Dialectica 70 (2):201-215 (2016)

Authors
Miguel Hoeltje
Universität Duisburg-Essen
Abstract
Donald Davidson suggested that, in attempting to give meaning theories, we should proceed via giving truth theories. For the programme of truth-theoretic semantics to be successful, two tasks need to be accomplished. First, it has to be shown that natural languages are actually amendable to truth theoretic treatment. The second task is to show how we can bridge the gap between a truth theory and a genuine meaning theory. This second task is necessitated by the simple fact that truth theories by themselves are too weak to satisfy the central desideratum for a meaning theory. In a recent paper, Greg Ray suggests that the goal of giving meaning theories can easily be achieved, not by supplementing the truth-theoretic apparatus, but by doing away with it altogether. In particular, he proposes that what he calls means-that theories meet all the desiderata on meaning theories, and that ‘anyone with basically Davidsonian commitments must accept the means-that approach as viable and that it has certain evident virtues’. This paper argues that theories along Ray's lines do not satisfy the central desideratum for meaning theories. Ray's belief to the contrary rests on a common misunderstanding of what this desideratum amounts to. As I indicate in the final section of the paper, there perhaps is a way of substantially amending Ray's approach in order to meet the central desideratum. However, in an ironic twist, this will require giving a full-fledged truth theory for the metalanguage, including its intensional constructions like ‘means that’ – precisely the project Ray attempted to avoid.
Keywords Donald Davidson  truth-conditional theories
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1746-8361.12143
Options
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: 51,304
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge of Meaning.Richard Larson & Gabriel Segal - 2000 - Mind 109 (436):960-964.
Truth and Meaning: In Perspective.Scott Soames - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):1-19.
Meaning and Truth.Greg Ray - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):79-100.
Truth and Understanding.James Higginbotham - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 65 (1-2):3 - 16.
Truth, Meaning, and Understanding.Scott Soames - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 65 (1-2):17-35.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Theories of Meaning.Wang Lu - 2008 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (1):83-98.
Lepore and Ludwig on 'Explicit Meaning Theories'.Miguel Hoeltje - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):831-839.
Meaning and Truth.Greg Ray - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):79-100.
Truth Theories, Translation Manuals, and Theories of Meaning.Jeff Speaks - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (4):487 - 505.
Meaning- Theories and the Principle of Humanity.Daniel Whiting - 2006 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (4):697-716.
Truth and Meaning: In Perspective.Scott Soames - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):1-19.
Truth and Meaning.Robert C. Cummins - 2002 - In Joseph Keim-Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth: Investigations in Philosophical Semantics. Seven Bridges Press. pp. 175-197.
Horwich’s Sting.John Collins - 2002 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):213-228.
The Theory of Truth in the Theory of Meaning.Gurpreet S. Rattan - 2004 - European Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):214–243.
Self-Reference and the Divorce Between Meaning and Truth.Savas L. Tsohatzidis - 2013 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 22 (4):445-452.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-06-14

Total views
36 ( #265,187 of 2,330,100 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #393,046 of 2,330,100 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes