The correspondence theory of truth


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Abstract
Ever since the works of Alfred Tarski and Frank Ramsey, two views on truth have seemed very attractive to many people. On the one hand, the correspondence theory of truth seemed to be quite promising, mostly, perhaps, for its ability to accomodate a realistic attitude towards truth. On the other hand, a minimalist conception seemed appropriate since it made things so simple and unmysterious. So even though there are many more theories of truth around - the identity theory, the prosentential theory, etc. -, it is fair to say that these two views have acquired the status of the main contenders in the field. Most recently, John Searle and David Lewis have taken sides on the issue. Searle defends a new version of the correspondence theory which takes facts to be the correspondents of true statements, whereas Lewis wants to hold on to a minimalist conception of truth - allowing for an appendix of purely ontological claims that he extracts from the correspondence theory. What is new is that both have tried to see the correspondence theory not as a rival to the minimalist conception, but rather as essentially compatible with it. Still, in the end, Searle arrives at his version of the correspondence theory, and Lewis votes for minimalism. Both philosophers have sympathy with the spirit of the correspondence theory, to say the least. So one wonders why it is that they come to so different conclusions. Both start from the spirit of the correspondence theory, and both see it as essentially compatible with the heart of the minimalist conceptions, and still is there no agreement on what theory is to be accepted in the end.
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