Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Preface

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pp. vii-ix

How to Read This Book

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p. xi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

“Aboutness” is a grand-sounding name for something basically familiar. Books are on topics; portraits are of people; the 1812 Overture concerns the Battle of Borodino. Aboutness is the relation that meaningful items bear to whatever it is that they are on or of or that they address or...

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1. I Wasn’t Talking about That

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pp. 7-22

Carl Hempel, in whose honor these lectures are given, once wrote of some other lectures, given by Rudolf Carnap at Harvard in the 1930s. Carnap is supposed to have introduced his topic as follows:
Let A be some physical body, such as a stone, or...

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2. Varieties of Aboutness

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pp. 23-44

A few philosophers have tried to think systematically about subject matter, starting with Gilbert Ryle in his 1933 Analysis paper “About” (Ryle 1933). Nelson Goodman tries to improve on Ryle in a 1961 paper of the same name (Goodman 1961).1 The best and most thorough account to date is...

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3. Inclusion in Metaphysics and Semantics

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pp. 45-53

At this point we know quite a lot. We know for each indicative mood sentence S how to obtain its subject matter—the one it is exactly about. We know what it takes for one subject matter to include another. The larger subject matter has to refine the smaller one.We know, then, what it means...

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4. A Semantic Conception of Truthmaking

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pp. 54-76

I have been speaking of ways of being true, and sometimes of reasons for truth. The usual term, which I’ll use too, is truthmakers. I will not be trying to tell you “what truthmakers are,” because we can afford to be flexible; it is only their behavior that matters...

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5. The Truth and Something But the Truth

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pp. 77-94

Now that we know, more or less, what partial truth is, the question becomes why bother with it? Why make false statements with true bits in them, rather than asserting just the true bits? William James suggests a reason in his debate with Clifford...

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6. Confirmation and Verisimilitude

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pp. 95-111

Inquiry aims at the truth. What is it for one belief state to be closer to the truth than another? There are two dimensions to this. One relates to the kind of attitude we adopt. If A is true, our attitude toward it should be as close as possible to full belief. The other is to do with the attitude’s...

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7. Knowing That and Knowing About

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pp. 112-130

If one statement or claim implies another, and the first is clearly true, then one would expect the second to be clearly true, too. Controversy should not erupt between the premises and the conclusion of a valid one-premise argument. And yet sometimes the weaker statement does...

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8. Extrapolation and Its Limits

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pp. 131-141

Once again, it would be nice if I could explain the topic with examples, but we will have to make do with anecdotes. The first concerns a conversation Einstein is supposed to have had with some puzzled citizen.
Citizen: How does the telegraph system work? I don’t...

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9. Going On in the Same Way

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pp. 142-164

Who is right about remainders, the mysterian or the logical engineer? The extrapolation model allows a synthesis: A can always be extrapolated, but not always as far as one might like. It helps to view the matter diagrammatically (see Figure 9.1)...

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10. Pretense and Presupposition

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pp. 165-177

A great puzzle of twentieth-century philosophy of language was, how are finite beings able to understand a potential infinity of sentences? The answer is supposed to be that understanding is recursive: infinitely many sentences can be constructed out of finitely many words combined according...

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11. The Missing Premise

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pp. 178-188

Bear with me as I bring in an unrelated-seeming topic from introductory logic. Students are taught about valid arguments. Validity is a pretty demanding standard, they learn, rarely met outside of logic class. They are not to despair, however, for validity may be achieved by plugging...

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12. What Is Said

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pp. 189-206

I want to return now to the comparison begun in section 10.4 between piggybacking on a game and pivoting on a presupposition. The two have a lot in common, we said. A can take on different figurative contents, for instance, as we vary the game, and different incremental contents as...

Appendix. Nomenclature

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pp. 207-208

Bibliography

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pp. 209-218

Index

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pp. 219-222