Truth and Gradability
This is a paper on the semantics of the English truth predicate. I argue that 'is true' is a gradable adjective and is thus more semantically complex than theories of the truth predicate such as deflationism and contextualism allow. This has consequences for the metaphysics of truth -- namely, it shows that truth is a substantive property -- and for matters of assertion and logical consequence. After giving the semantics for 'is true', I draw out these consequences.
This is a follow-up to my paper "Deflating the Determination Argument." There I briefly sketched a way for deflationists to make sense of truth-conditions, claiming this would enable a deflationary conception of truth-conditional semantics. In this paper, I fill in more of the details. I show how deflationists can use a modal T-Schema to characterize truth-conditions for interpreted sentences and how common semantic explanations at the sentential and subsentential level can be specified purely set-theoretically. My conclusion: since truth plays a merely dispensable role in truth-conditional semantics, deflationism about truth and truth-conditional semantics are compatible.
Truth-makers, Truth-conditions and Theories of Meaning
Truth-conditions play some important role in many theories of meaning. But what are truth-conditions, and what role do they play? I argue that truth-conditions have been argued to play two distinct roles: one in foundational semantics and one in descriptive semantics. It would be surprising if the same sorts of things -- the same sorts of truth-conditions -- played both of these roles. I argue that we need two notions of a truth-conditions, one to play each role. Further, deflationists have the resources to make sense of both of these roles. For the foundational semantic role, they can appeal to a robust notion of truth-makers to show how truth-conditions, understood as parts of the world, play the meaning-giving role . For the descriptive semantic role, they can appeal to a modal T-Schema to characterize truth-conditions, understood as sets of worlds, for interpreted sentences, using these to restate common semantic explanations.