2

These two common claims are equally appealing:

(1) the meaning of a ( declarative) sentence consists in its truth conditions

(2) the truth of a sentence depends on its meaning

But are we moving in a circle here?

The first sentence suggests that truth is prior to meaning.

The second suggests that meaning is prior to truth ( a sentence first needs to have meaning in order to be true, and more broadly, to have a truth value).

What are your comments on this question? Am I wrong in suspecting some sort of circularity here?

Could any reference be indicated as to this ( possible) circularity problem?

  • 1
    This is indeed circular. It's as circular as dictionaries (words are defined by mean of other words). But you can break that circularity by other interpretations of what meaning is. For a dictionary it would be through "ostensive definition". For Logic you can interpret the meaning of logical rules as their use (Wittenstein) for instance. In the same way, you can understand the deep mechanisms of Logic by mathematically analyzing (Curry-Howard, Linear Logic) how it behaves (how it is used). I think Wittgenstein (or Dummett for more modern texts) often mentionned that circularity. – Boris E. May 25 at 21:24

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