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Belief and the Basis of Meaning

Donald Davidson
Synthese
Vol. 27, No. 3/4, Intentionality, Language, and Translation (Jul. - Aug., 1974), pp. 309-323
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20114926
Page Count: 15
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Belief and the Basis of Meaning
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Abstract

A theory of radical interpretation gives the meanings of all sentences of a language, and can be verified by evidence available to someone who does not understand the language. Such evidence cannot include detailed information concerning the beliefs and intentions of speakers, and therefore the theory must simultaneously interpret the utterances of speakers and specify (some of) his beliefs. Analogies and connections with decision theory suggest the kind of theory that will serve for radical interpretation, and how permissible evidence can support it.

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