What Dummett Says About Truth and Linguistic Competence
Kirkham (Richard L.)
Source: Mind, Vol. 98, No. 390 (Apr., 1989), pp. 207-224
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Michael Devitt notes that the only characteristic of Michael Dummett's philosophy on which the latter's critics and allies can agree is that 'it is difficult'. Indeed, I do not believe that Devitt himself has got Dummett's views on truth and meaning quite right.
  2. The interpretive literature about Dummett is nearly unanimous in holding that:
    1. Dummett should be categorized with Donald Davidson as a truth conditional semanticist; that is, as one who holds that the meaning of a sentence consists in its truth conditions.
    2. Dummett believes that competence in a language consists in propositional knowledge of the meaning of the language's expressions.
  3. It is the contention of this paper that both of these claims are mistaken. Once these misunderstandings have been cleared away, it will be apparent the many objections made to Dummett's view are misplaced.
  4. On the other hand, while the net effect of this clearing process is to expose a Dummettian philosophy which is more intrinsically plausible than the one both his friends and foes have previously credited to him, I shall, nevertheless, point out a serious residual complaint to which even the newly revealed Dummettian view is vulnerable.

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