Chapter

Realism in Semantics

Ilkka Niiniluoto

in Critical Scientific Realism

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251612
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598098 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199251614.003.0003
 Realism in Semantics

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Semantical realism claims that truth is a semantical relation between language and reality. The view that representation is one of the functions of language can be combined with the thesis that languages as systems of symbolic signs (in the sense of Peirce's semiotics) are human‐made social conventions. This chapter defends, against Quine, the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. Tarski's model‐theoretic approach is argued to be the best explication of the correspondence theory of factual truth. By combining the notions of truth and similarity, a comparative and quantitative concept of truthlikeness is defined for a large variety of statements.

Keywords: analytic statement; correspondence theory of truth; language; model theory; Peirce; Quine; representation; semantical realism; semiotics; similarity; Tarski; truth; truthlikeness

Chapter.  14624 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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