Subjectivity and Perspective in Truth-Theoretic Semantics
26 Jan 2017
Oxford University Press
This book explores linguistic and philosophical issues presented by sentences expressing personal taste, such as Roller coasters are fun, or Licorice is tasty. Standard semantic theories explain the meanings of sentences by specifying the conditions under which they are true; here, Peter Lasersohn asks how we can account for sentences that are concerned with matters of opinion rather than matters of fact. He argues that a truth-theoretic semantic
theory is appropriate even for sentences like these, but that for such sentences, truth and falsity must be assigned relative to perspectives, rather than absolutely. The book provides a detailed and explicit formal
grammar, working out the implications of this conception of truth both for simple sentences and for reports of mental attitude. The semantic analysis is paired with a pragmatic theory explaining what it means to assert a sentence which is true or false only relativistically, and with a speculative account of the functional motivation for a relativized notion of truth.