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Truth in Virtue of MeaningA Defence of the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction$
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Gillian Russell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199232192

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199232192.001.0001

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(p.43) 2 Meaning
Truth in Virtue of Meaning

Gillian Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The traditional account of the analytic/synthetic distinction is based on a naive folk theory of language. This chapter explains how that folk theory supported a particular version of the analytic/synthetic distinction. It then provides alternatives to the folk picture and argues that we should distinguish four different kinds of meaning: character, content, reference determiner, and referent. This more fine-grained picture allows us to reconstruct analyticity as truth in virtue of reference determiner, which is more easily defended against the old arguments against analyticity. This move also solves the worry about equating analytic sentences with those that express necessary truths, and allows us to account for the status of the contingent analytic and the necessary a posteriori.

Keywords:   analytic/synthetic distinction, character, content, reference determiner, referent, language myth, analytic, truth, virtue of meaning, direct reference

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