Truth and Meaning in the Port-Royale Logic.
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The redundancy theory of truth, according to which a sentence of the form ‘p’ is true is equivalent to p, is commonly attributed to the philosophers Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) and Frank Ramsey (1903-1930), and is viewed as an important development in 20th century philosophical logic. In this paper I argue that such a perspective on truth may in fact be found much earlier, in Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole’s Logic, or the Art of Thinking (also known as the Port-Royal Logic and published in its final form in 1683). Although ignored by many philosophers who work on the concept of truth today, Arnauld and Nicole should be credited as the originators of the redundancy theory. In addition to identifying and explaining the relevant passages of the Port-Royal Logic, I discuss the authors’ strikingly modern take on linguistic meaning. Their approach to this issue, also generally overlooked in current discussions, merits serious consideration, and, I argue, is to be preferred to other, currently popular, approaches to this topic. Theirs is a sophisticated and subtle «internalist» account of meaning-one that, as we shall see, is largely immune to the usual objections to semantic internalism.