Synthese 198 (3):1-18 (2019)

Sarah A Fisher
University of Vienna
The debate between Semantic Minimalism and Radical Contextualism is standardly characterized as concerning truth-evaluability—specifically, whether or not sentences require rich contextualization in order to express complete, truth-evaluable contents. In this paper, I examine the notion of truth-evaluability, considering which kinds of mappings it might require from worldly states of affairs to truth-values. At one end of the spectrum, an exhaustive notion would require truth-evaluable contents to map all possible states of affairs to truth-values. At the other end, a liberal notion would require only that truth-evaluable contents map at least one possible state of affairs to at least one truth-value. I show that both Minimalists and Radical Contextualists rely on some intermediate, moderately strict notion of truth-evaluability, falling between these two poles. I consider four ways in which such a notion could be defined. However, I argue that each of these is ultimately implausible, giving us no reason to favour a moderately strict notion of truth-evaluability over the liberal alternative. This suggests that the debate must shift to more moderate ground; rather than concerning the in principle possibility of truth-evaluable contents, it fundamentally hinges on their explanatory value. More generally, paying close attention to the notion of truth-evaluability allows us to tease apart distinct strands in the Minimalism-Contextualism debate, and gain a better appreciation of what is at stake.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02245-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,703
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Minimal Semantics.Emma Borg - 2004 - Oxford University Press.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Framing Effects and Context in Language Comprehension.Sarah Fisher - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Reading

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Criterion for Objectivity.Max Kölbel - 2000 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 15 (2):209-228.
Contextualism, Minimalism, and Situationalism.Eros Corazza - 2007 - Pragmatics and Cognition 15 (1):115-137.
Explicating Truth: Minimalism and Primitivism. [REVIEW]Dirk Greimann - 2000 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 31 (1):133-155.
On the Very Idea of a Minimal Proposition.Hsiu-Lin Ku - 2017 - NTU Philosophical Review 53:35-74.
Truth.Paul Horwich - 1999 - In Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 261-272.
Language and Ontological Emergence.J. T. M. Miller - 2017 - Philosophica 91 (1):105-143.
On Value-Attributions: Semantics and Beyond.Isidora Stojanovic - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):621-638.
Expressivist Embeddings and Minimalist Truth.James Dreier - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (1):29-51.


Added to PP index

Total views
25 ( #443,799 of 2,462,535 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,311 of 2,462,535 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes