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Idealism and Williams's Semantic Paradox

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Bernard Williams's essay ‘Wittgenstein and Idealism’ argues that that the conventionality of language entails the dependence of the truth of sentences and ultimately of corresponding states of affairs as truth-makers on the existence of thinking subjects. Peter Winch and Colin Lyas try to avoid William's paradox by distinguishing between the existence conditions of a sentence and its assertion. The Winch-Lyas solution is criticized and a stronger Winch-Lays resistant version of Williams's paradox is proposed. A more satisfactory countercriticism is given, involving an ineliminable modal fallacy occurring in the paradox inference, that arises because of the argument's invalid combination of categorical and counterfactual assumptions and conclusions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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