Syntax, truth, and the fate of sentences

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Truth appears to be a predicate of sentence-like structures. This raises the question of what a sentence is (or what it is to be sentence-like) such that it is truth-apt. A natural move is to treat sentences and truth-aptness as somehow conceptually or metaphysical coeval—made for each other. This resolution conflicts, however, with now standard approaches in syntactic theory that treat sentences as mere epiphenomena. Siding with the developments in syntax, the paper argues that truth-aptness properly belongs, not to sentences, but to clauses as structures that can be selected by verbs that specify truth-apt states. It is further argued that this arrangement is perfectly consistent with truth-conditional semantics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125–144
Number of pages20
JournalThe Philosophical Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • semantics
  • sentences
  • syntax
  • truth

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