Lepore and Ludwig on ‘explicit meaning theories’


The fundamental problem proponents of truth conditional semantics must face is to specify what role a truth theory is supposed to play within a meaning theory. The most detailed proposal for tackling this problem is the account developed by Ernest Lepore and Kirk Ludwig. However, as I will show in this paper, theories along the lines of Lepore and Ludwig do not suffice to put someone into the position to understand the objectlanguage. The fundamental problem of truth conditional semantics thus remains unsolved.

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  1. 1.

    Lepore & Ludwig (2005), (2006), (2007), (2011), Ludwig (2002).

  2. 2.

    At least within the context of Davidsonian semantics, this conception is clearly central; cp. Davidson (1973, p. 125; 1976, p. 171; 1977, p. 215; 1990, p. 312).

  3. 3.

    This corresponds to Davidson’s use of ‘knowing a theory’; cp. Davidson (1976, p. 175).

  4. 4.

    Cp. Larson and Segal (1995, 40 FN), Kölbel (2001; 2002, p. 77), Ludwig (2002, p. 159).

  5. 5.

    Larson and Segal (1995, p. 34).

  6. 6.

    E.g. Foster (1976), Soames (1992, 2008), Ludwig (2002).

  7. 7.

    E.g. Davidson (1990, p. 312), Heim and Kratzer (1998, p. 1).

  8. 8.

    Davidson (1976, p. 174f.).

  9. 9.

    See e.g. Soames (2008).

  10. 10.

    Higginbotham (1992).

  11. 11.

    Again, see Soames (2008).

  12. 12.

    In various places, L&L present versions of their proposal that differ somewhat from each other. I will concentrate on their 2007 monograph, which includes the most comprehensive presentation of their approach; see e.g. Lepore and Ludwig (2007, p. 90).


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For discussion and helpful comments I would like to thank Lars Dänzer, Nick Haverkamp, Kirk Ludwig, Benjamin Schnieder, Moritz Schulz, Alex Steinberg, and an anonymous referee.

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Correspondence to Miguel Hoeltje.

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Hoeltje, M. Lepore and Ludwig on ‘explicit meaning theories’. Philos Stud 165, 831–839 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-012-9977-5

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  • Donald Davidson
  • Truth-theoretic semantics
  • Meaning
  • Meaning theories
  • Ernest Lepore
  • Kirk Ludwig