12 Reply to Foster

Donald Davidson

in Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246298
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191715181 | DOI:

Series: The Philosophical Essays of Donald Davidson (5 Volumes)

  12 Reply to Foster

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In reply to a critical paper by John Foster, Davidson recognizes that his truth theory's axioms (from which the truth conditions of each sentence in the object language can be deduced) must not be merely true but law‐like, i.e. viewed as empirical axioms. That is, to rule out that p in ‘S’ is true iff p’ is not replaced by a coextensive p (say, ‘p and q’ for any q alike in truth value to p), the left and right hand sides of the biconditional must be linked counter‐factually. Second, Davidson's characterizations (in Essays 9 and 10) of the relation of a truth theory to its supporting evidence does not rule out the case in which someone knows both (E) the evidence and (T) the propositions composing the theory, yet fails to realize that (E) entailed (T) and that (T) constituted a theory apt to facilitate radical interpretation. In reply, Davidson analyses the required intensional idioms (in particular ‘S knows that . . .’) to remedy these criticisms by recourse to the paratactic method envisaged in Essay 7.

Chapter.  3746 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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