The pathology of validity

Synthese 160 (1):63-74 (2008)
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Stephen Read has presented an argument for the inconsistency of the concept of validity. We extend Read’s results and show that this inconsistency is but one half of a larger problem. Like the concept of truth, validity is infected with what we call semantic pathology, a condition that actually gives rise to two symptoms: inconsistency and indeterminacy. After sketching the basic ideas behind semantic pathology and explaining how it manifests both symptoms in the concept of truth, we present cases that establish the indeterminacy of validity and that link this indeterminacy with the concept’s inconsistency. Our conclusion is that an adequate treatment of the semantic pathology thus revealed must deal with both of its symptoms. Further, it must extend to the occurrences of this condition elsewhere: in the concept of truth, in the other central semantic notions, and even in certain philosophical concepts outside semantics.



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Author Profiles

Bradley Armour-Garb
State University of New York, Albany
James Woodbridge
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Citations of this work

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References found in this work

Outline of a theory of truth.Saul Kripke - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (19):690-716.
The logic of paradox.Graham Priest - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):219 - 241.
Paradoxes of grounding in semantics.Hans G. Herzberger - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (6):145-167.
Inheritors and paradox.Dorothy Grover - 1977 - Journal of Philosophy 74 (10):590-604.

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