more from Robert C. Stalnaker

Single Idea 16401

[catalogued under 19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 6. Truth-Conditions Semantics]

Full Idea

To understand what is said in an utterance of 'The first dog born at sea was a basset hound', one needs to know what the world would have been like in order for what was said in that utterance to be true.

Gist of Idea

To understand an utterance, you must understand what the world would be like if it is true


Robert C. Stalnaker (Reference and Necessity [1997], 3)

Book Reference

Stalnaker,Robert C.: 'Ways a World Might Be' [OUP 2003], p.172

A Reaction

Put like that, the idea is undeniable. Understanding involves truth conditions. Does mean involve the understanding of the meaning. What do you understand when you understand a sentence? Just facts about dogs? Or something in the sentence?