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Semantic PerceptionHow the Illusion of a Common Language Arises and Persists$
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Jody Azzouni

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199967407

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199967407.001.0001

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Truth Content

Truth Content

(p.206) 6 Truth Content
Semantic Perception

Jody Azzouni

Oxford University Press

The phenomenological notion of a truth content is explored. This is an aspect of what is said and/or what is implicated, but should not be identified with either of these. The issue of the relationship of truth contents to contexts is raised. Our verbal practices presume that truth contents can be expressed in different contexts, regardless of the resources those contexts supply to speakers. Whether this is actually true or not is not established in this chapter. Instead, what is shown are the reasons for why speakers are intuitively convinced of this. A major factor is that speakers recognize themselves as able to communicate a truth content without that content being necessarily expressed by the entire sentence used to communicate it. This ability is what is behind the intuitive obviousness of Donnellan’s referential/attributive distinction. The chapter then turns to the speaker-hearer’s impression of compositionality—which is shown to be meagre.

Keywords:   donnellan’s referential/attributive distinction, truth-conditional content, truth-distributional content, truth-contents, phenomenological compartmentalization, compositionality, reference, concepts, bivalence, broad ignorance claim

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