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Davidson's truth conditions theory and scientific realism.

Taylor, Neil. (1985) Davidson's truth conditions theory and scientific realism. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

How does language refer to objective reality and relate to speakers? Davidson's truth-conditions theory provides a method of interpretation and, notwithstanding difficulties in relating artificial languages to natural languages, articulates the true structure of all of natural language whilst simultaneously furnishing a theory of logical form. But how does language refer to the world. Davidson's scientific realism abandons any assumed foundational basis in extra-linguistic reality; hence, reference to facts is otiose. Only via the truth-conditions structure of language can the true structure of reality be described. From within language, reality is reconstructed as extensional reference to simultaneously-postulated entities. Yet reference to Davidson's abstracta and the internal causal structure of such events is problematic. Nevertheless, in languages of normal expressive-power, we must refer- even if it proves possible to eliminate an unwanted ontology. Convention (t), however, allows scope for alternative theories discriminating reality. Reference to objective reality being a linguistic action, cognizance must be taken of background features of a speaker's psychological reality guiding and constraining such use. Any foundational basis is again rejected:Davidson's analysis of 'A believes that p' (etc.) abjures reference to Fregean propositions (or to sentences). Furthermore, extra-linguistic Gricean intentions are unacceptable. Only via true, structured, elements of language can the true, structured intensional and intentional elements be described. Thus,beliefs (etc. ) are analyzed within the extensional metalanguage. But Davidson's extensional reconstruction of postulated attitudes, and also reference to 'reasons' as causes, are contentious. Still, it is argued, we must refer to such independent 'reasons', despite shortcomings in Davidson's account. Hence, reference to objective reality and the background attitudes of speakers are all reconstructed within the truth-conditions structure of language as theoretical postulations. Reality is immanent within language, but,crucially, the disclosures of its structured network of interpretants must refer to the structured, true being of a reality beyond itself.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Taylor, Neil.
Date : 1985
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID
http://www.loc.gov/loc.terms/relators/THS
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1985.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 22 Jun 2018 14:26
Last Modified : 06 Nov 2018 16:53
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/848102

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