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The Seas of Language$
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Michael Dummett

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198236214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198236212.001.0001

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What Is a Theory of Meaning? (I)

What Is a Theory of Meaning? (I)

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 What Is a Theory of Meaning? (I)
Source:
The Seas of Language
Author(s):

Michael Dummett (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198236212.003.0001

The theory of meaning may either attempt to explain what it is to have the concepts expressible in a particular language (full‐blooded theory), or merely to associate concepts with words in that particular language (modest theory). A theory of meaning suggested by Davidson, according to which knowing the meaning of a sentence consists in the ability to produce a T‐schema for that sentence, is a modest theory. But such a theory will be either a translation manual (in which case it does not explain the knowledge of language), or will have to be construed holistically (in which case a systematic account of the mastery of language is impossible).

Keywords:   Davidsonholism, meaning, Tarski, theory of meaning, truth

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