Deflationism and the Value of Truth

James R. Beebe
State University of New York, Buffalo
Stephen Stich (1990) has argued that our commitment to truth is parochial, arbitrary, and idiosyncratic. Truth, according to Stich, can be analyzed in terms of reference and predicate satisfaction. If our intuitions about reference can change, this means that our concept of truth can change. If there can be many distinct concepts of truth, our seemingly unreflective commitment to the one we have inherited seems unmotivated. I argue that deflationism about truth possesses sufficient resources to turn back Stich’s skeptical challenge. If, as deflationism claims, no analysis of truth can be given, Stich’s argument cannot succeed. I argue that deflationism is correct by showing that differences in reference do not lead to distinct concepts of truth. I also show that deflationism can clarify what it is we care about when we care about whether our beliefs are true. To care whether p is true is simply to care whether p.
Keywords Deflationism  Truth  Stephen Stich
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2003_9
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