Truths are determined not by what we believe, but by the way the world is. Or so realists about truth believe. Philosophers call such theories correspondence theories of truth. Truthmaking theory, which now has many adherents among contemporary philosophers, is the most recent development of a realist theory of truth, and in this book D. M. Armstrong offers the first full-length study of this theory. He examines its applications to different sorts of truth, including contingent truths, (...) modal truths, truths about the past and the future, and mathematical truths. In a clear, even-handed and non-technical discussion he makes a compelling case for truthmaking and its importance in philosophy. His book marks a significant contribution to the debate and will be of interest to a wide range of readers working in analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam deals in this book with some of the most fundamental persistent problems in philosophy: the nature of truth, knowledge and rationality. His aim is to break down the fixed categories of thought which have always appeared to define and constrain the permissible solutions to these problems.
"In this exceptionally brilliant book, ranging effortlessly from Herodotus and Thucydides to Diderot and Nietzsche, Bernard Williams daringly asks--and still more daringly answers--one of the central questions of philosophy: what is the ...
Hilary Putnam deals in this book with some of the most fundamental persistent problems in philosophy: the nature of truth, knowledge and rationality. His aim is to break down the fixed categories of thought which have always appeared to define and constrain the permissible solutions to these problems.
What is truth? Michael Lynch defends a bold new answer to this question. Traditional theories of truth hold that truth has only a single uniform nature. All truths are true in the same way. More recent deflationary theories claim that truth has no nature at all; the concept of truth is of no real philosophical importance. In this concise and clearly written book, Lynch argues that we should reject both these extremes and hold that (...) class='Hi'>truth is a functional property. To understand truth we must understand what it does, its function in our cognitive economy. Once we understand that, we'll see that this function can be performed in more than one way. And that in turn opens the door to an appealing pluralism: beliefs about the concrete physical world needn't be true in the same way as our thoughts about matters -- like morality -- where the human stain is deepest. (shrink)
What is the relation between coherence and truth? This paper rejects numerous answers to this question, including the following: truth is coherence; coherence is irrelevant to truth; coherence always leads to truth; coherence leads to probability, which leads to truth. I will argue that coherence of the right kind leads to at least approximate truth. The right kind is explanatory coherence, where explanation consists in describing mechanisms. We can judge that a scientific theory is (...) progressively approximating the truth if it is increasing its explanatory coherence in two key respects: broadening by explaining more phenomena and deepening by investigating layers of mechanisms. I sketch an explanation of why deepening is a good epistemic strategy and discuss the prospect of deepening knowledge in the social sciences and everyday life. (shrink)
A wide-ranging study of the central concepts in epistemology - belief, truth and knowledge. Professor Armstrong offers a dispositional account of general beliefs and of knowledge of general propositions. Belief about particular matters of fact are described as structures in the mind of the believer which represent or 'map' reality, while general beliefs are dispositions to extend the 'map' or introduce casual relations between portions of the map according to general rules. 'Knowledge' denotes the reliability of such beliefs as (...) representations of reality. Within this framework Professor Armstrong offers a distinctive account of many of the main questions in general epistemology - the relations between beliefs and language, the notions of proposition, concept and idea, the analysis of truth, the varieties of knowledge, and the way in which beleifs and knowledge are supported by reasons. The book as a whole if offered as a contribution to a naturalistic account of man. (shrink)
We present a theory of truth in fiction that improves on Lewis's  ‘Analysis 2’ in two ways. First, we expand Lewis's possible worlds apparatus by adding non-normal or impossible worlds. Second, we model truth in fiction as belief revision via ideas from dynamic epistemic logic. We explain the major objections raised against Lewis's original view and show that our theory overcomes them.
Is the point of belief and assertion invariably to think or say something true? Is the truth of a belief or assertion absolute, or is it only relative to human interests? Most philosophers think it incoherent to profess to believe something but not think it true, or to say that some of the things we believe are only relatively true. Common sense disagrees. It sees many opinions, such as those about matters of taste, as neither true nor false; it (...) takes it as obvious that some of the truth is relative. Mark Richard's accessible book argues that when it comes to truth, common sense is right, philosophical orthodoxy wrong. The first half of the book examines connections between the performative aspects of talk, our emotions and evaluations, and the conditions under which talk and thought qualifies as true or false. It argues that the performative and expressive sometimes trump the semantic, making truth and falsity the wrong dimension of evaluation for belief or assertion. Among the topics taken up are: racial slurs and other epithets; relations between logic and truth; the status of moral and ethical talk; vagueness and the liar paradox. The book's second half defends the idea that much of everyday thought and talk is only relatively true or false. Truth is inevitably relative, given that we cannot work out in advance how our concepts will apply to the world. Richard explains what it is for truth to be relative, rebuts standard objections to relativism, and argues that relativism is consistent with the idea that one view can be objectively better than another. The book concludes with an account of matters of taste and of how it is possible for divergent views of such matters to be equally valid, even if not true or false. When Truth Gives Out will be of interest not only to philosophers who work on language, ethics, knowledge, or logic, but to any thoughtful person who has wondered what it is, or isn't, for something to be true. (shrink)
What is truth. Paul Horwich advocates the controversial theory of minimalism, that is that the nature of truth is entirely captured in the trivial fact that each proposition specifies its own condition for being true, and that truth is therefore an entirely mundane and unpuzzling concept. The first edition of Truth, published in 1980, established itself as the best account of minimalism and as an excellent introduction to the debate for students. For this new edition, Horwich (...) has refined and developed his treatment of the subject in the light of subsequent discussions, while preserving the distinctive format that made the earlier edition so successful. (shrink)
Sherrilyn Roush defends a new theory of knowledge and evidence, based on the idea of "tracking" the truth, as the best approach to a wide range of questions about knowledge-related phenomena. The theory explains, for example, why scepticism is frustrating, why knowledge is power, and why better evidence makes you more likely to have knowledge. Tracking Truth provides a unification of the concepts of knowledge and evidence, and argues against traditional epistemological realist and anti-realist positions about scientific theories (...) and for a piecemeal approach based on a criterion of evidence, a position Roush calls "real anti-realism." Epistemologists and philosophers of science will recognize this as a significant original contribution. (shrink)
In this book, Scott Soames illuminates the notion of truth and the role it plays in our ordinary thought as well as in our logical, philosophical, and scientific theories. Soames aims to integrate and deepen the most significant insights on truth from a variety of sources. He powerfully brings together the best technical work and the most important philosophical reflection on truth and shows how each can illuminate the other. Investigating such questions as whether we need a (...)truth predicate at all, what theoretical tasks it allows us to accomplish, and how we are to understand the content of any predicate capable of accomplishing these tasks, Soames organizes his discussion into three parts. Part I addresses crucial foundational issues as it identifies the bearers of truth, provides a basis for distinguishing truth from other notions, and formulates positive responses to well-known forms of truth-skepticism. Part II explicates the formal theories of Alfred Tarski and Saul Kripke and evaluates the philosophical significance of their work. It discusses their treatments of the Liar paradox, the relationship between truth and proof, the notion of a partially defined predicate, the concepts of logical truth and logical consequence, and the connection between truth and meaning. Part III extends important lessons drawn from Tarski and Kripke into new domains: vague predicates, the Sorites paradox, and the development of a larger, deflationary perspective on truth. Throughout the book, Soames examines a wide range of deflationary theories of truth, and attempts to separate what is correct and worth preserving in them from what is not. In doing so, he seeks to clear up many of the most significant philosophical doubts about truth. Written for a general audience while offering engaging material to the specialist, this rich study will be profitably read by both. (shrink)
The mainstream view in the philosophy of language holds that every meaningful sentence has a truth-condition. This view, however, runs into difficulties with non-objective sentences such as sentences on matters of taste or value: these do not appear to be either true or false, but are generally taken to be meaningful. How can this conflict be resolved? -/- Truth Without Objectivity examines various ways of resolving this fundamental problem, before developing and defending its own original solution, a relativist (...) theory of truth. Standard solutions maintain either that in uttering non-objective sentences speakers make implicit reference to their own preferences and thus have unproblematic truth conditions, or that they have no truth conditions at all. Max Kölbel argues that both of these proposed solutions are inadequate, and that a third well-known position, minimalism, can only solve the problem if it is developed in the direction of relativism about truth. -/- Kölbel defends the idea that truth (as invoked in semantics) is a neutral notion: a sentence’s possessing a truth condition does not yet entail that it concerns an objective subject matter, because truth and objectivity are independent of one another. He argues that this notion of ‘truth without objectivity’ leads directly to relativism about truth, and goes on to defend one form of relativism against well-known objections. (shrink)
During the realist revival in the early years of this century, philosophers of various persuasions were concerned to investigate the ontology of truth. That is, whether or not they viewed truth as a correspondence, they were interested in the extent to which one needed to assume the existence of entities serving some role in accounting for the truth of sentences. Certain of these entities, such as the Sätze an sich of Bolzano, the Gedanken of Frege, or the (...) propositions of Russell and Moore, were conceived as the bearers of the properties of truth and falsehood. Some thinkers however, such as Russell, Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, and Husserl in the Logische Untersuchungen, argued that instead of, or in addition to, truth-bearers, one must assume the existence of certain entities in virtue of which sentences and/or propositions are true. Various names were used for these entities, notably 'fact', 'Sachverhalt', and 'state of affairs'. (1) In order not to prejudge the suitability of these words we shall initially employ a more neutral terminology, calling any entities which are candidates for this role truth-makers. (shrink)
Striving to boldly redirect the philosophy of science, this book by renowned philosopher Philip Kitcher examines the heated debate surrounding the role of science in shaping our lives. Kitcher explores the sharp divide between those who believe that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is always valuable and necessary--the purists--and those who believe that it invariably serves the interests of people in positions of power. In a daring turn, he rejects both perspectives, working out a more realistic image of the sciences--one (...) that allows for the possibility of scientific truth, but nonetheless permits social consensus to determine which avenues to investigate. He then proposes a democratic and deliberative framework for responsible scientists to follow. Controversial, powerful, yet engaging, this volume will appeal to a wide range of readers. Kitcher's nuanced analysis and authorititative conclusion will interest countless scientists as well as all readers of science--scholars and laypersons alike. (shrink)
Dialetheism is the view that some contradictions are true. This is a view which runs against orthodoxy in logic and metaphysics since Aristotle, and has implications for many of the core notions of philosophy. Doubt Truth to Be a Liar explores these implications for truth, rationality, negation, and the nature of logic, and develops further the defense of dialetheism first mounted in Priest's In Contradiction, a second edition of which is also available.
Why, when asking oneself whether to believe that p, must one immediately recognize that this question is settled by, and only by, answering the question whether p is true? Truth is not an optional end for first-personal doxastic deliberation, providing an instrumental or extrinsic reason that an agent may take or leave at will. Otherwise there would be an inferential step between discovering the truth with respect to p and determining whether to believe that p, involving a bridge (...) premise that it is good (in whichever sense of good one likes, moral, prudential, aesthetic, allthings-considered, etc.) to believe the truth with respect to p. But there is no such gap between the two questions within the first-personal deliberative perspective; the question whether to believe that p seems to collapse into the question whether p is true. (shrink)
Presenting a selection of thirteen essays on various topics at the foundations of philosophy--one previously unpublished and eight accompanied by substantial new postscripts--this book offers outstanding insight on truth, meaning, and propositional attitudes; semantic indeterminacy and other kinds of "factual defectiveness;" and issues concerning objectivity, especially in mathematics and in epistemology. It will reward the attention of any philosopher interested in language, epistemology, or mathematics.
Suppose that scientific realists believe that a successful theory is approximately true, and that constructive empiricists believe that it is empirically adequate. Whose belief is more likely to be false? The problem of underdetermination does not yield an answer to this question one way or the other, but the pessimistic induction does. The pessimistic induction, if correct, indicates that successful theories, both past and current, are empirically inadequate. It is arguable, however, that they are approximately true. Therefore, scientific realists overall (...) take less epistemic risk than constructive empiricists. (shrink)
This book examines the philosophical conception of abductive reasoning as developed by Charles S. Peirce, the founder of American pragmatism. It explores the historical and systematic connections of Peirce's original ideas and debates about their interpretations. Abduction is understood in a broad sense which covers the discovery and pursuit of hypotheses and inference to the best explanation. The analysis presents fresh insights into this notion of reasoning, which derives from effects to causes or from surprising observations to explanatory theories. The (...) author outlines some logical and AI approaches to abduction as well as studies various kinds of inverse problems in astronomy, physics, medicine, biology, and human sciences to provide examples of retroductions and abductions. The discussion covers also everyday examples with the implication of this notion in detective stories, one of Peirce’s own favorite themes. The author uses Bayesian probabilities to argue that explanatory abduction is a method of confirmation. He uses his own account of truth approximation to reformulate abduction as inference which leads to the truthlikeness of its conclusion. This allows a powerful abductive defense of scientific realism. This up-to-date survey and defense of the Peircean view of abduction may very well help researchers, students, and philosophers better understand the logic of truth-seeking. (shrink)
"Davidson begins by harking back to an early interest in the classics, and an even earlier engagement with the workings of grammar. In the pleasures of diagramming sentences in grade school, he locates his first glimpse into the mechanics of how we conduct the most important activities in our life - such as declaring love, asking directions, issuing orders, and telling stories. Davidson connects these essential questions with the most basic and yet hard to understand mysteries of language use - (...) how we connect noun to verb. This is a problem that Plato and Aristotle wrestled with, and Davidson draws on their thinking to show how an understanding of linguistic behavior is critical to the formulating of a workable concept of truth. Against a whole army of contemporary philosophers, Davidson argues that the concept of truth is not ambiguous.". (shrink)
The world is complex, but acknowledging its complexity requires an appreciation for the many roles context plays in shaping natural phenomena. In _Unsimple Truths, _Sandra Mitchell argues that the long-standing scientific and philosophical deference to reductive explanations founded on simple universal laws, linear causal models, and predict-and-act strategies fails to accommodate the kinds of knowledge that many contemporary sciences are providing about the world. She advocates, instead, for a new understanding that represents the rich, variegated, interdependent fabric of many levels (...) and kinds of explanation that are integrated with one another to ground effective prediction and action. Mitchell draws from diverse fields including psychiatry, social insect biology, and studies of climate change to defend “integrative pluralism”—a theory of scientific practices that makes sense of how many natural and social sciences represent the multi-level, multi-component, dynamic structures they study. She explains how we must, in light of the now-acknowledged complexity and contingency of biological and social systems, revise how we conceptualize the world, how we investigate the world, and how we act in the world. Ultimately _Unsimple Truths _argues that the very idea of what should count as legitimate science itself should change. (shrink)
What is truth? -- Varieties of deflationism -- A defense of minimalism -- The value of truth -- A minimalist critique of Tarski -- Kripke's paradox of meaning -- Regularities, rules, meanings, truth conditions, and epistemic norms -- Semantics : what's truth got to do with it? -- The motive power of evaluative concepts -- Ungrounded reason -- The nature of paradox -- A world without 'isms' -- The quest for reality -- Being and truth (...) -- Provenance of chapters. (shrink)
This paper deals with the truth-Conditions and the logic for vague languages. The use of supervaluations and of classical logic is defended; and other approaches are criticized. The truth-Conditions are extended to a language that contains a definitely-Operator and that is subject to higher order vagueness.
In this volume Rorty offers a Deweyan account of objectivity as intersubjectivity, one that drops claims about universal validity and instead focuses on utility for the purposes of a community. The sense in which the natural sciences are exemplary for inquiry is explicated in terms of the moral virtues of scientific communities rather than in terms of a special scientific method. The volume concludes with reflections on the relation of social democratic politics to philosophy.
Mark Jago presents and defends a novel theory of what truth is, in terms of the metaphysical notion of truthmaking. This is the relation which holds between a truth and some entity in the world, in virtue of which that truth is true. By coming to an understanding of this relation, he argues, we gain better insight into the metaphysics of truth. The first part of the book discusses the property being true, and how we should (...) understand it in terms of truthmaking. The second part focuses on truthmakers, the worldly entities which make various kinds of truths true, and how they do so. Jago argues for a metaphysics of states of affairs, which account for things having properties and standing in relations. The third part analyses the logic and metaphysics of the truthmaking relation itself, and links it to the metaphysical concept of grounding. The final part discusses consequences of the theory for language and logic. Jago shows how the theory delivers a novel and useful theory of propositions, the entities which are true or false, depending on how things are. A notable feature of this approach is that it avoids the Liar paradox and other puzzling paradoxes of truth. (shrink)
Cheryl Misak argues that truth ought to be reinstated to a central position in moral and political philosophy. She argues that the correct account of truth is one found in a certain kind of pragmatism: a true belief is one upon which inquiry could not improve, a belief which would not be defeated by experience and argument. This account is not only an improvement on the views of central figures such as Rawls and Habermas, but it can also (...) make sense of the idea that, despite conflict, pluralism, and the expression of difference, our moral and political beliefs aim at truth and can be subject to criticism. Anyone interested in a fresh discussion of political theory and philosophy will find this a fascinating read. (shrink)
A realist theory of truth for a class of sentences holds that there are entities in virtue of which these sentences are true or false. We call such entities ‘truthmakers’ and contend that those for a wide range of sentences about the real world are moments (dependent particulars). Since moments are unfamiliar, we provide a definition and a brief philosophical history, anchoring them in our ontology by showing that they are objects of perception. The core of our theory is (...) the account of truthmaking for atomic sentences, in which we expose a pervasive ‘dogma of logical form’, which says that atomic sentences cannot have more than one truthmaker. In contrast to this, we uphold the mutual independence of logical and ontological complexity, and the authors outline formal principles of truthmaking taking account of both kinds of complexity. (shrink)
This monograph presents new ideas in nomic truth approximation. It features original and revised papers from a philosopher of science who has studied the concept for more than 35 years. Over the course of time, the author's initial ideas evolved. He discovered a way to generalize his first theory of nomic truth approximation, viz. by dropping an unnecessarily strong assumption. In particular, he first believed to have to assume that theories were maximally specific in the sense that they (...) did not only exclude certain conceptual possibilities, but also that all non-excluded possibilities were in fact claimed to be nomically possible. Now, he argues that the exclusion claim alone, or for that matter the inclusion claim alone, is sufficient to motivate the formal definition of being closer to the nomic truth. The papers collected here detail this generalized view of nomic truthlikeness or verisimilitude. Besides this, the book presents, in adapted form, the relation with several other topics, such as, domain revision, aesthetic progress, abduction, inference to the best explanation, pragmatic aspects, probabilistic methods, belief revision and epistemological positions, notably constructive realism. Overall, the volume presents profound insight into nomic truth approximation. This idea seeks to determine how one theory can be closer to, or more similar to, the truth about what is nomically, e.g. physically, chemically, biologically, possible than another theory. As a result, it represents the ultimate goal of theory oriented empirical science. Theo Kuipers is the author of Studies in Inductive Probability and Rational Expectation, From Instrumentalism to Constructive Realism and Structures in Science. He is the volume-editor of the Handbook on General Philosophy of Science. In 2005 there appeared two volumes of Essays in Debate with Theo Kuipers, entitled Confirmation, Empirical Progress, and Truth Approximation and Cognitive Structures in Scientific Inquiry. (shrink)
The analytic/synthetic distinction looks simple. It is a distinction between two different kinds of sentence. Synthetic sentences are true in part because of the way the world is, and in part because of what they mean. Analytic sentences - like all bachelors are unmarried and triangles have three sides - are different. They are true in virtue of meaning, so no matter what the world is like, as long as the sentence means what it does, it will be true. -/- (...) This distinction seems powerful because analytic sentences seem to be knowable in a special way. One can know that all bachelors are unmarried, for example, just by thinking about what it means. But many twentieth-century philosophers, with Quine in the lead, argued that there were no analytic sentences, that the idea of analyticity didn't even make sense, and that the analytic/synthetic distinction was therefore an illusion. Others couldn't see how there could fail to be a distinction, however ingenious the arguments of Quine and his supporters. -/- But since the heyday of the debate, things have changed in the philosophy of language. Tools have been refined, confusions cleared up, and most significantly, many philosophers now accept a view of language - semantic externalism - on which it is possible to see how the distinction could fail. One might be tempted to think that ultimately the distinction has fallen for reasons other than those proposed in the original debate. -/- In Truth in Virtue of Meaning, Gillian Russell argues that it hasn't. Using the tools of contemporary philosophy of language, she outlines a view of analytic sentences which is compatible with semantic externalism and defends that view against the old Quinean arguments. She then goes on to draw out the surprising epistemological consequences of her approach. (shrink)
Truth, Language, and History is the much-anticipated final volume of Donald Davidson's philosophical writings. In four groups of essays, Davidson continues to explore the themes that occupied him for more than fifty years: the relations between language and the world; speaker intention and linguistic meaning; language and mind; mind and body; mind and world; mind and other minds. He asks: what is the role of the concept of truth in these explorations? And, can a scientific world view make (...) room for human thought without reducing it to something material and mechanistic? Including a new introduction by his widow, Marcia Cavell, this volume completes Donald Davidson's colossal intellectual legacy. (shrink)
I argue that there is no metaphysically substantive property of truth. Although many take this thesis to be central to deflationism about truth, it is sometimes left unclear what a metaphysically substantive property of truth is supposed to be. I offer a precise account by relying on the distinction between the property and concept of truth. Metaphysical substantivism is the view that the property of truth is a sparse property, regardless of how one understands the (...) nature of sparse properties. I then offer two new arguments against metaphysical substantivism that employ ideas involving recombination and truthmaking. First, I argue that there are no theoretically compelling reasons to posit the existence of a metaphysically substantive property of truth. Secondly, I argue that if we do posit the existence of such a property, then we end up with a view that is either contradictory or unmotivated. What we’re left with is a metaphysically deflationary account of the property of truth that fully respects the metaphysical ambitions of truthmaker theory, and that is consistent with both the view that truth is a deflated, explanatorily impotent concept and the view that truth is an explanatorily powerful concept. (shrink)
Conceptual engineering is the method for assessing and improving our concepts. Some have recently claimed that the implementation of such method in the form of ameliorative projects is truth-driven and should thus be epistemically constrained, ultimately at least (Simion 2018; cf. Podosky 2018). This paper challenges that claim on the assumption of a social constructionist analysis of ideologies, and provides an alternative, pragmatic and cognitive framework for determining the legitimacy of ameliorative conceptual projects overall. The upshot is that one (...) should not ameliorate for the sake of truth or knowledge, in the case of ideologies—at least, not primarily. (shrink)
The concept of truth arguably plays a central role in many areas of philosophical theorizing. Yet, what seems to be one of the most fundamental principles governing that concept, i.e. the equivalence between P and , is inconsistent in full classical logic, as shown by the semantic paradoxes. I propose a new solution to those paradoxes, based on a principled revision of classical logic. Technically, the key idea consists in the rejection of the unrestricted validity of the structural principle (...) of contraction. I first motivate philosophically this idea with the metaphysical picture of the states-of-affairs expressed by paradoxical sentences as being distinctively . I then proceed to demonstrate that the theory of truth resulting from this metaphysical picture is, in many philosophically interesting respects, surprisingly stronger than most other theories of truth endorsing the equivalence between P and (for example, the theory vindicates the validity of the traditional laws of excluded middle and of non-contradiction, and also vindicates the traditional constraint of truth preservation on logical consequence). I conclude by proving a cutelimination theorem that shows the consistency of the theory. (shrink)
There is strong disagreement about whether indicative conditionals have truth values. In this paper, I present a new argument for the conclusion that indicative conditionals have truth values based on the claim that some true statements entail indicative conditionals. I then address four arguments that conclude that indicative conditionals lack truth values, showing them to be inadequate. Finally, I present further benefits to having a worldly view of conditionals, which supports the assignment of truth values to (...) indicative conditionals. I conclude that certain types of account of indicative conditionals, which have been ignored in the literature partly on the basis of assigning truth values to indicative conditionals, deserve consideration. (shrink)
This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on the methods of (...) analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
'Post-truth', Oxford Dictionary's 2016 word of the year, appears to cover only the turn away from reason in contemporary politics. In fact the truth behind 'post-truth' is historically and philosophically more complex. As Fuller shows in this book, it reaches into the nature of knowledge itself.
In recent work on contextdependency, it has been argued that certain types of sentences give rise to a notion of relative truth. In particular, sentences containing predicates of personal taste and moral or aesthetic evaluation as well as epistemic modals are held to express a proposition (relative to a context of use) which is true or false not only relative to a world of evaluation, but other parameters as well, such as standards of taste or knowledge or an agent. (...) Thus, a sentence like chocolate tastes good would express a proposition p that is true or false not only at a world of evaluation, but relative to the additional parameter as well, such as a parameter of taste or an agent. I will argue that the sentences that apparently give rise to relative truth should be understood by relating them in a certain way to the first person. More precisely, such sentences express what I will call firstpersonbased genericity, a form of generalization that is based on or directed toward an essential firstperson application of the predicate. The account differs from standard relative truth account in crucial respects: it is not the truth of the proposition expressed that is relative to the first person; the proposition expressed by a sentence with a predicate of taste rather has absolute truth conditions. Instead it is the propositional content itself that requires a firstpersonal cognitive access whenever it is entertained. This account, I will argue, avoids a range of problems that standard relative truth theories of the sentences in question face and explains a number of further peculiarities that such sentences display. (shrink)
A raft of new philosophical problems concerning truth have recently been discovered by several theorists, following [Fine, 2010]. Most previ- ous commentators on these problems have taken them to shed light on the theory of ground. In this paper, I argue that they also shed light on the theory of truth. In particular, I argue that the notion of ground can be deployed to clearly articulate one strand of deflationary thinking about truth, according to which truth (...) is “metaphysically lightweight.” I offer a ground-theoretic explication of the (entirely bearable) lightness of truth, and show how it yields a novel solution to the problems concerning how truth is grounded. So, the theory of truth and the theory of ground interact fruitfully: we can apply the notion of ground to offer a clear expli- cation of the deflationist claim that truth is “metaphysically lightweight” that both captures the motivations for that claim and solves the problems. (shrink)
This paper argues that a consideration of the problem of providing truthmakers for negative truths undermines truthmaker theory. Truthmaker theorists are presented with an uncomfortable dilemma. Either they must take up the challenge of providing truthmakers for negative truths, or else they must explain why negative truths are exceptions to the principle that every truth must have a truthmaker. The first horn is unattractive since the prospects of providing truthmakers for negative truths do not look good neither absences, nor (...) totality states of affairs, nor Graham Priest and J.C. Beall’s ‘polarities’ (Beall, 2000; Priest, 2000) are up to the job. The second horn, meanwhile, is problematic because restricting the truthmaker principle to atomic truths, or weakening it to the thesis that truth supervenes on being, undercuts truthmaker theory’s original motivation. The paper ends by arguing that truthmaker theory is, in any case, an under-motivated doctrine because the groundedness of truth can be explained without appeal to the truthmaker principle. This leaves us free to give the ommonsensical and deflationary explanation of negative truths that common-sense suggests. (shrink)
In Truth as One and Many, Michael Lynch offers a new theory of truth. There are two kinds of theory of truth in the literature. On the one hand, we have logical theories, which seek to construct formal systems that are consistent, while also containing a predicate which have as many as possible of the properties which we ordinarily take the English predicate ‘is true’ to have; salient examples include Tarski’s and Kripke’s theories of truth. On (...) the other hand, we have metaphysical theories, which seek to give a non-formal account of the nature of truth – of what truth consists in, of what it means to say that something is true; salient examples include correspondence, coherence and deflationary theories of truth. Lynch’s theory – functionalism about truth – is of the second sort.The theory takes its start from a number of principles which Lynch classifies as truisms about truth:Objectivity: The belief that p is true if, and only if, with respect to the belief that p, things are as they are believed to be.Norm of Belief: It is prima facie correct to believe that p if and only if the proposition that p is true.End of Inquiry: Other things being equal, true beliefs are a worthy goal of inquiry.Lynch argues that other familiar principles can be derived from these: for example, Objectivity together with some auxiliary principles and definitions yields versions of the T-schema, and of the principle that beliefs can be true without being warranted and vice versa. These principles are supposed to give the nominal essence of truth – to constitute our folk theory of truth. Lynch …. (shrink)
Why, when asking oneself whether to believe that p, must one immediately recognize that this question is settled by, and only by, answering the question whether p is true? Truth is not an optional end for first-personal doxastic deliberation, providing an instrumental or extrinsic reason that an agent may take or leave at will. Otherwise there would be an inferential step between discovering the truth with respect to p and determining whether to believe that p, involving a bridge (...) premise that it is good to believe the truth with respect to p. But there is no such gap between the two questions within the first-personal deliberative perspective; the question whether to believe that p seems to collapse into the question whether p is true. (shrink)