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The Practical TurnPragmatism in Britain in the Long Twentieth Century$
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Cheryl Misak and Huw Price

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266168

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266168.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Tempered Pragmatism

Tempered Pragmatism

(p.91) 7 Tempered Pragmatism1
The Practical Turn

Ian Rumfitt

British Academy

This chapter assesses the prospects of a pragmatist theory of content. It begins by criticizing the theory presented in D. H. Mellor’s essay ‘Successful Semantics’, then identifies problems and lacunae in the pragmatist theory of meaning sketched in chapter 13 of Dummett’s The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. It contends that the prospects are brighter for a tempered pragmatism, in which the theory of content is permitted to draw upon irreducible notions of truth and falsity. It sketches the shape of such a theory and illustrates the role of its pragmatist elements by showing how they point towards a promising account of the truth conditions of indicative conditionals. A feature of the account is that it validates Modus Ponens whilst invalidating Modus Tollens.

Keywords:   Pragmatism, truth, content of a statement, indicative conditionals, F. P. Ramsey, Michael Dummett, D. H. Mellor, Robert Stalnaker, Seth Yalcin

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