[hist-analytic] Response to Danny Frederick

Danny Frederick danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk
Tue Sep 1 14:25:20 EDT 2009


Hi Bruce,

 

I need to correct one thing I said last time. Here is what I said:

 

"Until Kripke's 'puzzle about belief' it was (I think generally) assumed
that synonyms could be swapped salva veritate in any context, including
opaque ones."

 

I should have excluded contexts of quotation!

 

One other point that might not be exactly wrong but might appear so is worth
expanding upon. Here is what I said:

 

'your conventional account is not just an account of logical truth but is
also an account of how we know logical truth. Your conventions are supposed
to explain not just why it is true that p, but also why any 'alert and
attentive speaker' will know that it is true that p; and 'know that' creates
an opaque context. You need inter-substitutivity of synonyms in opaque
contexts.'

 

It would have been better if I had talked of your account of analytic truth
rather than your account of logical truth, for the former clearly requires
the substitution of synonyms. But it is arguable that an account of logical
truth does too. For, from the logical truth of 'p v ~p' we can infer the
logical truth of 'It rains v ~it rains,' but we cannot infer the logical
truth of 'It rains v ~it snows.' Why not? Because where the letter is the
same we must substitute the same - what? Not the same sentence, since the
same sentence may be ambiguous and have a different interpretation in each
occurrence. It must be the same proposition. Can we talk of uniform
substitution without (at least implicitly) talking of the substitution of
synonyms? I don't know. This point comes from Strawson ('Propositions,
Concepts and Logical Truth,' in his 'Logico-Linguistic Papers'). It was
raised as an objection to Quine's objections to meanings. In at least one
place, Quine says that he does not have an answer to this objection. I have
been looking for the reference but cannot find it.

 

Cheers.

 

Danny

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