more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 6281

[catalogued under 19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 4. Meaning as Truth-Conditions]

Full Idea

You can't treat understanding a sentence as knowing its truth conditions, because it then becomes unintelligible what that knowledge in turn consists in.

Gist of Idea

Truth conditions can't explain understanding a sentence, because that in turn needs explanation


Hilary Putnam (Meaning and the Moral Sciences [1978], Pt Four)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Meaning and the Moral Sciences' [RKP 1981], p.129

A Reaction

The implication, I take it, is circularity; how can you specify truth conditions if you don't understand sentences? Putnam here agrees with Dummett that verification must be involved. Something has to be taken as axiomatic in all this.