THE EXPRESSIVE ROLE OF TRUTH IN TRUTH-CONDITIONAL SEMANTICS

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Abstract

I define ‘skim semantics’ to be a Davidson-style truth-conditional semantics combined with a variety of deflationism about truth. The expressive role of truth in truth-conditional semantics precludes at least some kinds of skim semantics; thus I reject the idea that the challenge to skim semantics derives solely from Davidson's explanatory ambitions, and in particular from the ‘truth doctrine’, the view that the concept of truth plays a central explanatory role in Davidsonian theories of meaning for a language. The fate of skim semantics is not determined by the fate of the truth doctrine, so rejecting the truth doctrine does not in itself open the way to skim semantics. I establish my thesis by showing that some recently proposed versions of skim semantics fail because of truth's expressive role. I also discuss the conditions that might permit skim semantics.

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