Mainstream semantics + deflationary truth

Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (5):397-410 (2011)
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Abstract

Recent philosophy of language has been profoundly impacted by the idea that mainstream, model-theoretic semantics is somehow incompatible with deflationary accounts of truth and reference. The present article systematizes the case for incompatibilism, debunks circularity and “modal confusion” arguments familiar in the literature, and reconstructs the popular thought that truth-conditional semantics somehow “presupposes” a correspondence theory of truth as an inference to the best explanation. The case for compatibilism is closed by showing that this IBE argument fails to rule out two kinds of deflationism: the position Field famously accused Tarski of having; and a less familiar version of the view that defines reference in terms of a deflated notion of truth. Finally, the distinction between unifying and constitutive explanation is used to forestall the response that correspondence theory is literally part of mainstream semantics.

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Alexis Burgess
Pomona College

References found in this work

Truth.Paul Horwich - 1990 - Oxford, GB: Clarendon Press. Edited by Frank Jackson & Michael Smith.
Making it Explicit.Isaac Levi & Robert B. Brandom - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):145.
Realism and truth.Michael Devitt - 1984 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Truth.Paul Horwich - 2005 - In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press UK. pp. 261-272.

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