Pragmatism, Truth and Response-Dependence

Facta Philosophica 7 (2):231-253 (2005)
Mark Johnston claims the pragmatist theory of truth is inconsistent with the way we actually employ and talk about that concept. He is, however, sympathetic enough to attempt to rescue its respectable core using ‘response-dependence’, a revisionary form of which he advocates as a method for clarifying various philosophically significant concepts. But Johnston has misrepresented pragmatism; it does not require rescuing, and as I show here, his ‘missing explanation argument’ against pragmatism therefore fails. What Johnston and other critics including Putnam have overlooked is the distinctive nature of the pragmatist strategy, specifically, that it is non-reductive, a characteristic it shares with a more promising form of response-dependence; what Johnston calls ‘Descriptive Protagoreanism’ (DP). In this paper I offer a defence of pragmatism and show how it might be re-articulated as a form of DP.
Keywords pragmatism  response-dependence  realism  truth  concepts  semantics  color
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DOI 10.3726/93520_231
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