Using Truth Relatively

Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1):115-124 (2016)
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Several authors have turned to a semantic analysis that renders truth relative to a point of assessment in order to explain speaker intuitions concerning the truth-value of certain kinds of statements. On the surface, it appears as if a truth-relative semantics is able to account for ordinary speaker exchanges that involve the problematic terms. However, what about the truth-predicate itself—how exactly are we to understand its use on a relative semantics? Although John MacFarlane offers an analysis of the truth-predicate as used by ordinary speakers, I aim to show his analysis has several counter-intuitive results. I argue that on relativism different uses of ‘is true’ will have differing extensions, and hence differing conditions for application. As a result, it becomes unclear if speakers can faithfully disquotationally report another speaker’s use of sentences of the form ‘P is true’ or predicate truth of contents that contain the truth predicate themselves.



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David Sackris
Arapahoe Community College

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