This is not an instance of (E)

Synthese 195 (3):1035–1063 (2018)
Authors
Teresa Marques
Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract
Semantic paradoxes like the liar are notorious challenges to truth theories. A paradox can be phrased with minimal resources and minimal assumptions. It is not surprising, then, that the liar is also a challenge to minimalism about truth. Horwich (1990) deals swiftly with the paradox, after discriminating between other strategies for avoiding it without compromising minimalism. He dismisses the denial of classical logic, the denial that the concept of truth can coherently be applied to propositions, and the denial that the liar sentence expresses a proposition, but he endorses the denial that the liar is an acceptable instance of the equivalence schema (E). This paper has two main parts. It first shows that Horwich’s preferred denial is also problematic. As Simmons (1999), Beall and Armour-Garb (2003), and Asay (2015) argued, the solution is ad hoc, faces a possible loss of expressibility, and is ultimately unstable. Finally, the paper explores a different combination of possibilities for minimalism: treating the truth-predicate as context-dependent, rejecting the notion that the liar expresses a proposition, and reinterpreting negation in some contexts as metalinguistic denial. The paper argues that these are preferable options, but signposts possible dangers ahead.
Keywords Truth  Minimalism  Liar paradox  Expressibility  Context-dependence  Propositions  Metalinguistic negation
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1293-8
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