Entries by admin

An Obvious Theory of Truth

Truisms are welcome in the theory of truth. Here is one: the sentence “London is rainy” if true if and only if the entity referred to by “London” has the property expressed by “rainy”. Generalizing, a sentence (or proposition) is true just in case the reference of the subject expression instantiates the property expressed by […]

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Quantifier Concepts

Would it be quixotic to suppose that quantifiers hold the secret to human success?[1] Could the student of quantification theory be studying the ultimate differentia that separates humans from the rest of nature? That would be a delightful result for the logically minded; and I think there is actually a good deal to be said […]

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The Concept of Meaning

The concept of meaning is recalcitrant to analysis, elucidation, or theory. There is almost no consensus about what constitutes meaning. We possess the concept, but we don’t know what to say about it—it is opaque to us. Thus we are treated to a wide variety of opposed suggestions: mental images, dispositions to behavior, truth conditions, […]

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Skepticism and Possible Worlds

Picture all the possible worlds laid out in logical space in the style of David Lewis.[1] They all objectively exist just like the actual world—real and concrete entities. There are people in some of them who know about the world they inhabit, as we take ourselves to know about the actual world. Now consider skepticism: […]

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Reparations

The demand for reparations for the evils of slavery is often met with the argument that present-day white people are not morally responsible for the sufferings of black people under slavery. That is true, so far as it goes—no one now living is an agent of past injustices committed before they were born. That would […]

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Falsehood and Meaning

In a famous paper entitled “Truth and Meaning” Donald Davidson argues that meaning is constituted by truth conditions. A recursive theory of truth for a language in the style of Tarski is thus a theory of meaning for that language. Understanding a sentence consists in grasping its truth conditions. The meaning of a word is […]

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Logical Positivism

“Logical Positivism”   That’s an odd label for the view it purports to describe. The most conspicuous feature of the doctrine in question is its negative attitude toward traditional metaphysics: it is a form of philosophical “negativism” i.e. metaphysics is meaningless and should be abandoned. And what is with the adjective “logical” here? Doesn’t every philosophical doctrine […]

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