In Nikolaj Jang Pedersen & Cory Wright (eds.), Truth Pluralism: Current Debates. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
|Abstract||I have only recently come back to this debate. I left it for about ten years and more or less stopped thinking about the issues, so it’s been a great pleasure to find that others have been running on with it in the meantime and saying very creative and interesting things of, I think, considerable potential significance across wide areas of philosophy. First a bit of autobiography. I got interested in thinking about truth in a very general pluralistic way — you know: maybe truth doesn’t always consist in the same kind of thing; nothing more specific than that —for two broad reasons. One was because it looked as though making some sense of different kinds of truth might help to explain why the traditional debate about truth turned out to be sterile and incomplete. Maybe the reason why the correspondence theorists, and the coherence theorists, and the pragmatists couldn’t get anywhere was because they were all overgeneralising. Of course, there were other problems with their proposals. Correspondence, for instance, notoriously had explanatory difficulties actually making out some interesting notion of correspondence, and explaining what the terms of the correspondence relation were. But the general idea of truth being determined by fit, by accuracy of some sort, doesn’t go away just because when you press, you find it’s hard to explain its parameters. It’s more resilient than that. What really seems wrong with correspondence is that it seems a tendentious way to think about mathematics, for instance, and a bad way to think about the comic: one doesn’t want to be saddled with some metaphysics of ‘out there’ comedic facts to which one's impressions about comedy may correspond just by being willing to apply ‘true’ to ordinary ascriptions of ‘funny’. The ‘out there’ view is doubtless a possible view— it’s something someone could think (and someone, in Oxford, probably does.) But it doesn’t seem that it sits well with our ordinary conceptions of truth and comedic discourse; one wants to think differently about the import of "true" in such a discourse.|
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