The concept of truth and the semantics of the truth predicate

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (6):622-638 (2007)
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We sketch an account according to which the semantic concepts themselves are not pathological and the pathologies that attend the semantic predicates arise because of the intention to impose on them a role they cannot fulfill, that of expressing semantic concepts for a language that includes them. We provide a simplified model of the account and argue in its light that (i) a consequence is that our meaning intentions are unsuccessful, and such semantic predicates fail to express any concept, and that (ii) in light of this it is incorrect to characterize the pathology simply as semantic inconsistency; a more nuanced view of the problem is needed. We also show that the defects of the semantic predicates need not undercut the use of a truth theory in a compositional semantics for a language containing them because the meaning theory per se need not involve commitment to the axioms of the truth theory it exploits.

Author Profiles

Kirk Ludwig
Indiana University, Bloomington
Emil Badici
Texas A&M University - Kingsville


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