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Volume 10, 1997

Cognitive Semantics I

Herman Cappelen, Ernie Lepore
Pages 4-18

Semantic Theory and Indirect Speech

Much work in the philosophy of language assumes that a semantic theory T, for a language L should assign p as the semantic content of an utterance u, by A, of a sentence S in L, if and only if “A said that p” is true. This assumption is mistaken. More generally, the aim of semantics cannot be to capture the extension of English expressions such as “meaning” or “what was said”. This provides support for Davidson’s paratactic theory of indirect speech and for the view that a semantic theory should take the form of a truth-theory.

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