Referential consistency as a a criterion of meaning

Synthese 52 (2):267 - 282 (1982)
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This paper describes a logically compelling criterion of meaning — that is, a necessary condition of meaning, one which is non-arbitrary and compelling. One cannot _not_ accept the proposed criterion without self-referential inconsistency. This “metalogical” variety of self-referential inconsistency is new, opening a third category beyond semantical and pragmatical forms of self-referential inconsistency. It is argued that such a criterion of meaning can serve as an instrument of internal criticism for any theoretical framework that permits reference to a class of objects. The paper combines the concern of the logical empiricists to formulate a rigorous meaning criterion, with the analytical interest in identifying and eliminating self-defeating statements through an analysis of the referential structure of theories. The paper is followed by a list of other publications by the author that further develop and extend the ideas presented here. Note to the Reader: After a long period of time devoted to research in other areas, the author has returned to the subject of this paper in a book-length study, Horizons of Possibility and Meaning: The Metalogic of Reference, currently in progress. In this forthcoming book (Chapter 11, “The Metalogic of Meaning”), the position developed in the 1982 paper that follows is substantively revised and several important corrections made. – May, 2018
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Epistemological Intelligence.Bartlett, Steven James
Philosophy as Ideology.Bartlett, Steven James

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