Truth and Bivalence in Aristotle. An Investigation into the Structure of Saying
In N. Öffenberger & A. Vigo (eds.), Zur modernen Deutung der Aristotelischen Logik. G. Olms (2014)
The aim of this paper is rather modest: we do not intend to reconstruct Aristotle’s theory of truth (although we are convinced that there is such a thing), and we will not try to settle the issue concerning Bivalence in Aristotle. We merely want, on the one hand, to argue for the consistency between the main Aristotelian texts on truth and a possible rejection of Bivalence; and on the other hand, to investigate the conditions of a possible counterexample to Bivalence. The motivation for this research is also very specific. We are interested in the apparent violation of Bivalence introduced by vague predicates, and in particular we want to respond to a family of arguments put forward by T. Williamson in support of the idea that allowing for exceptions to Bivalence would be incoherent. We have focused on these arguments for two reasons. On the one hand, what is allegedly threatened by a denial of Bivalence is no less than the very “nature of truth or falsity”. On the other hand, Aristotle is explicitly mentioned as one of the defendants of this “natural” conception of truth, and we are reminded about the connection between Aristotle’s theory and Tarski’s semantic conception. These arguments, therefore, give us an occasion to explore Aristotle’s analysis of the nature of truth and falsity, and to examine its connection with the Tarskian conception of truth. In particular, we would like to question the assumption, which has become a commonplace in the field of analytical philosophy, that Aristotle’s notion of truth can be encoded in the pair of disquotational biconditionals that derive from Tarski’s “T schema”.
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