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Talking About NothingNumbers, Hallucinations and Fictions$
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Jody Azzouni

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738946

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738946.001.0001

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Truth Conditions and Semantics

Truth Conditions and Semantics

(p.218) 5 Truth Conditions and Semantics
Talking About Nothing

Jody Azzouni (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The aim of this chapter is to show that allowing languages to have ontologically neutral idioms, both quantificational and singular, poses no problems for semantic theories of such languages. The ontologically neutral idioms in the object language are just replicated (in their resources) in the metalanguage that provides the semantic theory for that object language. A traditional truth-conditional theory of a language is given that illustrates the point. That the same point holds for singular idioms is illustrated by describing various semantic approaches to demonstratives. There is a view, propounded by Lewis, Higginbotham, Ludlow, and others, that disquotation is crucial to semantic theories because such provide the needed language/world connections. This claim is shown to be wrong: even with disquotation, such language-world connections can be absent; and it’s also shown that semantic theories that aren’t disquotational can nevertheless provide language-world connections if such are wanted.

Keywords:   disquotation, Tarski-style definitions of truth, demonstratives, truth conditions, truth-value inducers, use/mention

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