Sense and Reference


in Theory and Meaning

Published in print December 1979 | ISBN: 9780198245858
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680908 | DOI:
Sense and Reference

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This chapter begins by examining Scheffler's suggestion that the problems associated with the theory dependence of meaning can be avoided by switching attention from the senses to the references of scientific terms. It shows that this switch is of no immediate help, and then considers arguments for equating the meaning of a sentence with the belief it expresses: this involves a lengthy analysis of the problem of interpreting a radically alien language, and of the possibility of conceptual variation across cultures. The chapter shows that there are good reasons for adopting a belief theory of meaning, but that these still leave the theory dependence of meaning and the attendant relativist difficulties untouched. It is argued that meaning involves a specification of truth conditions rather than verification conditions. But this too proves of no assistance with theory dependence and relativism.

Keywords: Scheffler; theory dependence; meaning; scientific terms; belief theory; relativism; truth conditions

Chapter.  16379 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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