The identity theory of truth and the realm of reference: Where Dodd goes wrong

Analysis 69 (2):297-304 (2009)
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In ‘On McDowell's identity conception of truth’ , we suggested that McDowell's Identity Theory, according to which a proposition is true if and only if it is identical with a fact, is only fully understood when we realize that there are two identity claims involved. The first is that, when one thinks truly, the content of a whole thought is identical with a Tractarian Tatsachen – a complex fact constituted by simple Sachverhalte – and the second is that these simple Sachverhalte are in turn identical with simple Fregean senses. 1As an example, we suggested that the complex content/proposition/Fregean sense is identical with the Tractarian Tatsachen constituted by the two Sachverhalte: the object's being a tiger and the object's being undernourished, both of which can be seen, as the second identity with simple Fregean senses requires, to present an object in a certain way – as being, in turn, a tiger and undernourished.In his response to our article, Julian Dodd raises three internal criticisms concerning the coherence of the view as a whole, as well as the interpretative criticism that, regardless of the internal coherence of the view, it is not McDowell's. We think that Dodd fails to appreciate the view we have developed in our article, so much so that he believes that his own proffered view of McDowell, articulated in the final section of his response, is an alternative to our own position when in fact it is simply a restatement of that position. Because this point is so fundamental, we begin below by spelling out exactly where Dodd's understanding of our view goes wrong and so why his interpretative criticism misses its target before addressing the internal criticisms concerning the coherence of the view as a ….



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Author Profiles

Bill Fish
Massey University
Cynthia Macdonald
University of Manchester

Citations of this work

The identity theory of truth.Stewart Candlish - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Metaphysics of Thought: A Response to Fish and Macdonald.Daniel Brigham - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (1):106-112.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
The Varieties of Reference.Louise M. Antony - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):275.
De re senses.John Mcdowell - 1984 - Philosophical Quarterly 34 (136):283-294.

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