[hist-analytic] Deflationary Truth and Syncategoremata

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Fri Dec 10 14:33:10 EST 2010

Recall Quine's example of syncategoremata: 

'poor violinist' 

Where 'poor' does not modify 'violinist', i.e. in the sense that the violinist may be wealthy. We 

may suppose 'poor violinist' is predicated of 'Jack'. 

Now consider 

'true sentence' 

where 'true' does not modify 'sentence', and where we suppose the true sentence is 'p' (cf. 


So we have it that we might assert ambiguously, either: 

'The violinist is poor' 

'The sentence is true' 

A deflationary theory of truth is consistent with the syncategorematic reading of 'true' in 

'true sentence'. We may assert 

'p is true 

and no more commit ourselves to property attribution that we do when predicating 'poor' of 

the 'violinist' when we say, 

The violinist is poor. 


STeve Bayne 
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