Against Truth-Theoretic Semantics

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2010
End date: 31/12/2011
Funding: 1202000 SEK


The project is to result in a number of papers arguing against truth-theoretic semantics (TT) and will be conducted at Stockholms universitet, where Peter Pagin´s familiarity with the subject will be of great value. Although TT is by far the most popular approach to meaning and dominates the work in semantics in both philosophy, linguistics, and Cog-Sci, there is remarkably little by way of direct charges against it. The projected papers therefore have good chances of becoming significant and attracting attention. I list five issues/arguments, to be commented upon below, among which I will select appropriate subject matters for the papers. 1. An argument that there is no empirical support for TT coming from specific semantic hypotheses phrased in TT-terms, for these hypotheses can be expressed in non-TT terms (e.g., functionalistically) yet make the same predictions. 2. An argument that since propositions are the primary truth-bearers, the notion of truth-conditions cannot explain meaning. 3. Even if sentences are primary truth-bearers, the conclusion of (2) can be drawn. 4. Trivialisation of truth-theoretic analyses: specific analyses as well as the general account of general terms, singular terms, connectives, etc. 5. The triviality of compositionality (Horwich) 6. The question of whether translational t-sentences are required, given that this dooms most semantic analyses within the paradigm (Soames).

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:58