Conceptual Relevance by Joseph Grünfeld

By Joseph Grünfeld

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The claim that proper names are used. to state directly referential propositions means that it makes no difference how the speaker and his audience thi11k about the referent of a name. Members of the audience have understood the speaker just as long as they come to think of the correct object of the referent and understand what the speaker is saying about the object. The traditional view was that, for communication to be successful, the sent and received propositions must be the same. The denotation theory can be regarded as relaxing this requirement by pointing out that successful communication occurs just as long as the sent and received propositions are about the same object and attribute the same thing to its.

Dummett finds it incredible that meaning should outrun linguistic dispositions and so prefers to relinquish realism, thereby restoring the exhaustive manifestability of sense. Both Quine and Dummett are motivated by the underlying assumption that the capacity to use a language must be represented fundamentally as the possesion of a complex of dispositions to verify and falsify sentences. Both take it for granted that knowing a language is an information processing capacity. But they ignore the fact that such a model is largely metaphorical.

On Tarski's view, we need translate adeqllately the object language into the metalanguage theory of truth. This means that the notion of an adequate translation is employed in the methodology of giving truth theories but it is not employed to the truth theories themselves 2 • Field concludes that empiricism has been empirically refuted; its heir is physicalism, which allows as basic not only facts about mechanics, but facts about the other branches of physics as well. The disagreement is between those who would look for a nonsemantic basis for terms in the theory of meaning and those who would follow Quine in simply throwing out those terms.

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