Davidson, first-person authority, and the evidence for semantics

In Gerhard Preyer (ed.), Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental. Oxford University Press. pp. 228-48 (2012)

Authors
Steven Gross
Johns Hopkins University
Abstract
Donald Davidson aims to illuminate the concept of meaning by asking: What knowledge would suffice to put one in a position to understand the speech of another, and what evidence sufficiently distant from the concepts to be illuminated could in principle ground such knowledge? Davidson answers: knowledge of an appropriate truth-theory for the speaker’s language, grounded in what sentences the speaker holds true, or prefers true, in what circumstances. In support of this answer, he both outlines such a truth-theory for a substantial fragment of a natural language and sketches a procedure—radical interpretation—that, drawing on such evidence, could confirm such a theory. Bracketing refinements (e.g., those introduced to..
Keywords semantics  first person authority  Davidson
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