This paper assesses the prospects of a pragmatist theory of content. I begin by criticising the theory presented in D.H. Mellor’s essay ‘Successful Semantics’. I then identify problems and lacunae in the pragmatist theory of meaning sketched in Chapter 13 of Dummett’s The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. The prospects are brighter, I contend, for a tempered pragmatism, in which the theory of content is permitted to draw upon irreducible notions of truth and falsity. I sketch the shape of such a theory and illustrate the role of its pragmatist elements by showing how they point towards a promising account of the truth conditions of indicative conditionals. A feature of the account is that it validates Modus Ponens whilst invalidating Modus Tollens.
|Title of host publication||The Practical Turn|
|Subtitle of host publication||Pragmatism in Britain in the Long Twentieth Century (Proceedings of the British Academy)|
|Editors||Cheryl Misak, Huw Price|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2017|