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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 6, 2007

Epistemology

Xinli Wang
Pages 119-124

Conceptual Schemes and Presuppositional Languages

The current discussions of conceptual schemes and related topics are misguided; for they are based on a tacit assumption that the difference between two schemes consists in the different distributions in truth-values. I argue that what should concern us, in the discussions of conceptual schemes and related issues, is not truth-values of assertions, but rather the truth-value-status of the sentences used to make the assertions. This is because the genuine conceptual innovation between alternative theories or languages does not lie in differences in determining truth-values of their sentences, but turns on whether these sentences have truth-values when considered within the context of a competing one. This new interpretation of the notion of conceptual schemes, which I refer to as presuppositional languages, is not only good in itself—for establishing the intelligibility and tenability of the notion—but quite beneficial in its effect on other related issues.

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