Shopping for Truth Pluralism

Synthese 198 (12):11351-11377 (2020)
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Truth pluralists say that the nature of truth varies between domains of discourse: while ordinary descriptive claims or those of the hard sciences might be true in virtue of corresponding to reality, those concerning ethics, mathematics, institutions might be true in some non-representational or “anti-realist” sense. Despite pluralism attracting increasing amounts of attention, the motivations for the view remain underdeveloped. This paper investigates whether pluralism is well-motivated on ontological grounds: that is, on the basis that different discourses are concerned with different kinds of entities. Arguments that draw on six different ontological contrasts are examined: concrete versus abstract entities; mind-independent versus mind-dependent entities; sparse versus merely abundant properties; objective versus projected entities; natural versus non-natural entities; and ontological pluralism. I argue that the additional premises needed to move from such contrasts to truth pluralism are either implausible or unmotivated, often doing little more than to bifurcate the nature of truth when a more theoretically conservative option is available. If there is a compelling motivation for pluralism, I suggest, it’s likely to lie elsewhere.

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Will Gamester
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

Truth pluralism without domains.Will Gamester - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-18.
Truth as none and many.Will Gamester - 2023 - Synthese 202 (6):1-25.

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Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.
Truth and objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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