Paul Horwich

in Meaning

Published in print December 1998 | ISBN: 9780198238249
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597725 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


The reference or extension of a term—what that term is about—is determined by the concept it expresses: e.g. x means DOG → x is true of dogs. However, the minimalist/deflationary theory of truth (the theory that designates such conditionals as conceptually fundamental) shows that reference‐determination will take place regardless of how meaning properties are constituted. It is argued that only from an unreasonable ‘inflationary’ point of view (in which truth, satisfaction, and reference are not defined by such conditionals, but are instead assumed to be susceptible of reductive analysis) can there be a question (the ’problem of error’) about how to reconcile the basic nature of meaning (e.g. the analysis of ’x means DOG’) with its referential import (e.g. its capacity to ensure that x is true of dogs).

Keywords: about; deflationary; extension; minimalism; problem of error; reference; satisfaction; truth

Chapter.  4302 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.