Truth ascriptions, falsity ascriptions, and the paratactic analysis of indirect discourse

Savas L. Tsohatzidis

Abstract


The present paper considers certain obviously valid types of inferences involving indirect speech reports, and argues that their validity is incompatible with Davidson’s so-called “paratactic” analysis of the logical form of such reports (Davidson 1969). It further claims that this particular failure of the Davidsonian analysis has a special significance for Davidson’s overall project of using what he terms a “Tarski-style” truth theory as a theory of natural language meaning (Davidson 1967): that project assumes that grasp of the concepts of truth and falsity is essential to natural language interpretation, yet Davidson’s analysis cannot characterize as valid certain natural language inferences whose recognition as valid is arguably constitutive of one’s grasp of the concepts of truth and falsity.


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