Naming, Saying, and Structure

Noûs 51 (3):594-616 (2017)
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Abstract

It is commonplace for philosophers to distinguish mere truths from truths that perspicuously represent the world's structure. According to a popular view, the perspicuous truths are supposed to be metaphysically revelatory and to play an important role in the accounts of law-hood, confirmation, and linguistic interpretation. Yet, there is no consensus about how to characterize this distinction. I examine strategies developed by Lewis and by Sider in his Writing the Book of the World which purport to explain this distinction in terms of vocabulary: the truths that represent the world perspicuously have better, joint-carving vocabulary. I argue that the distinction between a perspicuous and mere truth concerns both the vocabulary of the sentence and its grammar. I then show that the collective motivations for distinguishing perspicuous from mere truths do not allow Lewis and Sider to properly impose constraints on grammar

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Bryan Pickel
University of Glasgow

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