Truth Conditions without Interpretation
Collins (John)
Source: Sorites 13, October 2001: 52-71
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    Davidson has given us two theses: (i) Tarski’s format for truth definitions provides a format for theories of meaning and (ii) that the justification for a theory of language L as one of meaning is based upon the theory affording an informative interpretation of L-speakers. It will be argued, on the basis of a consideration of compositionality, that the Tarski format can indeed be re-jigged in line with (i). On the other hand, in opposition to (ii), I shall commend a cognitive understanding of semantic competence under which interpretation is at best of marginal interest. In defence of this move, it will be argued that once compositionality and other commonly held constraints are recognised as being in fact empirical ones, then no principled distinction can be made between them and other constraints which militate against semantic competence being socially constituted.


Filed electronically with the full edition of Sorites 13

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