Topoi 40 (1):5-25 (2021)

Paul Pietroski
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Davidson conjectured that suitably formulated Tarski-style theories of truth can “do duty” as theories of meaning for the spoken languages that humans naturally acquire. But this conjecture faces a pair of old objections that are, in my view, fatal when combined. Foster noted that given any theory of the sort Davidson envisioned, for a language L, there will be many equally true theories whose theorems pair endlessly many sentences of L with very different specifications of whether or not those sentences are true. And if L includes words ‘true’, then for reasons stressed by Tarski, it’s hard to see how any truth theory for L could be correct. Moreover, each of these concerns amplifies the other. Appealing to possible worlds will not help with Foster’s Problem, for reasons that Chomsky discussed in the 1950s, and appealing to trivalent models of truth will not avoid concerns illustrated with Liar Sentences.
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-020-09696-0
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Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
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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.

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