On rationalist infallibilism, a wide range of both (i) analytic and (ii) synthetic a priori propositions can be infallibly justified (or absolutely warranted), i.e., justified to a degree that entails their truth and precludes their falsity. Though rationalist infallibilism is indisputably running its course, adherence to at least one of the two species of infallible a priori justification refuses to disappear from mainstream epistemology. Among others, Putnam (1978) still professes the a priori infallibility of some category (i) propositions, while Burge (...) (1986, 1988, 1996) and Lewis (1996) have recently affirmed the a priori infallibility of some category (ii) propositions. In this paper, I take aim at rationalist infallibilism by calling into question the a priori infallibility of both analytic and synthetic propositions. The upshot will be twofold: first, rationalist infallibilism unsurprisingly emerges as a defective epistemological doctrine, and second, more importantly, the case for the a priori infallibility of one or both categories of propositions turns out to lack cogency. (shrink)
Minimalism is currently the received deflationary theory of truth. On minimalism, truth is a transparent concept and a deflated property of truth bearers. In this paper, I situate minimalism within current deflationary debate about truth by contrasting it with its main alternative―the redundancy theory of truth. I also outline three of the primary challenges facing minimalism, its formulation, explanatory adequacy and stability, and draw some lessons for the soundness of its conception of truth.
On rationalist infallibilism, a wide range of both (i) analytic and (ii) synthetic a priori propositions can be infallibly justified, i.e., justified in a way that is truth-entailing. In this paper, I examine the second thesis of rationalist infallibilism, what might be called ‘synthetic a priori infallibilism’. Exploring the seemingly only potentially plausible species of synthetic a priori infallibility, I reject the infallible justification of so-called self-justifying propositions.
The superassertability theory of truth, inspired by Crispin Wright (1992, 2003), holds that a statement is true if and only if it is superassertable in the following sense: it possesses warrant that cannot be defeated by any improvement of our information. While initially promising, the superassertability theory of truth is vulnerable to a persistent difficulty highlighted by James Van Cleve (1996) and Terrence Horgan (1995) but not properly fleshed out: it is formally illegitimate in a similar sense that unsophisticated epistemic (...) theories of truth are widely acknowledged to be. Sustained analysis reveals that the unrestricted formal legitimacy argument is firmly grounded in first person conceivability evidence. (shrink)
Linguistic competence, in general terms, involves the ability to learn, understand, and speak a language. The nativist view in the philosophy of linguistics holds that the principal foundation of linguistic competence is an innate faculty of linguistic cognition. In this paper, close scrutiny is given to nativism's fundamental commitments in the area of metaphysics. In the course of this exploration it is argued that any minimally defensible variety of nativism is, for better or worse, married to two theses: linguistic competence (...) is grounded in a faculty of linguistic cognition that is (i) embodied and (ii) whose operating rules are represented in the brains of human language users. (shrink)
According to Field’s influential incompleteness objection, Tarski’s semantic theory of truth is unsatisfactory since the definition that forms its basis is incomplete in two distinct senses: (1) it is physicalistically inadequate, and for this reason, (2) it is conceptually deficient. In this paper, I defend the semantic theory of truth against the incompleteness objection by conceding (1) but rejecting (2). After arguing that Davidson and McDowell’s reply to the incompleteness objection fails to pass muster, I argue that, within the constraints (...) of a non-reductive physicalism and a holism concerning the concepts of truth, reference and meaning, conceding Field’s physicalistic inadequacy conclusion while rejecting his conceptual deficiency conclusion is a promising reply to the incompleteness objection. (shrink)
The weak deflationist about truth is committed to two theses: one conceptual, the other ontological. On the conceptual thesis (what might be called a ‘triviality thesis’), the content of the truth predicate is exhausted by its involvement in some version of the ‘truth-schema’. On the ontological thesis, truth is a deflated property of truth bearers. In this paper, I focus on weak deflationism’s ontological thesis, arguing that it generates an instability in its view of truth: the view threatens to collapse (...) into either that of strong deflationism (i.e., truth is not a property) or that of some form of inflationism (i.e., truth is a substantial property). The instability objection to weak deflationism is sketched by way of a truth-property ascription dilemma, the two horns of which its proponent is at pains to circumvent. (shrink)