Davidson approaches the notions of meaning and interpretation with the aim of characterizing semantic competence in the syntactically characterized natural language. The objective is to provide a truth-theory for a language, generating T-sentences expressed in the semantic metalanguage, so that each sentence of the object language receives an appropriate interpretation. Proceeding within the constraints of referential semantics, I will argue for the viability of reconstructing the notion of linguistic meaning within the Tarskian theory of reference. However, the view proposed here (...) involves a revision of Davidson’s con-ception of the object of semantic investigation. Taking (idealized) language-theories as the proper object of semantic characterization, provides solutions to outstanding problems in Davidson’s views, better approximates the practice in standard model-theoretic semantics, and incorporates the elements of semantic competence sought for in tradi¬tional theories of lexical analysis. Sources of evidence beyond those emphasized by Davidson will be invoked in order to allow for the selection of interpre¬tive T-sentences. In the final section, possible Quinean objections will be considered. (shrink)
This book collects some 75 texts from the history of American thought, starting with the colonial religious background, and arranged into 6 historically oriented chapers. Each chapter has a general introduction and ends with suggestions for further readings; and each of the texts is prefaced by a short explanatory paragraph. Overall, the book provides an historical introduction to central ethical themes of American thought.
In Memories and Portraits: Explorations in American Thought, H. G. Callaway embeds his distinctive contextualism and philosophical pluralism within strands of history and autobiography, spanning three continents. Starting in Philadelphia, and reflecting on the meaning of home in American thought, he offers a philosophically inspired narrative of travel and explorations, in Europe and Africa, illuminating central elements of American thought—partly out of diverse foreign and domestic reactions and fascinating cultural contrasts. -/- This book is of interest for the contemporary interplay (...) of analytic philosophy with American pragmatism and for those focused on the interaction of European and Anglo-American thought and society. In this book, the formalism of analytic philosophy encounters a logically articulate version of the contextualism implicit in the pragmatist tradition; and a deep and abiding interest in natural science is augmented by a more literary account of the social and cultural contexts of inquiry—encountered in many years of travel and life abroad. The final chapter, employing a methodological naturalism, brings the perspectives and lessons, from near and far, back home for renewed reflection. (shrink)
Meaning without Analyticity draws upon the author’s essays and articles, over a period of 20 years, focused on language, logic and meaning. The book explores the prospect of a non-behavioristic theory of cognitive meaning which rejects the analytic-synthetic distinction, Quinean behaviorism, and the logical and social-intellectual excesses of extreme holism. Cast in clear, perspicuous language and oriented to scientific discussions, this book takes up the challenges of philosophical communication and evaluation implicit in the recent revival of the pragmatist tradition—especially those (...) arising from its relation to prior American analytic thought. This volume continues the work of Callaway’s 1993 book, Context for Meaning and Analysis, building on the “turn toward pragmatism.” . (shrink)