I address a series of arguments recently put forward by Cappelen Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8: 743–762 to the effect that philosophers should not do formal semantics or be concerned with the “minutiae of natural language semantics”. He offers two paths for accessing his ideas. I argue that his arguments fail in favour of the first and cast some doubt on the second in so doing. I then proffer an alternative conception of why exactly philosophers should (...)
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  9. added 2019-06-07
    Radical Misinterpretation: Reply to Stoutland.Ernest Lepore & Kirk Ludwig - 2007 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (4):557-585.
    This paper responds to a critical review of our 2005 book Donald Davidson: Meaning, Truth, Language and Reality, by Frederick Stoutland. It identifies a number of serious misreadings of both Davidson and the book.
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    Was Davidson's Project a Carnapian Explication of Meaning?Kirk Ludwig - 2015 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 3 (4):1-55.
    There are two main interpretive positions on Davidson’s project in the theory of meaning. The Replacement Theory holds that Davidson aimed to replace the theory of meaning with the theory of truth on the grounds that meaning is too unclear a notion for systematic theorizing. The Traditional Pursuit Theory, in contrast, holds that Davidson aimed to pursue the traditional project with a clever bit of indirection, exploiting the recursive structure of a truth theory to reveal compositional semantic structure and placing (...)
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  11. added 2019-06-06
    Truth‐Conditional Pragmatics. By Francois Recanati. , £18.99 .).Fabrizio Cariani - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):415-418.
  12. added 2019-06-06
    Homophonic Prejudices.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2008 - Critica 40 (120):67-84.
    I critically discuss some aspects of Mark Sainsbury's Reference without Referents, from an otherwise sympathetic viewpoint. My objections focus on the adequacy of the truth-conditional framework that Sainsbury presupposes. I argue that, as semantic theories, truth-conditional accounts are both too ambitious, and too austere to be fully explanatory, and that both problems have consequences for an account of reference. The latter problem has to do with the difficulties to capture in a truth-conditional framework the descriptive contribution of indexicals and, in (...)
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    Truth in Semantics.Max Kölbel - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):242-257.
    Semantic theories for natural languages purport to describe a central aspect of the meaning of natural language sentences. In doing so, they usually employ some notion of truth. Most semanticists, even those who have no objections to invoking propositions, will define a truth-predicate that applies to sentences. Some will also employ a notion of propositional truth. Both types of semanticist face the question whether and how the semantic notion(s) of truth they are employing is (are)related to the ordinary, pre-theoretic notion(s) (...)
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    What Should a Theory of Meaning Do?Mark Platts - 1988 - Critica 20 (59):43-67.
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  15. added 2019-06-05
    Embedding Irony and the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6):674-699.
    This paper argues that we need to re-think the semantics/pragmatics distinction in the light of new evidence from embedding of irony. This raises a new version of the old problem of ‘embedded implicatures’. I argue that embedded irony isn’t fully explained by solutions proposed for other embedded implicatures. I first consider two strategies: weak pragmatics and strong pragmatics. These explain embedded irony as truth-conditional content. However, by trying to shoehorn irony into said-content, they raise problems of their own. I conclude (...)
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  16. added 2019-05-15
    Semantics and Metasemantics in the Context of Generative Grammar.Seth Yalcin - 2014 - In Alexis Burgess & Brett Sherman (eds.), Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 17-54.
  17. added 2019-05-06
    Truth, Meaning, and Interpretation: A Reconsideration of Davidson’s Program.Arpy Khatchirian - 2018 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 6 (9).
    On a common reading of Davidson, the motivation for his proposal that a meaning theory is to take the form of a truth theory is at least partly guided by concern with the ends and means of interpretation. At the same time, the consensus seems to be that this proposal faces a particularly stubborn justificatory burden. The aim of this paper is twofold: first, to suggest that there is a promising route to discharging this burden, albeit one that is visible (...)
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  18. added 2019-04-22
    Discourse and Method.Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):119-138.
    Stojnić et al. (2013, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their `prominence/coherence' theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to (...)
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  19. added 2019-04-12
    How important are truth-conditions for truth-conditional semantics?Toby Napoletano - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (6):541-575.
    In this paper, I argue that while truth-conditional semantics in generative linguistics provides lots of good semantic explanations, truth-conditions do not play an important role in these explanations. That is, the fact that expressions have the particular truthconditional contents they have does not even partly explain facts about semantic phenomena. Rather, explanations of semantic phenomena appeal to extra-truth-conditional properties attributed to expressions via their lexical entries. Focusing on recent truth-conditional work on gradable adjectives and degree modifiers by Kennedy and McNally, (...)
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  20. added 2019-04-11
    Multiple Indexing Relativism About Predicates of Taste.Dan Zeman - 2019 - Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía 51 (151):5-34.
    Focusing on predicates of taste, this paper puts forward a novel version of relativism, motivated by a recently discussed phenomenon: perspectival plurality. After showing that the phenomenon is problematic for at least some versions of relativism and discussing several possible answers on behalf of the relativist, I put forward my own version. The main feature of the proposal is the introduction in the index not of a single parameter for perspectives, but of a (possibly infinite) sequence of such parameters. In (...)
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  21. added 2019-04-11
    The Use of the Binding Argument in the Debate About Location.Dan Zeman - 2017 - In Sarah-Jane Conrad & Klaus Petrus (eds.), Meaning, Context and Methodology. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 191-212.
    In this paper I inquire into the methodological status of one of the arguments that have figured prominently in contemporary debates about the semantics of a variety of expressions, the so-called “Binding Argument”. My inquiry is limited to the case of meteorological sentences like “It is raining”, but my conclusion can be extended to other types of sentences as well. Following Jason Stanley, I distinguish between three interpretations of the argument. My focus is on the third, weakest interpretation, according to (...)
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  22. added 2019-04-11
    The Semantics of Implicit Content.Dan Zeman - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Barcelona
    The main aim of the thesis is to give a semantic account of implicit content – the kind of content that plays a crucial role in implicit communication. Implicit communication is a species of communication in which a speaker communicates certain contents that go over and above the contents retrievable from the linguistic meaning of the words used. The focus of the thesis is a certain kind of implicit communication involving locations (when sentences such as “It is raining” are used (...)
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  23. added 2019-04-11
    Overcoming the Obstacles to the Relativity of Truth.Dan Zeman - 2007 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 14 (2):232-241.
    This is a reply to Tomas Marvan's paper "Obstacles to the Relativity of Truth", published in the same issue, in which I attempt to provide an interpretation of the relativist schema "x is true relative to y" by understanding x as ranging over propositions and y as ranging over circumstances of evaluation, as in the familiar Kaplanian picture of semantics. I then answer some of Marvan's worries and reject certain views considered relativist on the basis that they are, in fact, (...)
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  24. added 2019-01-04
    Do We Need Dynamic Semantics?Karen S. Lewis - 2014 - In Alexis Burgess & Brett Sherman (eds.), Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 231-258.
    I suspect the answer to the question in the title of this paper is no. But the scope of my paper will be considerably more limited: I will be concerned with whether certain types of considerations that are commonly cited in favor of dynamic semantics do in fact push us towards a dynamic semantics. Ultimately, I will argue that the evidence points to a dynamics of discourse that is best treated pragmatically, rather than as part of the semantics.
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  25. added 2018-09-14
    The Principle of Charity.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2004 - Dialogue 43 (4):671-683.
    The recent publication of a third anthology of Donald Davidson’s articles, and anticipated publication of two more, encourages a consideration of themes binding together Davidson’s lifetime of research. One such theme is the principle of charity (PC). In light of the mileage Davidson gets out of PC, I propose a careful examination of PC itself. In Part 1, I consider some ways in which Davidson articulates PC. In Part 2, I show that the articulation that Davidson requires in his work (...)
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  26. added 2018-09-06
    Talking About Trees and Truth-Conditions.Reinhard Muskens - 2001 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 10 (4):417-455.
    We present Logical Description Grammar (LDG), a model ofgrammar and the syntax-semantics interface based on descriptions inelementary logic. A description may simultaneously describe the syntacticstructure and the semantics of a natural language expression, i.e., thedescribing logic talks about the trees and about the truth-conditionsof the language described. Logical Description Grammars offer a naturalway of dealing with underspecification in natural language syntax andsemantics. If a logical description (up to isomorphism) has exactly onetree plus truth-conditions as a model, it completely specifies thatgrammatical (...)
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  27. added 2018-08-17
    Polysemy and Co-Predication.Marina Ortega AndrÉs & Agustin Vicente - forthcoming - Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics.
    Many word forms in natural language are polysemous, but only some of them allow for co-predication, that is, they allow for simultaneous predications selecting for two different meanings or senses of a nominal in a sentence. In this paper, we try to explain (i) why some groups of senses allow co-predication and others do not, and (ii) how we interpret co-predicative sentences. The paper focuses on those groups of senses that allow co-predication in an especially robust and stable way. We (...)
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  28. added 2018-07-19
    De Ray: On the Boundaries of the Davidsonian Semantic Programme.Cameron Domenico Kirk-Giannini & Ernie Lepore - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):697-714.
    Greg Ray (2014) believes he has discovered a crucial oversight in Donald Davidson’s semantic programme, recognition of which paves the way for a novel approach to Davidsonian semantics. We disagree: Ray’s novel approach involves a tacit appeal to pre-existing semantic knowledge which vitiates its interest as a development of the Davidsonian programme.
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  29. added 2018-06-16
    Two Switches in the Theory of Counterfactuals: A Study of Truth Conditionality and Minimal Change.Ivano Ciardelli, Linmin Zhang & Lucas Champollion - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy (6).
    Based on a crowdsourced truth value judgment experiment, we provide empirical evidence challenging two classical views in semantics, and we develop a novel account of counterfactuals that combines ideas from inquisitive semantics and causal reasoning. First, we show that two truth-conditionally equivalent clauses can make different semantic contributions when embedded in a counterfactual antecedent. Assuming compositionality, this means that the meaning of these clauses is not fully determined by their truth conditions. This finding has a clear explanation in inquisitive semantics: (...)
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  30. added 2018-04-03
    Putting Inferentialism and the Suppositional Theory of Conditionals to the Test.Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Freiburg
    This dissertation is devoted to empirically contrasting the Suppositional Theory of conditionals, which holds that indicative conditionals serve the purpose of engaging in hypothetical thought, and Inferentialism, which holds that indicative conditionals express reason relations. Throughout a series of experiments, probabilistic and truth-conditional variants of Inferentialism are investigated using new stimulus materials, which manipulate previously overlooked relevance conditions. These studies are some of the first published studies to directly investigate the central claims of Inferentialism empirically. In contrast, the Suppositional Theory (...)
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  31. added 2018-03-20
    The Notion of Truth in Natural and Formal Languages.Pete Olcott - manuscript
    For any natural (human) or formal (mathematical) language L we know that an expression X of language L is true if and only if there are expressions Γ of language L that connect X to known facts. -/- By extending the notion of a Well Formed Formula to include syntactically formalized rules for rejecting semantically incorrect expressions we recognize and reject expressions that evaluate to neither True nor False.
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  32. added 2018-03-09
    Perceptual Demonstrative Thought: A Property-Dependent Theory.Sean Crawford - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):439-457.
    The paper presents a new theory of perceptual demonstrative thought, the property-dependent theory. It argues that the theory is superior to both the object-dependent theory (Evans, McDowell) and the object-independent theory (Burge).
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  33. added 2018-02-18
    Meaning, Use and Truth.Paul Horwich - 1995 - Mind 104 (414):355-368.
  34. added 2018-02-18
    Truth conditions and truth values.Alan Weir - 1983 - Analysis 43 (4):176.
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  35. added 2018-02-17
    Donald Davidson.Ernest Lepore & K. Ludwig - 2009 - In Christopher Belshaw & Gary Kemp (eds.), 12 Modern Philosophers. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 199-224.
  36. added 2018-01-15
    Truth-Theoretic Semantics and Its Limits.Kirk Ludwig - 2017 - Argumenta (3):21-38.
    Donald Davidson was one of the most influential philosophers of the last half of the 20th century, especially in the theory of meaning and in the philosophy of mind and action. In this paper, I concentrate on a field-shaping proposal of Davidson’s in the theory of meaning, arguably his most influential, namely, that insight into meaning may be best pursued by a bit of indirection, by showing how appropriate knowledge of a finitely axiomatized truth theory for a language can put (...)
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  37. added 2017-10-25
    Donald Davidson: Meaning, Truth, Language, and Reality.Ernest Lepore & Kirk Ludwig - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
    Ernest Lepore and Kirk Ludwig present the definitive critical exposition of the philosophical system of Donald Davidson. Davidson 's ideas had a deep and broad influence in the central areas of philosophy; he presented them in brilliant essays over four decades, but never set out explicitly the overarching scheme in which they all have their place. Lepore's and Ludwig's book will therefore be the key work, besides Davidson 's own, for understanding one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century.
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  38. added 2017-08-18
    Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay.J. L. Dowell - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):585-593.
  39. added 2017-07-21
    Deflating the Determination Argument.Jared Henderson - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (2):167-177.
    This article argues for the compatibility of deflationism and truth-conditional semantic theories. I begin by focusing on an argument due to Dorit Bar-On, Claire Horisk, and William Lycan for incompatibility, arguing that their argument relies on an ambiguity between two senses of the expression ‘is at least.’ I go on to show how the disambiguated arguments have different consequences for the deflationist, and argue that no conclusions are established that the deflationist cannot accommodate. I then respond to some objections and (...)
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  40. added 2017-05-06
    Descriptions and Non-Doxastic Attitude Ascriptions.Wojciech Rostworowski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1311-1331.
    This paper addresses a certain objection to the quantificational theory of definite descriptions. According to this objection, the quantificational account cannot provide correct interpretations of definite descriptions embedded in the non-doxastic attitude ascriptions and therefore ought to be rejected. In brief, the objection says that the quantificational theory is committed to the view that a sentence of the form “The F is G” is equivalent to the claim that there is a unique F and it is G, while the ascription (...)
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  41. added 2017-05-01
    Moral Disagreement and Moral Semantics.Justin Khoo & Joshua Knobe - 2016 - Noûs:109-143.
    When speakers utter conflicting moral sentences, it seems clear that they disagree. It has often been suggested that the fact that the speakers disagree gives us evidence for a claim about the semantics of the sentences they are uttering. Specifically, it has been suggested that the existence of the disagreement gives us reason to infer that there must be an incompatibility between the contents of these sentences. This inference then plays a key role in a now-standard argument against certain theories (...)
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  42. added 2017-04-05
    On the Dynamics of Conversation.Daniel Rothschild & Seth Yalcin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):24-48.
    There is a longstanding debate in the literature about static versus dynamic approaches to meaning and conversation. A formal result due to van Benthem is often thought to be important for understanding what, conceptually speaking, is at issue in the debate. We introduce the concept of a conversation system, and we use it to clarify the import of van Benthem's result. We then distinguish two classes of conversation systems, corresponding to two concepts of staticness. The first class corresponds to a (...)
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  43. added 2017-03-27
    Linguistic Understanding and Knowledge of Truth-Conditions.Chase Wrenn - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (3):355-370.
    What do you know when you know what a sentence means? According to some theories, understanding a sentence is, in part, knowing its truth-conditions. Dorit Bar-On, Claire Horisk, and William Lycan have defended such theories on the grounds of an “epistemic determination argument”. That argument turns on the ideas that understanding a sentence, along with knowledge of the non-linguistic facts, suffices to know its truth-value, and that being able to determine a sentence’s truth-value given knowledge of the non-linguistic facts is (...)
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  44. added 2017-02-15
    Conditionals, Meaning, and Mood.William Starr - 2010 - Dissertation, Rutgers University
    This work explores the hypothesis that natural language is a tool for changing a language user's state of mind and, more specifically, the hypothesis that a sentence's meaning is constituted by its characteristic role in fulfilling this purpose. This view contrasts with the dominant approach to semantics due to Frege, Tarski and others' work on artificial languages: language is first and foremost a tool for representing the world. Adapted to natural language by Davidson, Lewis, Montague, et. al. this dominant approach (...)
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  45. added 2017-02-13
    Truth Conditions: A Causal Theory.Anthony Appiah - 1986 - In Jeremy Butterfield (ed.), Language, Mind and Logic. Cambridge University Press. pp. 25--45.
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  46. added 2017-02-02
    What’s Truth Got to Do with It?Paul Horwich - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (3):309-322.
    This paper offers a critique of mainstream formal semantics. It begins with a statement of widely assumed adequacy conditions: namely, that a good theory must (1) explain relations of entailment, (ii) show how the meanings of complex expressions derive from the meanings of their parts, and (iii) characterize facts of meaning in truth-theoretic terms. It then proceeds to criticize the orthodox conception of semantics that is articulated in these three desiderata. This critique is followed by a sketch of an alternative (...)
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  47. added 2017-01-26
    1. Meaning Dualism and its Criticism of Davidsonian Truth-Theories for Natural.Jay David Atlas - 2007 - In G. Preyer (ed.), Context Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism. Oxford University Press.
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  48. added 2017-01-17
    Is Truth Effable?Pascal Engel - unknown
    An evaluation and criticism of Hintikka's analysis of truth. According to Hintikka, the main presupposition of most theories of truth and meaning in the XXth century is that of the ineffability of meaning and truth, itself a consequence of the universality thesis in logic and semantics. Hintikka argues on the contrary that truth can be defined through an IF logic and meaning through a game-theoretical semantics. Without putting ito question here these technical results, I argue that Hintikka's conception of truth (...)
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  49. added 2016-12-12
    What is a Non-Truth-Functional Logic?João Marcos - 2009 - Studia Logica 92 (2):215-240.
    What is the fundamental insight behind truth-functionality ? When is a logic interpretable by way of a truth-functional semantics? To address such questions in a satisfactory way, a formal definition of truth-functionality from the point of view of abstract logics is clearly called for. As a matter of fact, such a definition has been available at least since the 70s, though to this day it still remains not very widely well-known. A clear distinction can be drawn between logics characterizable through: (...)
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  50. added 2016-12-12
    Truth, Meaning, and Circularity.Claire Horisk - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (2):269-300.
    It is often argued that the combination of deflationism about truth and the truth-conditional theory of meaning is impossible for reasons of circularity. I distinguish, and reject, two strains of circularity argument. Arguments of the first strain hold that the combination has a circular account of the order in which one comes to know the meaning of a sentence and comes to know its truth condition. I show that these arguments fail to identify any circularity. Arguments of the second strain (...)
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