Disquotationalism, Minimalism, and the Finite Minimal Theory

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):61 - 86 (2004)
Recently, Paul Horwich has developed the minimalist theory of truth, according to which the truth predicate does not express a substantive property, though it may be used as a grammatical expedient. Minimalism shares these claims with Quine’s disquotationalism; it differs from disquotationalism primarily in holding that truth-bearers are propositions, rather than sentences. Despite potential ontological worries, allowing that propositions bear truth gives Horwich a prima facie response to several important objections to disquotationalism. In section I of this paper, disquotationalism is given a careful exegesis, in which seven known objections are traced to the disquotational schema, and two new objections are raised. A version of disquotationalism which avoids two of the seven known objections is recommended. In section II, an examination of minimalism shows that it faces eight of the nine objections facing disquotationalism, plus a new objection. In section III, a finite formulation of minimalism proposed by Ernest Sosa is shown to meet five of the nine objections facing disquotationalism as well as the objection new to minimalism, though it faces another new objection.
Keywords disquotationalism  minimalism  truth  finite minimal theory
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DOI 10.1080/00455091.2004.10716559
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