Putting the World Back into Semantics

Grazer Philosophische Studien 44 (1):91-109 (1993)
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To what in reality do the logically simple sentences with empirical content correspond? Two extreme positions can be distinguished in this regard: 'Great Fact' theories, such as are defended by Davidson; and trope-theories, which see such sentences being made the simply by those events or states to which the relevant main verbs correspond. A position midway between these two extremes is defended, one according to which sentences of the given sort are made tme by what are called 'dependence structures', or in other words by certain complex concrete portions of reality between the parts of which relations of dependence are defined. Principles governing such dependence-structures are laid down, principles of an ontologically motivated sort which serve as basis for a topological semantics conceived as an altemative to standard set-theoretic approaches to semantics of the Tarskian sort. These principles are then used to resolve certain puzzles generated by the (semantically motivated) theory of events put forward by Davidson
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