Lycan's theory of linguistic meaning rests on truth conditions. All other
aspects of semantics (verification conditions, use in language games,
illocutionary force, etc) are derived from that notion. A sentence is meaningful
in virtue of being true under certain conditions and not others.
This is consistent with Davidson's program of assigning meanings to sentences of natural languages by associating the sentences with truth-theoretically interpreted formulas of a logical system (their "logical form"). Lycan basically refines Davidson's metatheory. Instead of assigning only a pair of arguments to the truth predicate, Lycan defines truth as a pentadic relation with reading (the logical form), context (truth is relative to a context of time and speaker, as specified by some assignment functions), degree (languages are inherently vague, and sentences normally contain fuzzy terms and hedges), and idiolect (the truth of a sentence is relative to the language of which it is a grammatical string).
Lycan argues that pragmatics (implicatures, presuppositions) should be kept separate from semantics. Context determines the interpretation of a sentence at several levels: it singles a logical form out of a set of potential candidates; it completes its proposition by binding all free variables; it provides a secondary meaning (e.g., implicatures); it clarifies lexical presumptions; and it determines the illocutionary force.
Lycan defends truth-condition semantics against the most common attacks, in particular against Quine's theory of indeterminacy and Dummett's antirealism.
Lycan finally presents a cognitive architecture based on a version of humuncular functionalism.
TM, ®, Copyright © 2014 Piero Scaruffi