The fact that a group of axioms use the word 'true' does not guarantee that that group of axioms yields a theory of truth. For Davidson the derivability of certain biconditionals from the axioms is what guarantees this. We argue that the test does not work. In particular, we argue that if the object language has truth-valuegaps, the result of applying Davidson''s definition of a theory of truth is that no correct theory of truth for the language (...) is possible. (shrink)
An account of the logic of bivalent languages with truth-valuegaps is given. This account is keyed to the use of tables introduced by S. C. Kleene. The account has two guiding ideas. First, that the bivalence property insures that the language satisfies classical logic. Second, that the general concepts of a valid sentence and an inconsistent sentence are, respectively, as sentences which are not false in any model and sentences which are not true in any model. What (...) recommends this approach is (1) its relative simplicity, and (2) the fact that it leaves the fundamental features of classical logic intact. (shrink)
Among other good things, supervaluation is supposed to allow vague sentences to go without truth values. But Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore have recently argued that it cannot allow this - not if it also respects certain conceptual truths. The main point I wish to make here is that they are mistaken. Supervaluation can leave truth-valuegaps while respecting the conceptual truths they have in mind.
Central to any form of Deflationism concerning truth (hereafter ‘DT’) is the claim that truth has no substantial theoretical role to play. For this reason, DT faces the following immediate challenge: if truth can play no substantial theoretical role then how can we model various prevalent kinds of indeterminacy—such as the indeterminacy exhibited by vague predicates, future contingents, liar sentences, truth-teller sentences, incomplete stipulations, cases of presupposition failure, and such-like? It is too hasty to assume that these phenomena are all (...) to be modelled via some epistemic conception of indeterminacy whereby indeterminacy is just some special species of ignorance which arises because of our limited powers of discrimination. Some non-epistemic model is called for—at least for certain species of indeterminacy. On what is perhaps the most enduring and popular non-epistemic model, indeterminacy gives rise to truth-valuegaps. But is DT compatible with the possibility of truth-valuegaps? Compatibilism says Yes; Incompatibilism says No. The broad goal of this paper is to defend a form of Incompatibilism. If DT is to make sense of various kinds of indeterminacy then truth-valuegaps cannot be invoked to do so. The particular goals of this paper are: (i) To set forth a new form of Compatibilism which can address an argument against truth-valuegaps given by Williamson (1994, pp. 187-192). (ii) To offer a new argument against truth-valuegaps using principles entailed by DT, thereby undermining Compatibilism. (shrink)
Kuhn's alleged taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability is grounded on an ill defined notion of untranslatability and is hence radically incomplete. To supplement it, I reconstruct Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation on the basis of a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy, a semantic theory of truth-value, and a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication. According to the reconstruction, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when (...) considered within the context of the other due to the unmatchable taxonomic structures underlying them. So constructed, Kuhn's mature interpretation of incommensurability does not depend upon the notion of truth-preserving (un)translatability, but rather depends on the notion of truth-value-status-preserving cross-language communication. The reconstruction makes Kuhn's notion of incommensurability a well grounded, tenable and integrated notion. (shrink)
It is argued that if there are truth-valuegaps then the disquotational theory of truth is false. Secondly, it is argued that the same conclusion can be reached even without the assumption that there are truth-valuegaps.
The question is asked whether one can consistently both be a minimalist about truth, and hold that some meaningful assertoric sentences fail to be either true or false. It is shown that one can, but the issues are delicate, and the price is high: one must either refrain from saying that the sentences lack truth values, or else one must invoke a novel non-contraposing three-valued conditional. Finally it is shown that this does not help in reconciling minimalism with emotivism, where (...) this latter is understood as involving the view that ethical sentences are neither true nor false. (shrink)
∗Thanks to J. C. Beall, Alex Byrne, Jason Decker, Tyler Doggett, Paul Elbourne, Adam Elga, Warren Goldfarb, Delia Graﬀ, Richard Heck, Charles Parsons, Mark Richard, Susanna Siegel, Jason Stanley, Judith Thomson, Carol Voeller, Brian Weatherson, Ralph Wedgwood, Steve Yablo, Cheryl Zoll, and an anonymous referee for valuable comments and discussions. Versions of this material were presented in my seminar at MIT in the Fall of 2000, and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Parts of this paper also derive from (...) my comments on a paper of Scott Soames at the ‘Liars and Heaps’ conference at the University of Connecticut in the Fall of 2002. I am grateful for the help of these audiences, and especially to Prof. Soames. (shrink)
The paper asks: are all tautologies true in a language with truth-valuegaps? It answers that they are not. No tautology is false, of course, but not all are true. It also contends that not all contradictions are false in a language with truth-valuegaps, though none are true.
This paper is a reply to Michael Lynch's "Truth, Value and Epistemic Expressivism" in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research for 2009. It argues that Lynch's argument against expressivism fails because of an ambiguity in the employed notion of an 'epistemically disengaged standpoint'.
Philosophers disagree about whether vagueness requires us to admit truth-valuegaps, about whether there is a gap between the objects of which a given vague predicate is true and those of which it is false on an appropriately constructed sorites series for the predicate—a series involving small increments of change in a relevant respect between adjacent elements, but a large increment of change in that respect between the endpoints. There appears, however, to be widespread agreement that there is (...) some sense in which vague predicates are gappy which may be expressed neutrally by saying that on any appropriately constructed sorites series for a given vague predicate there will be a gap between the objects of which the predicate is deﬁnitely true and those of which it is deﬁnitely false. Taking as primitive the operator ‘it is deﬁnitely the case that’, abbreviated as ‘D’, we may stipulate that a predicate F is deﬁnitely true (or deﬁnitely false) of an object just in case ‘DF (a)’, where a is a name for the object, is true (or false) simpliciter.1 This yields the following conditional formulation of a ‘gap principle’: (DΦ(x) ∧ D¬Φ(y)) → ¬R(x, y). Here ‘Φ’ is to be replaced with a vague predicate, while ‘R’ is to stand for a sorites relation for that predicate: a relation that can be used to construct a sorites series for the predicate—such as the relation of being just one millimetre shorter than for the predicate ‘is tall’. Disagreements about the sense in which it is correct to say that vague predicates are gappy can then be recast as disagreements about how to understand the deﬁnitely operator. One might give it, for example, a pragmatic construal such as ‘it would not be misleading to assert that’; or an epistemic construal such as ‘it is known that’ or ‘it is knowable that’; or a semantic construal such as ‘it is true that’. (shrink)
Frege held that the result of applying a predicate to names lacks reference if any of the names lack reference. We defend the principle against a number of plausible objections. We put forth an account of consequence for a first-order language with identity in which the principle holds.
Since the famous debate between Russell (Mind 14: 479–493, 1905, Mind 66: 385–389, 1957) and Strawson (Mind 59: 320–344, 1950; Introduction to logical theory, 1952; Theoria, 30: 96–118, 1964) linguistic intuitions about truth values have been considered notoriously unreliable as a guide to the semantics of definite descriptions. As a result, most existing semantic analyses of definites leave a large number of intuitions unexplained. In this paper, I explore the nature of the relationship between truth value intuitions and non-referring definites. (...) Inspired by comments in Strawson (Introduction to logical theory, 1964), I argue that given certain systematic considerations, one can provide a structured explanation of conflicting intuitions. I show that the intuitions of falsity, which proponents of a Russellian analysis often appeal to, result from evaluating sentences in relation to specific questions in context. This is shown by developing a method for predicting when sentences containing non-referring definites elicit intuitions of falsity. My proposed analysis draws importantly on Roberts (in: Yoon & Kathol (eds.) OSU working papers in Linguistics: vol. 49: Papers in Semantics 1998; in: Horn & Ward (eds.) Handbook of pragmatics, 2004) and recent research in the semantics and pragmatics of focus. (shrink)
In the first half of the 17th century the Aristotelian view that the same statement or belief may be true at one time and false at another and, on the other hand, the conception of a mental proposition as a fully explicit thought that lends a definite meaning to a declarative sentence originated a lively debate concerning the question whether a mental proposition can change its truth-value.In this article it is shown that the defenders of a negative answer and (...) the advocates of a positive answer argued on the basis of different notions of what a mental proposition is:one side taking it as more or less equivalent to a specific utterance?meaning and the other side as more or less equivalent to a generic sentence-meaning. (shrink)
Can mystics intuit something of what modern physicists calculate? And if so, how? The question of the relation between the classical mysticisms and modern science is approached in Part I in terms of the multiple forms and definitions of 'truth value'. Intuition/epiphany, pragmatism, coherence, and correspondence are considered as forms of truth that have also been proposed for unitive mystical experience. Since 'correspondence' or 'representation' has been the definition at the core of modern science, it in particular is approached by (...) combining Lakoff and Johnson on the roots of all abstract knowledge in physical metaphor and Gibson on the ecological array of perception as the template from which such metaphors must be drawn. A series of similarities between the maximally inclusive metaphors underlying unitive mystical experience and cosmological physics, as abstracted from an ecological array already resonant with multiple levels of physical reality, suggests a basis for the correspondence between these otherwise distinct cognitive domains. Part II extends this approach to widely posited cross cultural values of spiritual or mystical realization, in terms of gratitude, compassion, faith, and inner freedom. When fully embodied as forms of personal conduct, these are also ultimately derivable from the openness and flow patternings of the ecological array itself. The possibility that the more abstract spiritual values of the major world mysticisms exemplify not only revelatory and pragmatic forms of truth, but are also broadly correspondent with both the principles of immediate concrete perception and modern physics, may eventually allow a contemporary re- formulation of the microcosm-macrocosm unities basic to traditional cultures. (shrink)
The rift between science and religion needs to be assessed not merely on pragmatic grounds, on the basis of the effect of scientific versus religious beliefs on people's behavior, as John Caiazza's essay does, but also and above all in regard to the cogency of the respective beliefs in reference to what we can reasonably assume is the true face of reality. About such truth value, the conflict is not irremediable; there are elements of belief regarding the nature of reality (...) that are strikingly similar regardless of whether one arrived at them on the basis of faith in revealed knowledge or on the basis of knowledge acquired by reasoning from or in reference to experience. Two such items are selected here by way of example: belief that in certain states of mind and consciousness individuals can experience union with something larger or deeper than themselves, and belief that the universe we inhabit is the result of an original creative act. (shrink)
In introductory logic courses the authors often limit their considerations to the truth-value operators. Then they write that conditionals and biconditionals of natural language ("if" and "if and only if") may be represented as material implications and equivalences ("⊃" and "≡"), respectively. Yet material implications are not suitable for conditionals. Lewis' strict implications are much better for this purpose. Similarly, strict equivalences are better for representing biconditionals (than material equivalences). In this paper we prove that the methods from standard (...) first courses in logic can be used for testing arguments with strict implications, strict equivalences and other operators which may represent connectives from natural language. (shrink)
The author recently claimed that Pr(P, Q), where Pr is a probability function and P and Q are two sentences of a formalized language L, qualifies as an estimate--made in the light of Q--of the truth-value of P in L. To substantiate his claim, the author establishes here that the two strategies lying at the opposite extremes of the spectrum of truth-value estimating strategies meet the first five of the six requirements (R1-R6) currently placed upon probability functions and (...) fail to meet the sixth one. He concludes from those two results that the value for P and Q of any function satisfying R1-R5 must rate "minimally satisfactory" and the value for P and Q of any function satisfying R1-R6 must rate "satisfactory" as an estimate--made in the light of Q--of the truth-value of P in L. (shrink)
This paper examines the concept of ‘areti’ as encountered in the Aristotelian ethical system in order to establish its relationship to the modern concept of virtue as well as to that of moral truth, that is, to identify its truth-value. I intend to show that the Aristotelian ‘areti’ as a developed state of character and as an advanced stage of ethical understanding entails moral truth. ‘Areti’ as a good-in-itself possesses an intrinsic value which reflects moral truth, and as a (...) means for the accomplishment of ‘eudaimonia’ (ultimate happiness) it possesses an instrumental value. I also wish to argue that this position calls for a realist as well as an objectivist (or nonrelativist) approach in Aristotle. To that effect, I examine the elements of ‘areti’ that relate it to truth, and then I use reference to some of theAristotelian virtues, such as ‘andreia’ (courage), ‘philia’ (friendship), ‘dikaiosyne’ (justice), and ‘megalopsychia’ (magnanimity), in order to examine the way moral truth functions. This examination will also try to show that Aristotle’s aretaic approach does not suffer from the ills of virtue ethics theories. (shrink)
Relativism offers a nifty way of accommodating most of our intuitions about epistemic modals, predicates of personal taste, color expressions, future contingents, and conditionals. But in spite of its manifest merits relativism is squarely at odds with epistemic value monism: the view that truth is the highest epistemic goal. I will call the argument from relativism to epistemic value pluralism the trivial argument for epistemic value pluralism. After formulating the argument, I will look at three possible ways to refute it. (...) I will then argue that two of these are unsuccessful, and defend the third, which involves denying that there are any genuinely relative truths. (shrink)
Needs, Values, Truth brings together of some of the most important and influential writings by a leading contemporary philosopher, drawn from twenty-five years of his work in the broad area of the philosophy of value. The author ranges between problems of ethics, meta-ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of logic and language, looking at questions relating to meaning, truth and objectivity in judgements of value. For this third edition he has added a new essay on incommensurability, in addition to making (...) minor revisions to the existing text. The volume will stand as a definitive summation of his work in this area. (shrink)
In Philosophical Logic, the Liar Paradox has been used to motivate the introduction of both truth value gaps and truth value gluts. Moreover, in the light of “revenge Liar” arguments, also higher-order combinations of generalized truth values have been suggested to account for so-called hyper-contradictions. In the present paper, Graham Priest's treatment of generalized truth values is scrutinized and compared with another strategy of generalizing the set of classical truth values and defining an entailment relation on the resulting sets (...) of higher-order values. This method is based on the concept of a multilattice. If the method is applied to the set of truth values of Belnap's “useful four-valued logic”, one obtains a trilattice, and, more generally, structures here called Belnap-trilattices. As in Priest's case, it is shown that the generalized truth values motivated by hyper-contradictions have no effect on the logic. Whereas Priest's construction in terms of designated truth values always results in his Logic of Paradox, the present construction in terms of truth and falsity orderings always results in First Degree Entailment. However, it is observed that applying the multilattice-approach to Priest's initial set of truth values leads to an interesting algebraic structure of a “bi-and-a-half” lattice which determines seven-valued logics different from Priest's Logic of Paradox. (shrink)
Truth values are, properly understood, merely proxies for the various relations that can hold between language and the world. Once truth values are understood in this way, consideration of the Liar paradox and the revenge problem shows that our language is indefinitely extensible, as is the class of truth values that statements of our language can take – in short, there is a proper class of such truth values. As a result, important and unexpected connections emerge between the semantic paradoxes (...) and the set-theoretic paradoxes. (shrink)
To what extent is possession of truth considered a good thing in the Republic ? Certain passages of the dialogue appear to regard truth as a universal good, but others are more circumspect about its value, recommending that truth be withheld on occasion and falsehood disseminated. I seek to resolve this tension by distinguishing two kinds of truths, which I label 'philosophical' and 'non-philosophical'. Philosophical truths, I argue, are considered unqualifiedly good to possess, whereas non-philosophical truths are regarded as (...) worth possessing only to the extent that possession conduces to good behaviour in those who possess them. In the non-philosophical arena it is an open question, to be determined on a case-by-case basis, whether falsehood is more efficacious in furthering this practical aim than truth. (shrink)
Truth is a value in that sense that a belief is good (or successful, or correct) just in case it is true. But it does not follow that truth is a good-making property, nor does it follow that the nature of truth explains its value. Instead, this paper argues that the nature of belief explains its value.
Chang's MV algebras are the algebras of the infinite-valued sentential calculus of ukasiewicz. We introduce finitely additive measures (called states) on MV algebras with the intent of capturing the notion of average degree of truth of a proposition. Since Boolean algebras coincide with idempotent MV algebras, states yield a generalization of finitely additive measures. Since MV algebras stand to Boolean algebras as AFC*-algebras stand to commutative AFC*-algebras, states are naturally related to noncommutativeC*-algebraic measures.
The thought that truth is valuable for its own sake is obvious, yet difficult to explicate in a precise and vindicating way. The paper tries to explicate and vindicate this thought with an argument for the conclusion that truth is an epistemic value. Truth is an epistemic value in the sense that a commitment to the value of truth plays a role in the justification and explanation of a fundamental aspect of our epistemic practice, namely, critical reflection. The paper also (...) argues that this feature of truth is inconsistent with deflationary accounts of truth. The ideas are set against the backdrop of criticism of some recent work by Paul Horwich. (shrink)
The questions concerning the value of knowledge and truth range from complete skepticism about such value to more discriminating concerns about the precise nature of the value in question and the comparative judgment that one of the two is more valuable than the other.
A number of authors have noted that vagueness engenders degrees of belief, but that these degrees of belief do not behave like subjective probabilities. So should we countenance two different kinds of degree of belief: the kind arising from vagueness, and the familiar kind arising from uncertainty, which obey the laws of probability? I argue that we cannot coherently countenance two different kinds of degree of belief. Instead, I present a framework in which there is a single notion of degree (...) of belief, which in certain circumstances behaves like a subjective probability assignment and in other circumstances does not. The core idea is that one’s degree of belief in a proposition P is one’s expectation of P’s degree of truth. (shrink)
New Waves in Truth offers eighteen new and original research papers on truth and other alethic phenomena by twenty of the most promising young scholars working on truth today. Contributions to the volume span truth ascriptions, deflationism, realism and the correspondence theory, the value of truth, and kinds of truth and truth-apt discourse. The research programs of the contributors are beginning to reset that agenda, and each is positioned to make new waves throughout the subject.
A strong and weak version of the redundancy theory of truth are distinguished. An argument put forth by Michael Dummett concludes that the weak version is vitiated by truth-valuegaps. The weak version is defended against this argument. The strong version, however, is vitiated by truth-valuegaps.
Current epistemological dogma has it that the twin goalsof believing truths and avoiding errors exhaust our cognitive aspirations.On such a view, (call it the TG view) the only evaluationsthat count as genuinely epistemological are those that evaluatesomething (a belief, believer, set of beliefs, a cognitivetrait or process, etc.) in terms of its connection to thesetwo goods. In particular, this view implies that all theepistemic value of knowledge must be derived from thevalue of the two goals cited in TG. I argue (...) thatthis implication is false, and thus that the TG view must be abandoned. I propose a candidate to replacethe TG view that makes better sense of the value ofknowledge. (shrink)
Some of Austin's general statements about the doctrines of sense-datum philosophy are reviewed. It is concluded that Austin thought that in these doctrines "directly see" is given a new but inadequately explained and defined use. Were this so, the philosophical use of "directly see" would lack a definite sense and this would correspondingly affect the doctrines. They would lack definite truth-value. Against this, it is argued that the philosopher's use of "directly see" does not support Austin's general thesis that (...) the sense-datum doctrines lack truth-value. (shrink)
This paper compares two proposed solutions to the liar paradox, both of which involve revisions to classical semantics. The first, that of truth value gaps, denies that all sentences are true or false. The second, that of truth value gluts, asserts that some sentences are true and false. A natural question about these proposals is, ?Do they offer equally good (or bad) solutions, or is one better than the other?? Parsons 1990 suggested an answer to this question, arguing that (...) for every problem for one solution, there is a parallel problem for the other. Since then, several people have given arguments for and against the idea that the two face parallel problems. This paper advances the debate in two ways. First, it answers four attempts by Graham Priest to reject the parallel. In particular, it discusses alleged advantages for the gap solution with regard to the teleological account of truth, an extended liar paradox, Berry's paradox, and inexpressibility. Second, it discusses where, if anywhere, the parallel may be broken. (shrink)
Like William James before him, Huw Price has influentially argued that truth has a normative role to play in our thought and talk. I agree. But Price also thinks that we should regard truth-conceived of as property of our beliefs-as something like a metaphysical myth. Here I disagree. In this paper, I argue that reflection on truth's values pushes us in a slightly different direction, one that opens the door to certain metaphysical possibilities that even a Pricean pragmatist can love.
Minimalists generally see themselves as engaged in a descriptive project. They maintain that they can explain everything we want to say about truth without appealing to anything other than the T-schema, i.e., the idea that the proposition that p is true iff p. I argue that despite recent claims to the contrary, minimalists cannot explain one important belief many people have about truth, namely, that truth is good. If that is so, then minimalism, and possibly deflationism as a whole, must (...) be rejected or recast as a profoundly revisionary project. (shrink)
One of the few points of agreement to be found in mainstream responses to the logical and semantic problems generated by vagueness is the view that if any modification of classical logic and semantics is required at all then it will only be such as to admit underdetermined reference and truth-valuegaps. Logics of vagueness including many valued logics, fuzzy logics, and supervaluation logics all provide responses in accord with this view. The thought that an adequate response might (...) require the recognition of cases of overdetermination and truth value gluts has few supporters. This imbalance lacks justification. As it happens, Jaskowski's paraconsistent discussive logic-a logic which admits truth value gluts-can be defended by reflecting on similarities between it and the popular supervaluationist analysis of vagueness already in the philosophical literature. A simple dualisation of supervaluation semantics results in a paraconsistent logic of vagueness based on what has been termed subvaluational semantics. (shrink)
The solution John Buridan offers for the Paradox of the Liar has not been correctly placed within the framework of his philosophy of language. More precisely, there are two important points of the Buridanian philosophy of language that are crucial to the correct understanding of his solution to the Liar paradox that are either misrepresented or ignored in some important accounts of his theory. The first point is that the Aristotelian formula, ` propositio est vera quia qualitercumque significat in rebus (...) significatis ita est ', once amended, is a correct way to talk about the truth of a sentence. The second one is that he has a double indexing theory of truth: a sentence is true in a time about a time, and such times should be distinguished in the account of the truth-conditions of sentences. These two claims are connected in an important way: the Aristotelian formula indicates the time about which a sentence is true. Some interpreters of the Buridanian solution to the paradox, following the lead of Herzberger, have missed these points and have been led to postulate truth-values gaps, or surrogates of truth-valuegaps, when there is nothing of this sort in his theory. I argue against this tradition of interpretation of Buridan and propose an interpretation of his solution to the Liar. (shrink)
What does truth have to do with freedom? That is, what is the relationship between our political and epistemic principles? In this paper, I grapple and reject Rorty's reasons for thinking that the former can't be based on the latter, but offer an alternative argument that supports his over-all conclusion that our epistemic and political values are ultimately intertwined.
Consider the following sentences: The neighbouring sentence is not true. The neighbouring sentence is not true. Call these the no-no sentences. Symmetry considerations dictate that the no-no sentences must both possess the same truth-value. Suppose they are both true. Given Tarski’s truth-schema—if a sentence S says that p then S is true iff p—and given what they say, they are both not true. Contradiction! Conclude: they are not both true. Suppose they are both false. Given Tarski’s falsity-schema—if a sentence (...) S says that p then S is false iff not-p—and given what they say, they are both true, and so not false. Contradiction! Conclude: they are not both false. Thus, despite their symmetry, the no-no sentences must differ in truth-value. Such is the no-no paradox. Sorensen (2001, 2005a, 2005b) has argued that: (1) The no-no paradox is not a version of the liar but rather a cousin of the truth-teller paradox. (2) Even so, the no-no paradox is more paradoxical than the truth-teller. (3) The no-no and truth-teller sentences have groundless truthvalues—they are bivalent but give rise to “truthmaker gaps”. (4) It is metaphysically impossible to know these truth-values. (5) A truthmaker gap response to the no-no paradox provides reason to accept a version of epistemicism. In this paper it is shown that a truthmaker gap solution to the no-no and truth-teller paradoxes runs afoul of the dunno-dunno paradox, the strengthened no-no paradox, and the strengthened truth-teller paradox. In consequence, the no-no paradox is best seen as a form of the liar paradox. As such, it cannot provide a case for epistemicism. (shrink)
Although Frege was eager to theoretically eliminate the judging subject from logic and mathematics, his system is permeated with notions that refer to subjective mental processes, such as grasping a thought, assuming, judging, and value. His semantic system depends on such notions, but since Frege in general shuns explaining them, his central conception of judgment and truth remains dark. In this paper it is proposed to fill out the gaps in Frege's explanations with the help of Husserl's phenomenological descriptions, (...) especially those of the sixth Logical Investigation. This leads to a comparison between Frege's notion of judgment and Husserl's "Evidenz", and finally also to a phenomenological classification of Frege's remarks on truth. (shrink)