chapter  4
38 Pages

Meaning, Content, and Matters of Fact

ByAndrew Joseph Cortens

This chapter discusses anti-realism about linguistic meaning, psychological content and related phenomena. It focuses on the issue of whether content anti-realism is coherent apart from its allegedly global ramifications. The thought that content anti-realism is inherently self-defeating is a very natural one. If, as many suspect, anti-realism about content is self-refuting, apart from its allegedly global consequences, then, trivially, it is incoherent when combined with realism about other matters. Many share Boghossian's view that the answer is, "As secure as any position could possibly be, since anti-realism about content is inherently self-defeating". But arguments which purport to expose an internal contradiction in content anti-realism need to be handled delicately. Robert Kraut is apparently willing to concede to Boghossian that 'true' and 'false' should be reserved for discourse which is deemed to be truth-conditional or fact-stating.