Ideas from 'Truth' by Michael Dummett [1959], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Truth and Other Enigmas' by Dummett,Michael [Duckworth 1978,0-7156-1650-1]].

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1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 4. Conceptual Analysis
To explain a concept, we need its purpose, not just its rules of usage
                        Full Idea: We cannot in general suppose that we give a proper account of a concept by describing those circumstance in which we do, and those in which we do not, make use of the relevant word. We explain the point of the concept, what we use the word for.
                        From: Michael Dummett (Truth [1959], p.231)
                        A reaction: Well said. I am beginning to develop a campaign to make sure that analytical philosophy focuses on understanding concepts (in a full 'logos' sort of way), and doesn't just settle for logical form or definition or rules of usage.
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 1. Truth
It is part of the concept of truth that we aim at making true statements
                        Full Idea: It is part of the concept of truth that we aim at making true statements.
                        From: Michael Dummett (Truth [1959], p.231)
                        A reaction: This strikes me as a rather contentious but very interesting claim. An even stronger claim might be that its value (its normative force) is ALL that the concept of truth contributes to speech, other aspects being analysed into something else.
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 2. Defining Truth
We must be able to specify truths in a precise language, like winning moves in a game
                        Full Idea: For a particular bounded language, if it is free of ambiguity and inconsistency, it must be possible to characterize the true sentences of the language; somewhat as, for a given game, we can say which moves are winning moves.
                        From: Michael Dummett (Truth [1959], p.237)
                        A reaction: The background of this sounds rather like Tarski, with truth just being a baton passed from one part of the language to another, though Dummett adds the very un-Tarskian notion that truth has a value.
3. Truth / F. Semantic Truth / 2. Semantic Truth
Tarski's truth is like rules for winning games, without saying what 'winning' means
                        Full Idea: Tarski's definition of truth is like giving a definition of what it is to win in various games, without giving a hint as to what winning is (e.g. that it is what one tries to do when playing).
                        From: report of Michael Dummett (Truth [1959]) by Donald Davidson - Truth and Predication 7
                        A reaction: This led Dummett to his 'normative' account of truth. Formally, the fact that speakers usually aim at truth seems irrelevant, but in life you certainly wouldn't have grasped truth if you thought falsehood was just as satisfactory. The world is involved.
18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 1. Abstract Thought
You can't infer a dog's abstract concepts from its behaviour
                        Full Idea: One could train a dog to bark only when a bell rang and a light shone without presupposing that it possessed the concept of conjunction.
                        From: Michael Dummett (Truth [1959], p.235)