The cognitivist account of meaning and the liar paradox

Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1221-1242 (2015)
Mark Pinder
Open University (UK)
A number of theorists hold that literal, linguistic meaning is determined by the cognitive mechanism that underpins semantic competence. Borg and Larson and Segal defend a version of the view on which semantic competence is underpinned by the cognition of a truth-conditional semantic theory—a semantic theory which is true. Let us call this view the “cognitivist account of meaning”. In this paper, I discuss a surprisingly serious difficulty that the cognitivist account of meaning faces in light of the liar paradox. I raise an argument to the effect that, in light of linguistic evidence concerning the liar paradox, the cognised semantic theory is inconsistent. This contradicts the cognitivist account. I consider a range of possible responses to the difficulty, raising problems for each. The liar paradox poses a serious difficulty to the cognitivist account of meaning, and it is unclear whether the difficulty can be resolved
Keywords Cognitivism  Meaning  Liar paradox  Truth condition  Semantics  Inconsistency
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0345-5
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References found in this work BETA

Saving Truth From Paradox.Hartry Field - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
Relativism and Monadic Truth.Herman Cappelen & John Hawthorne - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.

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How to Find an Attractive Solution to the Liar Paradox.Mark Pinder - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1661-1680.

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