Donald Davidson presents a new edition of the 1984 volume which set out his
enormously influential philosophy of language. Inquiries into Truth and
Interpretation has been a central point of reference and a focus of
controversy in the subject ever since, and its influence has extended into
linguistic theory, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. This new edition
features an additional essay, previously uncollected. The central question
which these essays address is what it is for words to mean what they do.
Davidson argues that a philosophically instructive theory of meaning should
acknowledge the holistic nature of linguistic understanding, in that it
should provide an interpretation of all utterances, actual and potential,
of a speaker or group of speakers; and that it should not rely upon the
concepts it attempts to explain, in that it should be verifiable
independently of knowledge of the detailed propositional attitudes of the
speaker. Among the topics covered in the essays are the relation between
theories of truth and theories of meaning, translation, quotation, belief,
radical interpretation, reference, metaphor, and communication.