Truth in the Tractatus

Synthese 148 (2):345-368 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

My paper takes issue both with the standard view that the Tractatus contains a correspondence theory and with recent suggestions that it features a deflationary or semantic theory. Standard correspondence interpretations are mistaken, because they treat the isomorphism between a sentence and what it depicts as a sufficient condition of truth rather than of sense. The semantic/deflationary interpretation ignores passages that suggest some kind of correspondence theory. The official theory of truth in the Tractatus is an obtainment theory – a sentence is true iff the state of affairs it depicts obtains. This theory differs from deflationary theories in that it involves an ontology of states of affairs/facts; and it can be transformed into a type of correspondence theory: a sentence is true iff it corresponds to, i.e. depicts an obtaining state of affairs (fact). Admittedly, unlike correspondence theories as commonly portrayed, this account does not involve a genuinely truth-making relation. It features a relation of correspondence, yet it is that of depicting, between a meaningful sentence and its sense – a possible state of affairs. What makes for truth is not that relation, but the obtaining of the depicted state of affairs. This does not disqualify the Tractatus from holding a correspondence theory, however, since the correspondence theories of Moore and Russell are committed to a similar position. Alternatively, the obtainment theory can be seen as a synthesis of correspondence, semantic and deflationary approaches. It does justice to the idea that what is true depends solely on what is the case, and it combines a semantic explanation of the relation between a sentence and what it says with a deflationary account of the agreement between what the sentence says and what obtains or is the case if it is true.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,102

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Identity theories of truth and the tractatus.Peter M. Sullivan - 2005 - Philosophical Investigations 28 (1):43–62.
Tractatus 5.1362.Giovanni Mion - 2017 - Philosophical Inquiries 5 (1):27-32.
Ineffability and nonsense.A. W. Moore - 2003 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):169–193.
An Incoherence in the Tractatus.Carl Ginet - 1973 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (2):143-151.
Ineffability and nonsense.Peter Sullivan - 2003 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):195–223.
Wittgenstein and What Can Only Be True.Cora Diamond - 2014 - Nordic Wittgenstein Review 3 (2):9-40.
Wittgenstein, Truth-Functions, and Generality.Michael Scanlan - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:175-193.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
248 (#76,379)

6 months
19 (#110,626)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Theory of knowledge.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,: Prentice-Hall.
The Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays.Frank Plumpton Ramsey - 1925 - London, England: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Edited by R. B. Braithwaite.
The Philosophy of Logical Atomism.Bertrand Russell - 1940 - Open Court. Edited by David Pears.
A Combinatorial Theory of Possibility.David Malet Armstrong - 1989 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Conceptions of truth.Wolfgang Künne - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.

View all 35 references / Add more references