Borg’s Minimalism and the Problem of Paradox

In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Semantics and Beyond: Philosophical and Linguistic Inquiries. De Gruyter. pp. 207-230 (2014)
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Abstract

According to Emma Borg, minimalism is (roughly) the view that natural language sentences have truth conditions, and that these truth conditions are fully determined by syntactic structure and lexical content. A principal motivation for her brand of minimalism is that it coheres well with the popular view that semantic competence is underpinned by the cognition of a minimal semantic theory. In this paper, I argue that the liar paradox presents a serious problem for this principal motivation. Two lines of response to the problem are discussed, and difficulties facing those responses are raised. I close by issuing a challenge: to construe the principal motivation for BM in such a way so as to avoid the problem of paradox.

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Mark Pinder
Open University (UK)

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