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Quine versus DavidsonTruth, Reference, and Meaning$
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Gary Kemp

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695621.001.0001

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Truth, Deflationism, and the T-schema

Truth, Deflationism, and the T-schema

(p.87) 3 Truth, Deflationism, and the T-schema
Quine versus Davidson

Gary Kemp

Oxford University Press

Some theorists postulate that a Davidsonian theory of meaning is relatively unsubstantive, as it can make do with deflationism as regards truth. This chapter largely aims to discredit this idea. The deflationist theory of truth cannot fulfill certain central functions that are essential to Davidson’s semantics: it cannot cope with cross‐language uses of ‘true’; it cannot account for the truth of sentences involving indexicals; and it is, as Tarski essentially said, incapable of proving certain evidently true true‐involving sentences, which is in turn shown to obstruct the expressive adequacy of the truth‐predicate. Tarskian accounts of truth can also be considered deflationist and in a sense non‐transcendental, but ultimately the theory is insufficient for Davidson’s purposes. Davidson requires truth to be regarded as primitive, substantial and transcendental. This is in stark contrast with Quine’s less ambitious, ‘immanent’ view of truth. This reaches a head when we consider the standard liar paradox, which it appears Davidson cannot escape.

Keywords:   truth, deflationism, Tarski, indexicals, expressive adequacy, transcendental, Davidson, Quine, liar paradox

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