This paper examines a puzzle about whether truth is a valuable property: Valuable properties, like beauty and moral goodness, come in degrees; but truth does not come in degrees. Hence, the argument concludes, truth is not valuable. This result is puzzling since it seems to conflict with a deep intuition that truth is valuable. It is suggested that a roughly Platonic theory, on which truth is distinguished into two different concepts, gives a satisfying answer to the puzzle. One of these (...) concepts can be had in degrees, which, it is suggested, may be determined by the true proposition's explanatory power. (shrink)
It has become an article of faith among historians of logic that the square of opposition diagram is due not to Aristotle, but to Apuleius. I examine three Aristotelian texts and argue that Prior Analytics I.46 contains a square of opposition, making Aristotle the discoverer of the diagram.
I argue that the ‘aoristic’ operators, which are intended to describe the logic of vagueness, do not form a standard modal logic. I redefine the operators so that they do form a standard modal logic, provide a semantics of that logic, and argue that the logic is not as strong as standardly claimed.
I argue that three different notions of essence—temporal, definitional, and modal—are all distinct notions, and are all philosophically useful. After defining the different notions, I discuss the philosophical problems each addresses.
Formal theories, as in logic and mathematics, are sets of sentences closed under logical consequence. Philosophical theories, like scientific theories, are often far less formal. There are many axiomatic theories of the truth predicate for certain formal languages; on analogy with these, some philosophers (most notably Paul Horwich) have proposed axiomatic theories of the property of truth. Though in many ways similar to logical theories, axiomatic theories of truth must be different in several nontrivial ways. I explore what an axiomatic (...) theory of truth would look like. Because Horwich’s is the most prominent, I examine his theory and argue that it fails as a theory of truth. Such a theory is adequate if, given a suitable base theory, every fact about truth is a consequence of the axioms of the theory. I show, using an argument analogous to Gödel’s incompleteness proofs, that no axiomatic theory of truth could ever be adequate. I also argue that a certain class of generalizations cannot be consequences of the theory. (shrink)
Ramsey defined truth in the following way: x is true if and only if ∃p(x = [p] & p). This definition is ill-formed in standard first-order logic, so it is normally interpreted using substitutional or some kind of higher-order quantifier. I argue that these quantifiers fail to provide an adequate reading of the definition, but that, given certain adjustments, standard objectual quantification does provide an adequate reading.
Vann McGee has argued against solutions to the liar paradox that simply restrict the scope of the T sentences as little as possible. This argument is often taken to disprove Paul Horwich’s preferred solution to the liar paradox for his Minimal Theory of truth. I argue that Horwich’s theory is different enough from the theory McGee criticized that these criticisms do not apply to Horwich’s theory. On the basis of this, I argue that propositional theories, like MT, cannot be evaluated (...) using the same methods as sentential theories. (shrink)
I propose that an adequate name for a proposition will be (1) rigid, in Kripke’s sense of referring to the same thing in every world in which it exists, and (2) transparent, which means that it would be possible, if one knows the name, to know which object the name refers. I then argue that the Standard Way of naming propositions—prefixing the word ‘that’ to a declarative sentence—does not allow for transparent names of every proposition, and that no alternative naming (...) convention does better. I explore the implications of this failure for deflationism about truth, arguing that any theory that requires the T biconditional to be a priori cannot succeed. (shrink)