Letting the Truth Out: Children, Naïve Truth, and Deflationism

Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):17-42 (2019)

Authors
Brian Lightbody
Brock University
Abstract
In their recent paper, “Epistemology for Beginners: Two to Five-Year-Old Children’s Representation of Falsity,” Olivier Mascaro and Olivier Morin study the ontogeny of a naïve understanding of truth in humans. Their paper is fascinating for several reasons, but most striking is their claim (given a rather optimistic reading of epistemology) that toddlers as young as two can, at times, recognize false from true assertions. Their Optimistic Epistemology Hypothesis holds that children seem to have an innate capacity to represent a state of affairs truthfully. In the following paper, I investigate the problems this research poses for deflationist theories of truth. Richard Rorty and Huw Price hold that the best way to understand truth or “the truth” is to understand the necessary conditions required for assertoric practice. Both philosophers present unique and very different deflationary theories when it comes to construing truth. I argue that neither philosopher’s approach is successful because they focus on truth and fail to recognize truthfulness as a norm of assertoric practice. I show that truthfulness is the elusive third norm of claim-based discourse and is consistent with Mascaro and Morin’s findings.
Keywords Pragmatism  Optimistic Epistemology Hypothesis  Deflationism  Rorty  Price  Kant
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References found in this work BETA

Truth as Convenient Friction.Huw Price - 2010 - In Mario de Caro & David Macarthur (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Columbia University Press. pp. 167--190.
Truth as Convenient Friction.Huw Price - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (4):167-190.
Naturalism Without Representationalism.Huw Price - 2004 - In Mario De Caro & David Macarthur (eds.), Naturalism in Question. Harvard University Press. pp. 71--88.
Why Deflationists Should Be Pretense Theorists (and Perhaps Already Are).Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2010 - In Cory D. Wright & Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen (eds.), New Waves in Truth. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 59-77.

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