Contexts: Meaning, Truth, and the Use of Language
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Contexts: Meaning, Truth, and the Use of Language

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Stefano Predelli comes to the defense of the traditional "formal" approach to natural-language semantics, arguing that it has been misrepresented not only by its critics, but also by its foremost defenders. In Contexts he offers a fundamental reappraisal, with particular attention to the treatment of indexicality and other forms of contextual dependence which have been the focus of much recent controversy. Predelli shows how his metasemantic approach deals with a variety of important semantic and philosophical puzzles. He analyzes the relationship between indexicality and logical validity, discussing well-known problem cases, and demonstrating the limits of token-reflexive systems. He investigates the relationships between truth-conditions and assignments of truth-values at particular points of evaluation, and shows that so-called contextualist worries do not undermine the traditional semantic approach. Finally, he shows that semantic befuddlement about the interpretation of attitude reports is based on an inadequate understanding of the scope of natural language semantics. Contexts will be of great interest to all philosophers of language, and to many linguists.

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