Nothing is true

Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper motivates and defends alethic nihilism, the theory that nothing is true. I first argue that alethic paradoxes like the Liar and Curry motivate nihilism; I then defend the view from objections. The critical discussion has two primary outcomes. First, a proof of concept. Alethic nihilism strikes many as silly or obviously false, even incoherent. I argue that it is in fact well-motivated and internally coherent. Second, I argue that deflationists about truth ought to be nihilists. Deflationists maintain that the utility of the truth predicate is exhausted by its expressive role, and I argue that the truth predicate can still play this expressive role even if nothing is true. As such, deflationists do not stand to lose anything by accepting nihilism. Since they also stand to gain an elegant solution to the alethic paradoxes, on balance deflationists ought to be nihilists.

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Will Gamester
University of Leeds

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References found in this work

Outline of a theory of truth.Saul Kripke - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (19):690-716.
Facts and Propositions.Frank P. Ramsey - 1927 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 7 (1):153-170.
Inconsistent Languages.Matti Eklund - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):251-275.
Deflationist Views of Meaning and Content.Hartry Field - 1999 - In Simon Blackburn & Keith Simmons (eds.), Truth. Oxford University Press.
An Axiomatic Approach to Self-Referential Truth.Harvey Friedman & Michael Sheard - 1987 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 33 (1):1--21.

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