Truth or Meaning? A Question of Priority

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There is an incompatibility between the deflationist approach to truth, which makes truth transparent on the basis of an antecedent grasp of meaning, and the traditional endeavour, exemplified by Davidson, to explicate meaning through of truth. I suggest that both parties are in the explanatory red: deflationist lack a non-truth-involving theory of meaning and Davidsonians lack a non-deflationary account of truth. My focus is on the attempts of the latter party to resolve their problem. I look in detail at Davidson's more recent work and suggest that it seeks to articulate a primitive notion of truth that may balance between a notion that collapses into deflationism and one that is wholly subsumed under a general theory of interpretation. I conclude that this tightrope walk is ultimately unsuccessful. Equally, however, some reasons are provided for thinking that deflationism might be equally unsuccessful with its problem. ‘Truth or meaning?’remains an open question.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-536
Number of pages40
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume65 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002

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