Understanding and semantic strucure: Reply to Timothy Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In his essay '"Conceptual Truth"', Timothy Williamson (2006) argues that there are no truths or entailments that are constitutive of understanding the sentences involved. In this reply I provide several examples of entailment patterns that are intuitively constitutive of understanding in just the way that Williamson rejects, and I argue that Williamson's argument does nothing to show otherwise. Williamson bolsters his conclusion by appeal to a certain theory about the nature of understanding. I argue that his theory fails to consider the role that the structure of a sentence plays in determining its meaning. The cases I present suggest that this role imposes greater cognitive requirements on understanding than Williamson can acknowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-343
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Aristotelean Society
Issue number1 PART 3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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