I’ve been reading Michael Glanzberg’s ‘Against Truth-Value Gaps’ (link to penultimate version, page references to the published version). I found a lot of interesting stuff there, with much of which I agree—inter alia, that the point of assertion is to convey information, and that thus one should assert something in a context only if that would be (true and thus) true or false, in that that context.
As to the main point, however, I’m not sure I got it. I had my worry at the very first pages, and it was not mitigated in the subsequent fortysomething, so I guess there is probably something very basic I am missing. Any help appreciated.
The main claim of the paper is that
that there are no substantial truth-value gaps. There are some phenomena that appear like gaps, but they are importantly different. There are faux gaps, as I shall call them, but no substantial gaps. In particular, attention to the role of context dependence, and the ways in which utterances of meaningful sentences can fail to express propositions in some contexts, provides a rich theoretical basis for explaining away apparently substantial truth-value gaps as merely faux gaps. (p. 152)
A substantial gap occurs, or would have occurred, when something that is apt to be true or false—including utterances, interpreted sentences paired with context, and propositions—fails to be either. (p.151)
I am a bit uneasy with talk of propositions in this context: too many (subtly but crucially different) things might be meant, so that one has always to make explicit which one one is interested in—which might be held to make the usefulness of the notion at best debatable.
But never mind that, here is the worry: any “faux” gap seems to be a substantial gap, in the envisaged sense. Take a “faux” gap case, where an utterance of a meaningful sentence “fails to express a proposition” in a given context. Thus the utterance or, better, the (interpreted) sentence at the context fails to be true or false. As, admittedly, these are things apt to be true or false—unlike shoes and ships and sealing wax—, this would be (also) a substantial gap.