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Abstract

This paper focuses on two contrasting approaches to the theory of linguistic meaning and asks how they color a range of issues of interest to scholars of religion. The so-called truth-conditional approach makes truth basic. It trades on the thought that we sometimes or perhaps often know what someone has said when we know what it would be for what she has said to be true. The other approach pegs meaning to how expressions and sentences are used in communicative situations. Dummett and Davidson are front and center. Davidson is of course in one sense a champion of truth-conditional semantics, but, over the issues I have in view, his case is instructively mixed. This discussion leads us toward an account of linguistic meaning which elevates over truth a family of concepts associated with use, including verification, justification, and pragmatic success.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion