London and New York: Routledge (2002)

Max Kölbel
University of Vienna
The mainstream view in the philosophy of language holds that every meaningful sentence has a truth-condition. This view, however, runs into difficulties with non-objective sentences such as sentences on matters of taste or value: these do not appear to be either true or false, but are generally taken to be meaningful. How can this conflict be resolved? Truth Without Objectivity examines various ways of resolving this fundamental problem, before developing and defending its own original solution, a relativist theory of truth. Standard solutions maintain either that in uttering non-objective sentences speakers make implicit reference to their own preferences and thus have unproblematic truth conditions, or that they have no truth conditions at all. Max Kölbel argues that both of these proposed solutions are inadequate, and that a third well-known position, minimalism, can only solve the problem if it is developed in the direction of relativism about truth. Kölbel defends the idea that truth (as invoked in semantics) is a neutral notion: a sentence’s possessing a truth condition does not yet entail that it concerns an objective subject matter, because truth and objectivity are independent of one another. He argues that this notion of ‘truth without objectivity’ leads directly to relativism about truth, and goes on to defend one form of relativism against well-known objections.
Keywords Truth   Objectivity   Meaning  Relativism
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ISBN(s) 9780415272445   0415272440   9780203870181   9780415272452   0415272459   0203870182   0415272440   9781135199456
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2005.tb00467.x
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Relativism and Disagreement.John MacFarlane - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):17-31.
Context, Content, and Relativism.Michael Glanzberg - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (1):1--29.
The Assessment Sensitivity of Knowledge Attributions.John MacFarlane - 2005 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 197--234.

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