Supervaluations and the propositional attitude constraint

Journal of Philosophical Logic 26 (1):103-119 (1997)
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For the sentences of languages that contain operators that express the concepts of definiteness and indefiniteness, there is an unavoidable tension between a truth-theoretic semantics that delivers truth conditions for those sentences that capture their propositional contents and any model-theoretic semantics that has a story to tell about how indetifiniteness in a constituent affects the semantic value of sentences which imbed it. But semantic theories of both kinds play essential roles, so the tension needs to be resolved. I argue that it is the truth theory which correctly characterises the notion of truth, per se. When we take into account the considerations required to bring model theory into harmony with truth theory, those considerations undermine the arguments standardly used to motivate supervaluational model theories designed to validate classical logic. But those considerations also show that celebration would be premature for advocates of the most frequently encountered rival approach - many-valued model theory



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John Burgess
Princeton University

Citations of this work

Vagueness, epistemicism and response-dependence.J. Burgess - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):507 – 524.
What is minimalism about truth?J. A. Burgess - 1997 - Analysis 57 (4):259-267.

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References found in this work

Philosophical papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Logic, semantics, metamathematics.Alfred Tarski - 1956 - Oxford,: Clarendon Press. Edited by John Corcoran & J. H. Woodger.
Vagueness, truth and logic.Kit Fine - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300.
General semantics.David K. Lewis - 1970 - Synthese 22 (1-2):18--67.

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