Understanding and Semantic Structure: Reply to Timothy Williamson

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt3):337-343 (2009)

Authors
Brendan Balcerak Jackson
University of Miami
Abstract
In his essay ‘“Conceptual Truth”’, Timothy Williamson (2006) argues that there are no truths or entailments that are constitutive of understanding the sentences involved. In this reply I provide several examples of entailment patterns that are intuitively constitutive of understanding in just the way that Williamson rejects, and I argue that Williamson’s argument does nothing to show otherwise. Williamson bolsters his conclusion by appeal to a certain theory about the nature of understanding. I argue that his theory fails to consider the role that the structure of a sentence plays in determining its meaning. The cases I present suggest that this role imposes greater cognitive requirements on understanding than Williamson can acknowledge.
Keywords understanding  semantic structure  analyticity
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9264.2009.00272.x
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Understanding and Inference.Timothy Williamson - 2003 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):249-293.
Conceptual Truth.Timothy Williamson - 2006 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 80 (1):1–41.

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