I offer a new theory of faultless disagreement, according to which truth is absolute (non-relative) but can still be non-objective. What's relative is truth-aptness: a sentence like ‘Vegemite is tasty’ (V) can be truth-accessible and bivalent in one context but not in another. Within a context in which V fails to be bivalent, we can affirm that there is no issue of truth or falsity about V, still disputants, affirming and denying V, were not at (...) fault, since, in their context of assertion V was bivalent. This theory requires a theory of assertion that is a form of cognitive expressivism. (shrink)
In matters of personal taste, faultless disagreement occurs between people who disagree over what is tasty, fun, etc., in those cases when each of these people seems equally far from the objectivetruth. Faultless disagreement is often taken as evidence that truth is relative. This article aims to help us avoid the truth-relativist conclusion. The article, however, does not argue directly against relativism; instead, the article defends non-relative truth constructively, aiming to explain faultless disagreement with (...) the resources of semantic contextualism. To this end the article describes and advocates a contextualist solution inspired by supervaluationist truth-value gap approaches. The solution presented here, however, does not require truth value gaps; it preserves both logical bivalence and non-relative truth, even while it acknowledges and explains the possibility of faultless disagreement. The solution is motivated by the correlation between assertions’ being true and their being useful. This correlation, furthermore, is used not only to tell which assertions are true, but also to determine which linguistic intuitions are reliable. (shrink)
In “Are Certain Knowledge Frameworks More Congenial to the Aims of Cross-Cultural Philosophy? A Qualified Yes,” Leigh Jenco responds to an article in which I had argued for a similar conclusion. I had contended roughly that the positing of objectivetruth combined with a fallibilist epistemology best explains why a philosopher from one culture could learn something substantial from another culture. In her response, Jenco contends that this knowledge framework does not account adequately for the intuition that various (...) philosophical traditions have an equal standing and that traditions other than one’s own are not to be considered inferior. In addition, according to Jenco, an appeal to objectivetruth on the part of one epistemic culture is unavoidably oppressive, or overly risks being so, with regard to another one. In this brief reply, I argue that an appeal to objectivetruth in the realms of epistemology and morality in fact makes the most sense of Jenco’s concerns about inegalitarianism and oppression. (shrink)
This article presents a holistic framework for understanding the scienceof plant breeding, as an alternative to the common objectivist andconstructivist approaches in studies of science. It applies thisapproach to understanding disagreements about how to deal with yieldstability. Two contrasting definitions of yield stability are described,and concomitant differences in the understanding and roles ofsustainability and of selection, test, and target environments areexplored. Critical questions about plant breeding theory and practiceare posed, and answers from the viewpoint of the two contrastingdefinitions of yield (...) stability are analyzed, based on key publicationsin the field. Differences in answers to these questions appear to resultboth from the contingencies of plant breeders' experiences withparticular crop varieties and growing environments, and from differencesin social and institutional settings – plant breeding science isboth objectivetruth and social construction. The goal of using aholistic framework is to encourage discussion among plant breeders,farmers, social scientists, and others, of the bases for disagreementswithin plant breeding, in order to facilitate plant breeding'scontribution to a more environmentally, economically, and sociallysustainable agriculture. (shrink)
As we all know, metaphysics and objectivetruth are basically antagonistic, while dialectical materialism and objectivetruth are uniform. This is the common sense of Marxist philosophy and needs no argument. What, then, is the relationship between formal logic as a science and objectivetruth? This involves the problem of the correctness of thought form and the truthfulness of thought content. As shown, this problem is still an unsettled dispute in philosophy and logic circles. (...) There are two opposite views: one view holds that formal logic should concern itself with the correctness of thought form and the truthfulness of thought content; the other holds that formal logic should concern itself only with the correctness of thought form, but not the truthfulness of thought content. The substance of the issue involves the problem of the relationship between formal logic and objectivetruth. We consider that the science of formal logic itself does not and cannot assume the task of solving objectivetruth, since it is basically distinguished from the philosophy of dialectical materialism. However, formal logic does not exclude objectivetruth. It differs basically from metaphysics in that formal logic is a science. Thus, there is no inherent and necessary link between formal logic and objectivetruth. Formal logic does not study the problem of objectivetruth. (shrink)
This short book offers an alternative reading of the impact of modernity on Christian faith to that advanced by Don Cupitt in his television series and book, The Sea of Faith. Hebblethwaite gives a spirited defense of belief in the objective reality of God and in life after death, as opposed to Cupitt's radically interiorized and expressivist view of religion. As attractive as many may find a denial of the traditional church doctrines in favor of an anti-metaphysical, non-dogmatic expressivist (...) version of Christian faith, Hebblethwaite insists that of far greater importance is the question of objectivetruth that he focuses his attention. After arguing against Cupitt's response to the modern situation, Hebblethwaite shows how belief shows how belief in an objective God is both possible and highly plausible, despite the impact of modern science and historical criticism. (shrink)
How can we ever judge about the truth of a scientiﬁc theory? Ostensibly it seems to be no problems concerning such a judgement. Each scientiﬁc theory is expressed by a set of statements, formulated in a deﬁnite language; and we know, in principle, to ascertain whether a sentence is true or false, If we take any formula, say in the ﬁrst order predicate calculus, no matter how complex, and if we know its interpretation, i.e. the appropriate ﬁnite domain of (...) individuals, functions, and truth values of the atoms entering the formula, then we immediately come to know whether our formula is true or false. It is admitted by analogy, that if we come to know the truth values of the basic theory statements, then we can judge if a given theory is true or false. It can be shown, however, that there exists no similar reliable prescription . Let me comment on this in some more detail. (shrink)
Central among the complex philosophical problems created by the development of contemporary physics is the problem of the objectivity of physical knowledge, the problem of the reflection of objective reality in our knowledge.
"I do not doubt that if the truth that the three angles of a triangle equal two right angles were in conflict with someone's right to power or the interests of those who already hold power, then, to the degree that this would be in the power of those whose interests are affected by this truth, the teaching of geometry would be challenged or driven out by the burning of all books on geometry.".
Ronald Dworkin’s ‘right answer thesis’ states that there are objectively right answers to most legal cases, even in hard cases where there is deep and intractable disagreement over what the law requires. Dworkin also believes that when deciding cases in law judges and lawyers must necessarily take moral considerations into account. This is problematic, however, for if moral considerations come into play when legal decisions are made, then there can only be a single right answer as a matter of law (...) if there is a single right answer to the relevant moral question; Dworkin’s right answer thesis implies that morality is objective. Arguing against Brian Leiter’s claim that the only plausible conception of objectivetruth in ‘evaluative’ domains is one modeled on the conception operative in ‘hard’ domains such as science. The following paper will show that this scientific understanding of objectivity is inappropriate for evaluative domains such as morality and law. I demonstrate that, contrary to people like Leiter and John Mackie, this conclusion does not preclude the possibility of objective moral truth. I argue that the conception of objectivity that Dworkin believes is appropriate for domains such as morality and law is a legitimate one, and also that it is one we ought to embrace so that we may indeed speak of objectively ‘right’ answers to legal cases, so that the possibility of law itself is not compromised, and so the state’s authority is made legitimate. (shrink)
Spirituality and science discover that they are both motivated by the desire to know, and realize that mere sensory perception does not guarantee the truth of knowledge. The concepts that emerge in the new sciences show a striking similarity to the ideas that come to the mind of spiritually intuitive persons, giving rise to the hope that with the recognition that at the bottom objective reality and spiritual truth are one, the historic opposition (or feud) between science (...) and spirituality can at last be overcome. (shrink)
The project of developing a pragmatic theory of meaning aims at an anti-metaphysical, therefore anti-representationalist and anti-subjectivist, analysis of truth and reference. In order to understand this project we have to remember the turns or twists given to Frege's and Wittgenstein's original idea of inferential semantics (with Kant and Hegel as predecessors) in later developments like formal axiomatic theories (Hilbert, Tarski, Carnap), regularist behaviorism (Quine), mental regulism and interpretationism (Chomsky, Davidson), social behaviorism (Sellars, Millikan), intentionalism (Grice), conventionalism (D. Lewis), (...) justificational theories (Dummett, Lorenzen) and, finally, Brandom's normative pragmatics. (shrink)
The project of developing a pragmatic theory of meaning aims at an anti-metaphysical, therefore anti-representationalist and anti-subjectivist, analysis of truth and reference. In order to understand this project we have to remember the turns or twists given to Frege's and Wittgenstein's original idea of inferential semantics in later developments like formal axiomatic theories , regularist behaviorism , mental regulism and interpretationism , social behaviorism , intentionalism , conventionalism , justificational theories and, finally, Brandom's normative pragmatics.
Objective: To determine whether the marks in the third year Objective Structured Clinical Examination were affected by the collusion reported by the students themselves on an electronic discussion board.Design: A review of the student discussion, examiners’ feedback and a comparison of the marks obtained on the 2 days of the OSCE.Participants: 255 third year medical students.Setting: An OSCE consisting of 15 stations, administered on three sites over 2 days at a UK medical school.Results: 40 students contributed to the (...) discussion on the electronic discussion board. The main points raised were perceived inequity between students who did, or did not, have prior knowledge of the station content, and the lack of honesty and professionalism of their peers. Most contributors claimed to have received, or knew of others receiving, prior knowledge, but none confessed to passing on information. No significant difference was observed in the overall mark for the OSCE on day 1 ) and day 2 ). On day 2, marks were considerably greater for four stations and markedly lower for three stations. It was not obvious why collusion should affect these station marks. A clear indication of the effects of collusion could only be obtained from a single subsection of an individual station where 82 students on day 2 incorrectly gave the diagnosis from day 1.Conclusion: Marks do not provide a sound inference of student collusion in an OSCE and may mask the aspects of professional development of students. (shrink)
To what extent is truth required for reconciliation of peoples in conflict? What kind of truth? Objectivetruth, subjective truth? Maybe reconciliation require that the pursuit of truth be limited? The trial of the former “Khmer Rouge” leaders in Cambodia for crimes against humanity provides a case where these issues are examined.
The chapter first provides a detailed exposition of Davidson's triangulation argument to the effect that only someone who has interacted simultaneously with another person and the world they share could have a language and thoughts. It then examines the core objections that have been made to the argument, namely, that triangulation is not needed either to fix the propositional contents of one's thoughts and utterances or to have the concept of objectivetruth; that one need not have the (...) concept of objectivetruth in order to be a thinker and speaker; and that the account the argument gives of what makes thought and language possible is circular. (shrink)
Two meanings of "subjective consequentialism" are distinguished: conscious deliberation with the aim of producing maximally-good consequences, versus acting in ways that, given one's evidence set and reasoning capabilities, is subjectively most likely to maximize expected consequences. The latter is opposed to "objective consequentialism," which demands that we act in ways that actually produce the best total consequences. Peter Railton's arguments for a version of objective consequentialism confuse the two subjective forms, and are only effective against the first. After (...) reviewing the arguments of Eric Wiland and Frances Howard-Snyder against objective consequentialism, two of Railton's arguments which might seem to count against the second form of subjective consequentialism are shown to be ineffective. This leaves subjective consequentialism as a viable theory to replace objective consequentialism with. (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)
Many philosophical positions wholly undermine themselves because to possess the truth that they claim for themselves they would have to be false. These are the theories that in one way or another reject the meaningfulness or attainability of objectivetruth.
Whether truth, morality, and beauty have an objective basis has been a perennial question for philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics, while for a great many relativists and skeptics it poses a problem without a solution. In this essay, the author proposes an innovative approach that shows how cognitive intelligence, moral intelligence, and aesthetic intelligence provide the basis needed for objective judgments about truth, morality, and beauty.
The aim of this paper is to show that the account of objectivetruth taken for granted by logicians at least since the publication in 1933 of Tarski’s “The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages” arose out of a tradition of philosophical thinking initiated by Bolzano and Brentano. The paper shows more specifically that certain investigations of states of affairs and other objectual correlates of judging acts, investigations carried out by Austrian and Polish philosophers around the turn (...) of the century, formed part of the background of views that led to standard current accounts of the objectivity of truth. It thus lends support to speculations on the role of Brentano and his heirs in contemporary logical philosophy advanced by Jan Wolenski in his masterpiece of 1989 on the Logic and philosophy in the Lvov-Warsaw School. (shrink)
There are two basic positions where tolerance as political strategy and moral viewpoint is rejected or made redundant. We are hostile to tolerance when we hold that we are defending an objectivetruth—religious or secular—which should also be defended and maintained by means of political and legal power. And tolerance become superfluous also when the affirmation of plurality becomes total, and tolerance identical to a vive la difference. As recent developments in my own country—the Netherlands—have demonstrated, the political (...) outcome of this last position is remarkably enough not necessarily an all-inclusive relativistic tolerance. It may just as well be one of intolerance towards ‘believers’ of all kinds, in short: tolerance becomes polemical and belligerent. Turning to religious fundamentalism or ultra-orthodoxy could then become a possible reaction to this relativistic and subjectivist position, as demonstrated in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel The Penitent. Between these two positions of hostility or indifference towards tolerance, we can situate that democratic attitude which may rightly be called ‘tolerance’. As ethical position, the tolerant citizen accepts the democratic disjunction between my truth and the symmetrical justice between citizens. As political strategy, a tolerant democratic regime is based upon a political act of exclusion of what I will here call ‘political fundamentalism’. (shrink)
This paper reexamines Kierkegaard's work with respect to the question whether truth is one or many. I argue that his famous distinction between objective and subjective truth is grounded in a unitary conception of truth as such: truth as self-coincidence. By explaining his use in this context of the term ‘redoubling’ [Fordoblelse], I show how Kierkegaard can intelligibly maintain that truth is neither one nor many, neither a simple unity nor a complex multiplicity. I (...) further show how these points shed much-needed light on the relationship between objective and subjective truth, conceived not as different kinds or species of truth but as different ways in which truth manifests itself as a standard of success across different contexts of inquiry. (shrink)
Is truthobjective or relative? What exists independently of our minds? The essays in this book debate these two questions, which are among the oldest of philosophical issues and have vexed almost every major philosopher, from Plato, to Kant, to Wittgenstein. Fifteen eminent contributors bring fresh perspectives, renewed energy, and original answers to debates of great interest both within philosophy and in the culture at large.
This is a reply to de Sousa's 'Emotional Truth', in which he argues that emotions can be objective, as propositional truths are. I say that it is better to distinguish between truth and accuracy, and agree with de Sousa to the extent of arguing that emotions can be more or less accurate, that is, based on the facts as they are.
Truth and knowledge are conceptually related and there is a way of construing both that implies that they cannot be solely derived from a description that restricts itself to a set of scientific facts. In the first section of this essay, I analyse truth as a relation between a praxis, ways of knowing, and the world. In the second section, I invoke the third thing—the objective reality on which we triangulate as knowing subjects for the purpose of (...) complex scientific endeavours like medical science and clinical care. Such praxes develop robust methods of “keeping in touch” with disease and illness. An analysis drawing on philosophical semantics motivates the needed account of meaning and truth and underpins the following argument: the formulation and dissemination of knowledge rests on language; language is selective in what it represents in any given situation; the praxes of a given culture are based on this selectivity; but human health and illness involve whole human beings in a human life-world; therefore, medical knowledge should reflectively transcend, where required, biomedical science towards a more inclusive view. Parts three and four argue that a post-structuralist account of the human subject can avoid both scientism and idealism or unconstrained relativism. (shrink)
Abstract: This paper responds to the question posed in the announcement of the conference at Brooklyn Law School at which it was presented: if and how [the inquiry into the reliability of proffered scientific testimony mandated by Daubert] relates to 'truth,' and whose view of the truth should prevail. The first step is to sketch the legal history leading up to Daubert, and to explore some of the difficulties Daubert brought in its wake; the next, to develop an (...) account of truth in the sciences that combines a full acknowledgment of the fallibility and incompleteness of the scientific enterprise with a robustly objective conception of truth - which helps us understand why the legal system often gets less than the best out of science; and finally, exploring the concept of legal truth, to show how false scientific clams sometimes get entrenched as legally reliable. (shrink)
Many scholars claimed that, according to Immanuel Kant, some judgements lack a truth-value: analytic judgements, judgements about items of which humans cannot have experience, judgements of perception, and non-assertoric judgements. However, no one has undertaken an extensive examination of the textual evidence for those claims. Based on an analysis of Kant's texts, I argue that: (1) according to Kant, only judgements of perception are not truth-apt. All other judgements are truth-apt, including analytic judgements and judgements about items (...) of which humans cannot have experience. (2) Kant sometimes states that truth-apt judgements are actual bearers of truth or falsity only when they are taken to state what is actually the case. Kant calls these judgements assertoric. Other texts ascribe truth and falsity to judgements, regardless of whether they are assertoric. Kant's views on truth-aptness raise challenges for correspondentist and coherentist interpretations of Kant's theory of truth; they rule out the identification of Kant's crucial notion of objective validity with truth-aptness; and they imply that Kant was not a verificationist about truth or meaning. (shrink)
The central claim of this essay is that many deflationary theories of truth are variants of the correspondence theory of truth. Essential to the correspondence theory of truth is the proposal that objective features of the world are the truthmakers of statements. Many advocates of deflationary theories (including F. P. Ramsay, P. F. Strawson and Paul Horwich) remain committed to this proposal. Although T-sentences (statements of the form “ s is true iff p ”) are presented (...) by advocates of deflationary theories of truth as truisms or analytic truths, T-sentences are often understood as entailing commitment to the central proposal of the correspondence theory. (shrink)
In a remarkable series of papers, Haugeland lays out what is both a striking interpretation of Heidegger and a compelling account of objectivity and truth. Central to his account is a notion of existential commitment: a commitment to insist that one's understanding of the world succeeds in making sense of the phenomena and so potentially to change or give up on that understanding in the face of apparently impossible phenomena. Although Haugeland never gives a clear account of existential commitment, (...) he claims that it is fundamentally an individual matter. This, I argue, is a mistake that fails to make sense of the public, shared nature of the objective world. Instead, I offer an account of existential commitment as one we undertake *jointly*, and I analyze it (and the corresponding responsibility) in terms of interpersonal rational patterns of reactive attitudes: emotions like resentment, gratitude, indignation, approbation, guilt, and trust. The upshot is that our existential commitment is not only to a shared, objective world but also to each other such that our ability individually to *take* responsibility for our understanding of the world is intelligible only in terms of others' being able to *hold* us responsible for it. (shrink)
The criterion of truth is the measure of the truthfulness and reliability of our knowledge. It is also the basis for determining the correctness of our concepts and how much our perceptions, ideas, and concepts accord with objective reality. Idealism holds to the idea that the criterion of truth does not involve the integration between theory as created by human intelligence and objective reality, but rather that the criterion of truth involves the "clarity and correctness" (...) of perception, viewpoints, and concepts by the subject. For instance, the Machists 1 think that the criterion of truth is experience, however, they neither interpret experience from a materialistic viewpoint, nor view experience as the result of humans interacting with nature as they reform it. The Machists view experience as a summary of perceptions and as the subjective experience of humans. In this sense, perception must be tested by perception itself. In attempting to escape the trap of solipsism , they proposed "collective experience" as the criterion of truth. According to such a view, anything that involves "common significance," that is, anything acknowledged by everyone, is the truth. Lenin exposed the absurdity of idealist theory by pointing out that by following the view of "socially formed experience" it is very easy to consider as normal the most absurd and farcical notions, such as ghosts, for such beliefs are also a form of human "experience." Religion also possesses a "common significance," for innumerable people believe in ghosts and miracles, etc. Nevertheless, religion does not become the truth because of this. The concept of the "criterion of truth" held by the Machists played a dominant role in modern bourgeois philosophy. Jean Jacques Rousseau and John Dewey, along with other reactionaries in philosophy all denied scientific criteria. They would rather that the masses remain ignorant of how to understand and determine the truth. (shrink)
The paper discusses Bernard Bolzano’s epistemological approach to believing and knowing with regard to the epistemic requirements of an axiomatic model of science. It relates Bolzano’s notions of believing, knowing and evaluation to notions of infallibility, immediacy and foundational truth. If axiomatic systems require their foundational truths to be infallibly known, this knowledge involves both evaluation of the infallibility of the asserted truth and evaluation of its being foundational. The twofold attempt to examine one’s assertions and to do (...) so by searching for the objective grounds of the truths asserted lies at the heart of Bolzano’s notion of knowledge. However, the explanatory task of searching for grounds requires methods that cannot warrant infallibility. Hence, its constitutive role in a conception of knowledge seems to imply the fallibility of such knowledge. I argue that the explanatory task contained in Bolzanian knowing involves a high degree of epistemic virtues, and that it is only through some salient virtue that the credit of infallibility can distinguish Bolzanian knowing from a high degree of Bolzanian believing. (shrink)
In his essay The Origin of the Work of Art, Martin Heidegger discusses three examples of artworks: a painting by Van Gogh of peasant shoes, a poem about a Roman fountain, and a Greek temple. The new entry on Heidegger’s aesthetics in the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy, written by Iain Thomson, focuses on this essay, and Van Gogh’s painting in particular. It argues that Heidegger uses Van Gogh’s painting to set art, as the happening of truth, in relation to (...) ‘nothing’, which is a key term in Heidegger’s essays leading up to The Origin of the Work of Art. This paper extends a similar analysis to the Greek temple as a way of offering an exposition of Heidegger’s concerns in the essay. It begins by briefly outlining Thomson’s argument that Heidegger relates Van Gogh’s painting to ‘nothing’, and indicating the way this argument can be extended to the Greek temple. It then discusses three ways in which ‘nothing’ can open up the significance of the temple as a work of art in which truth happens: (1) it is not concerned with objective representation; (2) it depicts the primal strife of earth and world, concealing and unconcealing; (3) it is fundamentally historical. (shrink)
This project was undertaken as a response to a perceived deficiency regarding the role of communication in a large block of the phenomenological discourse on lying. The arguments presented here attempt to make the communication process an explicit, rather than an implicit component of this discussion. First, a ‘lie’ is explained as a communicative act that is identified by making a simple comparison between two contradictory realities, the reality presented by the lie, and some sort of ‘true’ reality. Existing discussions (...) of lying are examined and judged to be deficient because they limit their explanations of this ‘true reality’ to subjective and objective standards of truth. Intersubjectivity is presented as an alternative truth standard, and it is argued that ‘lies’ can only be discovered and understood through a process of interpretation or negotiation (dialogue) by human interactants. (shrink)
Truth is a fundamental objective of adjudicative processes; ideally, substantive as distinct from formal legal truth. But problems of evidence, for example, may frustrate finding of substantive truth; other values may lead to exclusions of probative evidence, e.g., for the sake of fairness. Jury nullification and jury equity. Limits of time, and definitiveness of decision, require allocation of burden of proof. Degree of truth-formality is variable within a system and across systems.
The presence of interpretation according to different perspectives in art forms in which we expect the 'truth' about the subject matter, provides an opportunity to understand what truth means in the context of perspectivism, the view that there is no objective standard of truth free from any perspective against which we can measure the veracity of an account. In this article, I explore perspectival truth through Nietzsche's philosophical autobiography, Ecce Homo , and Herzog's films, particularly (...) Little Dieter Needs to Fly. I argue that these artworks both contribute to and exemplify a perspectival truth practice. (shrink)