I'm quoting a snippet of Strawson paper on truth.

[Austin] says that, when we declare a statement to be true, the relation between the statement and the world which our declaration "asserts to obtain" is "a purely conventional relation" and "one which we could alter at will." This remark reveals the fundamental confusion of which Mr. Austin is guilty between:

(a)    the semantic conditions which must be satisfied for the statement that a certain statement is true to be itself true; and

(b)    what is asserted when a certain statement is stated to be true.

Suppose A makes a statement, and B declares A's statement to be true. Then for B's statement to be true, it is, of course, necessary that the words used by A in making the statement should stand in a certain conventional (semantical) relationship with the world; and that the "linguistic rules" underlying this relationship should be rules "observed" by both A and B. […]

It is no more and no less absurd to suggest that B, in making his statement, asserts that these semantic conditions are fulfilled than it is to suggest that A, in making his statement, asserts that these semantic conditions are fulfilled.

If Mr. Austin is right in suggesting that to say that a statement is true is to say that "the historic state of affairs to which it is correlated by the demonstrative conventions (the one it 'refers to') is of a type with which the sentence used in making the statement is correlated by the descriptive conventions," then in declaring a statement to be true, we are either:

(a)    talking about the meanings of the words used by the speaker whose making of the statement is the occasion for our use of "true" (i.e., profiting by the occasion to give semantic rules); or

(b)    saying that the speaker has used correctly the words he did use.

It is patently false that we are doing either of these things. Certainly, we use the word "true" when the semantic conditions described by Austin are fulfilled; but we do not, in using the word, state that they are fulfilled.

[P. F. Strawson, 1950b, “Truth”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society]

Can someone explain better the bolded part? Also regarding the other criticism to Austin thesis (that it applies only to indexical statements) is there some useful defence?

  • Do you have a reference for the quoted text? Do you have some idea already what you think the text in bold means to provide further context? – Frank Hubeny Jul 20 '18 at 13:12

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