This auspicious new volume is designed for linguists who are interested in the deeper issues of their science. Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy lays a solid foundation of linguistic philosophy presenting theories of leading linguistic analysts such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, and Quine. I. E. MackenzieÆs exploration into these theories equips readers for advanced work on most topics in semantics and the study of language. The structure of this book reflects the fact that the philosophical study of language is not systematic, but centers on aspects of language that are considered to be of fundamental conceptual significance. Therefore, this book need not be read in any specific order. Whenever a chapter presupposes an understanding of something that is explained elsewhere in the book, a specific cross-reference is given. MackenzieÆs approach to the philosophy of language stresses the importance of observing how language is used rather than the assuming that it conforms to a pre-existing logical structure. In addition to dealing with foundational issues, such as truth, meaning, and the nature of language, this book explores specific linguistic phenomenaùdescriptions, names, non-extesional contexts and quantificationùwhich have attracted considerable philosophical attention. Introduction to Linguistic Philosophy is a student-centered resource that is recommended for students in linguistics, communication, and philosophy.
Chapter 2: The Semantic Conception of Truth
The Semantic Conception of Truth
2.1. No Absolute Truth
The importance of truth to semantics and the study of language cannot be overestimated. The role of truth can be stated simply: Understanding the meaning of a declarative sentence consists in knowing when it (or the proposition it expresses) would be true and when false.
Now, we can ask ourselves what it is that makes a sentence true or false. One popular view is this:
(1) The truth of a sentence consists in its agreement with (or correspondence to) reality. (Tarski 1949:54)
Note that the above formulation, although cited by Tarski, does not necessarily reflect his own view, as we shall see.
There seem to be two quite distinct ways in which (1) can be understood. First, ...