Truth and Logic in Harold H. Joachim's Philosophy


Abstract
In this essay I try, first of all, to outline the development of Joachim's epistemology from his most significant book, The Nature of Truth (1906), to his posthumous Logical Studies (1948), which gathers together the lectures on Logic delivered by him at the University of Oxford in the years up to his death in 1938. The conception of truth as systematic coherence, upheld by him in his earlier work in a lively polemic against Bertrand Russell's empirical-realist 'correspondence theory of truth' as well as against the intuitionist appeal to immediate self-evidence, shows the thorough- going influence of F.H. Bradley's epistemology in its declaredly idealistic orientation and its 'sceptical' outcome. I then criticise the arguments by which, in the final pages of The Nature of Truth, he supports his denial of truth's reality, pointing out that they are plainly self-refuting. Finally, I examine the further development of his conception of thought and truth in his Oxford lectures, where he subjects the above-mentioned arguments to a careful self-critique, which prompted his pupil Errol E. Harris to vindicate, against contemporary anti-metaphysical thought, the perennial theoretical value and moral significance of metaphysics in general, and of Hegel's Absolute Idealism in particular.
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