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.
What does it mean to be truthful? What role does truth play in our lives? What do we lose if we reject truthfulness? No philosopher is better suited to answer these questions than Bernard Williams. Writing with his characteristic combination of passion and elegant simplicity, he explores the value of truth and finds it to be both less and more than we might imagine.Modern culture exhibits two attitudes toward truth: suspicion of being deceived and skepticism that objective (...)truth exists at all. This tension between a demand for truthfulness and the doubt that there is any truth to be found is not an abstract paradox. It has political consequences and signals a danger that our intellectual activities, particularly in the humanities, may tear themselves to pieces.Williams's approach, in the tradition of Nietzsche's genealogy, blends philosophy, history, and a fictional account of how the human concern with truth might have arisen. Without denying that we should worry about the contingency of much that we take for granted, he defends truth as an intellectual objective and a cultural value. He identifies two basic virtues of truth, Accuracy and Sincerity, the first of which aims at finding out the truth and the second at telling it. He describes different psychological and social forms that these virtues have taken and asks what ideas can make best sense of them today. Truth and Truthfulness presents a powerful challenge to the fashionable belief that truth has no value, but equally to the traditional faith that its value guarantees itself. Bernard Williams shows us that when we lose a sense of the value of truth, we lose a lot both politically and personally, and may well lose everything. (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)
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)
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)
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.
'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.
Kevin Scharp proposes an original theory of the nature and logic of truth on which truth is an inconsistent concept that should be replaced for certain theoretical purposes. He argues that truth is best understood as an inconsistent concept, and proposes a detailed theory of inconsistent concepts that can be applied to the case of truth. Truth also happens to be a useful concept, but its inconsistency inhibits its utility; as such, it should be replaced (...) with consistent concepts that can do truth's job without giving rise to paradoxes. To this end, Scharp offers a pair of replacements, which he dubs ascending truth and descending truth, along with an axiomatic theory of them and a new kind of possible-worlds semantics for this theory. He goes to develop Davidson's idea that truth is best understood as the core of a measurement system for rational phenomena, and offers a semantic theory that treats truth predicates as assessment-sensitive and solves the problems posed by the liar and other paradoxes. (shrink)
In this important book, Jürgen Habermas takes up certain fundamental questions of philosophy. While much of his recent work has been concerned with issues of morality and law, in this new work Habermas returns to the traditional philosophical questions of truth, objectivity and reality which were at the centre of his earlier classic book _Knowledge and Human Interests_. In this new work Habermas returns to the traditional philosophical questions of truth, objectivity and reality. Habermas pursues these questions from (...) the perspective of his own formal pragmatic theory which is based on an analysis of speech acts and language use. He asks: How can the idea that our world exists independently of our attempts to describe it be reconciled with the insight that we can never reach reality without the mediation of language? Addresses the limits of philosophy and reassesses the relation between theory and practice from a ‘post-Marxist' perspective. (shrink)
Now in a new edition, this volume updates Davidson's exceptional Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984), which set out his enormously influential philosophy of language. The original volume remains a central point of reference, and a focus of controversy, with its impact extending into linguistic theory, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. Addressing a central question--what it is for words to mean what they do--and featuring a previously uncollected, additional essay, this work will appeal to a wide audience of philosophers, (...) linguists, and psychologists. (shrink)
Deflationists about truth generally regard the contribution that ‘true’ makes to utterances to be purely logical or expressive: it exists to facilitate communication, and remedy our expressive deficiencies that are due to ignorance or finitude. This paper presents a challenge to that view by considering alethic desires. Alethic desires are desires for one’s beliefs to be true. Such desires, I argue, do not admit of any deflationarily acceptable analysis, and so challenge the deflationist’s austere view about the semantic role (...) of ‘true’. I consider a number of deflationist proposals for analyzing alethic desires, and find them all problematic. (shrink)
This monograph examines truth in fiction by applying the techniques of a naturalized logic of human cognitive practices. The author structures his project around two focal questions. What would it take to write a book about truth in literary discourse with reasonable promise of getting it right? What would it take to write a book about truth in fiction as true to the facts of lived literary experience as objectivity allows? It is argued that the most semantically (...) distinctive feature of the sentences of fiction is that they areunambiguously true and false together. It is true that Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street and also concurrently false that he did. A second distinctive feature of fiction is that the reader at large knows of this inconsistency and isn’t in the least cognitively molested by it. Why, it is asked, would this be so? What would explain it? Two answers are developed. According to the no-contradiction thesis, the semantically tangled sentences of fiction are indeed logically inconsistent but not logically contradictory. According to the no-bother thesis, if the inconsistencies of fiction were contradictory, a properly contrived logic for the rational management of inconsistency would explain why readers at large are not thrown off cognitive stride by their embrace of those contradictions. As developed here, the account of fiction suggests the presence of an underlying three - or four-valued dialethic logic. The author shows this to be a mistaken impression. There are only two truth-values in his logic of fiction. The naturalized logic of Truth in Fiction jettisons some of the standard assumptions and analytical tools of contemporary philosophy, chiefly because the neurotypical linguistic and cognitive behaviour of humanity at large is at variance with them. Using the resources of a causal response epistemology in tandem with the naturalized logic, the theory produced here is data-driven, empirically sensitive, and open to a circumspect collaboration with the empirical sciences of language and cognition. (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)
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)
This volume complements two highly successful previously published volumes of Richard Rorty's philosophical papers: Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, and Essays on Heidegger and Others. The essays in the volume engage with the work of many of today's most innovative thinkers including Robert Brandom, Donald Davidson, Daniel Dennett, Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, John McDowell, Hilary Putnam, John Searle, and Charles Taylor. The collection also touches on problems in contemporary feminism raised by Annette Baier, Marilyn Frye, and Catherine MacKinnon, and considers (...) issues connected with human rights and cultural differences. Anyone with a serious interest in contemporary philosophy and what it can do for us in the modern world will enjoy this invaluable collection. (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.
Truth is one of the most debated topics in philosophy; Wolfgang Kunne presents a comprehensive critical examination of all major theories, from Aristotle to the present day. He argues that it is possible to give a satisfactory 'modest' account of truth without invoking problematic notions like correspondence, fact, or meaning. The clarity of exposition and the wealth of examples will make Conceptions of Truth an invaluable and stimulating guide for advanced students and scholars.
I investigate the consequences of Nietzsche's perspectivism for notions of truth and objectivity, and show how the metaphor of visual perspective motivates an epistemology that avoids self-referential difficulties. Perspectivism's claim that every view is only one view, applied to itself, is often supposed to preclude the perspectivist's ability to offer reasons for her epistemology. Nietzsche's arguments for perspectivism depend on “internal reasons”, which have force not only in their own perspective, but also within the standards of alternative perspectives. Internal (...) reasons allow a perspectivist argument against dogmatism without presupposing aperspectival criteria for theory choice. Nietzsche also offers “internal” conceptions of truth and objectivity which reduce them to a matter of meeting our epistemic standards. This view has pluralistic implications, which conflict with common sense, but it is nevertheless consistent and plausible. Nietzsche's position is similar to Putnam's recent internalism, and this is due to their common Kantian heritage. (shrink)
This volume is designed to set out some of the central issues in the theory of truth. It draws together, for the first time, the debates between philosophers who favor 'robust' or 'substantive' theories of truth, and those other, 'deflationist' or minimalists, who deny that such theories can be given. The editors provide a substantial introduction, in which they look at how the debates relate to further issues, such as the Liar paradox and formal truth theories.
Truth and Norms develops a novel pluralistic view of the normative role that truth exerts on judgements. This view, labeled normative alethic pluralism, provides the best explanation of the variable normative significance that disagreement exhibits in different areas of discourse and is fully compatible with a minimalist conception of truth.
Michael Dummett's three John Dewey Lectures--"The Concept of Truth," "Statements About the Past," and "The Metaphysics of Time"--were delivered at Columbia University in the spring of 2002. Revised and expanded, the lectures are presented here along with two new essays by Dummett, "Truth: Deniers and Defenders" and "The Indispensability of the Concept of Truth." In _Truth and the Past,_ Dummett clarifies his current positions on the metaphysical issue of realism and the philosophy of language. He is best (...) known as a proponent of antirealism, which loosely characterizes truth as what we are capable of knowing. The events of the past and statements about them are critical tests of an antirealist position. These essays continue and significantly contribute to Dummett's work. (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)
Beginning with the premise that the principal function of a criminal trial is to find out the truth about a crime, Larry Laudan examines the rules of evidence and procedure that would be appropriate if the discovery of the truth were, as higher courts routinely claim, the overriding aim of the criminal justice system. Laudan mounts a systematic critique of existing rules and procedures that are obstacles to that quest. He also examines issues of error distribution by offering (...) the first integrated analysis of the various mechanisms - the standard of proof, the benefit of the doubt, the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof - for implementing society's view about the relative importance of the errors that can occur in a trial. (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)
Cappelen and Hawthorne present a powerful critique of fashionable relativist accounts of truth, and the foundational ideas in semantics on which the new relativism draws. They argue compellingly that the contents of thought and talk are propositions that instantiate the fundamental monadic properties of truth and falsity.
The author of the highly popular book Think, which Time magazine hailed as "the one book every smart person should read to understand, and even enjoy, the key questions of philosophy," Simon Blackburn is that rara avis--an eminent thinker who is able to explain philosophy to the general reader. Now Blackburn offers a tour de force exploration of what he calls "the most exciting and engaging issue in the whole of philosophy"--the age-old war over truth. The front lines of (...) this war are well defined. On one side are those who believe in plain, unvarnished facts, rock-solid truths that can be found through reason and objectivity--that science leads to truth, for instance. Their opponents mock this idea. They see the dark forces of language, culture, power, gender, class, ideology and desire--all subverting our perceptions of the world, and clouding our judgement with false notions of absolute truth. Beginning with an early skirmish in the war--when Socrates confronted the sophists in ancient Athens--Blackburn offers a penetrating look at the longstanding battle these two groups have waged, examining the philosophical battles fought by Plato, Protagoras, William James, David Hume, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, and many others, with a particularly fascinating look at Nietzsche. Among the questions Blackburn considers are: is science mere opinion, can historians understand another historical period, and indeed can one culture ever truly understand another. Blackburn concludes that both sides have merit, and that neither has exclusive ownership of truth. What is important is that, whichever side we embrace, we should know where we stand and what is to be said for our opponents. (shrink)
Is truth objective 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.
How do we explain the truth of true propositions? Truthmaker theory is the branch of metaphysics that explores the relationships between what is true and what exists. It plays an important role in contemporary debates about the nature of metaphysics and metaphysical enquiry. -/- In this book Jonathan Tallant argues, controversially, that we should reject truthmaker theory. In its place he argues for an 'explanationist' approach. Drawing on a deflationary theory of truth he shows that it allows us (...) to explain the truth of true propositions and respond to recent arguments that purport to show otherwise. He augments this with a distinction between internally and externally quantified claims: externally quantified claims are claims that quantify over elements of our ontology that play an indispensable explanatory role; internally quantified claims do not. He deploys this union of deflationism and a distinction between kinds of quantification to pursue metaphysical inquiry, sketching the implications for a number of first-order debates, including those in the philosophy of time, modality and mathematics, and also shows how this explanationist model can be used to solve the key problems that afflicted truthmaker theory. -/- Truth and the World is an important contribution to debates about truth and truthmaker theory as well as metametaphysics, the metaphysics of time and the metaphysics of mathematics, and is essential reading for students and scholars engaged in the study of these topics. (shrink)
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 1999 Academic debates about pluralism and truth have become increasingly polarized in recent years. One side embraces extreme relativism, deeming any talk of objective truth as philosophically naïve. The opposition, frequently arguing that any sort of relativism leads to nihilism, insists on an objective notion of truth according to which there is only one true story of the world. Both sides agree that there is no middle path. In Truth in (...) Context, Michael Lynch argues that there is a middle path, one where metaphysical pluralism is consistent with a robust realism about truth. Drawing on the work of Hilary Putnam, W.V.O. Quine, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among others, Lynch develops an original version of metaphysical pluralism, which he calls relativistic Kantianism. He argues that one can take facts and propositions as relative without implying that our ordinary concept of truth is a relative, epistemic, or "soft" concept. The truths may be relative, but our concept of truth need not be. (shrink)
Tyler Burge presents a collection of his seminal essays on Gottlob Frege (1848-1925), who has a strong claim to be seen as the founder of modern analytic philosophy, and whose work remains at the centre of philosophical debate today. Truth, Thought, Reason gathers some of Burge's most influential work from the last twenty-five years, and also features important new material, including a substantial introduction and postscripts to four of the ten papers. It will be an essential resource for any (...) historian of modern philosophy, and for anyone working on philosophy of language, epistemology, or philosophical logic. (shrink)
What is truth? Is there anything that all truths have in common that makes them true rather than false? Is truth independent of human thought, or does it depend in some way on what we believe or what we would be justified in believing? In what sense, if any, is it better for beliefs or statements to be true than to be false? In this engaging and accessible new introduction Chase Wrenn surveys a variety of theories of the (...) nature of truth and evaluates their philosophical costs and benefits. Paying particular attention to how the theories accommodate realist intuitions and make sense of truth’s value, he discusses a full range of theories from classical correspondence to relatively new deflationary and pluralist accounts. The book provides a clear, non-technical entry point to contemporary debates about truth for non-specialists. Specialists will also find new contributions to those debates, including a new argument for the superiority of deflationism to causal correspondence and pluralist theories. Drawing on a range of traditional and contemporary debates, this book will be of interest to students and scholars alike and anyone interested in the nature and value of truth. (shrink)
Truth, etc. is a wide-ranging study of ancient logic based upon the John Locke lectures given by the eminent philosopher Jonathan Barnes in Oxford. The book presupposes no knowledge of logic and no skill in ancient languages: all ancient texts are cited in English translation; and logical symbols and logical jargon are avoided so far as possible. Anyone interested in ancient philosophy, or in logic and its history, will find much to learn and enjoy here.
Having outlined a theory of bullshit and falsehood, Harry G. Frankfurt turns to what lies beyond them: the truth, a concept not as obvious as some might expect. Our culture's devotion to bullshit may seem much stronger than our apparently halfhearted attachment to truth. Some people won't even acknowledge "true" and "false" as meaningful categories, and even those who claim to love truth cause the rest of us to wonder whether they, too, aren't simply full of it. (...) Practically speaking, many of us deploy the truth only when absolutely necessary, often finding alternatives to be more saleable, and yet somehow civilization seems to be muddling along. But where are we headed? Is our fast and easy way with the facts actually crippling us? Or is it "all good"? Really, what's the use of truth, anyway? With the same leavening wit and commonsense wisdom that animates his pathbreaking work On Bullshit, Frankfurt encourages us to take another look at the truth: there may be something there that is perhaps too plain to notice but for which we have a mostly unacknowledged yet deep-seated passion. His book will have sentient beings across America asking, "The truth—why didn't I think of that?". (shrink)
Truth is a pervasive feature of ordinary language, deserving of systematic study, and few theorists of truth have endeavoured to chronicle the tousled conceptual terrain forming the non-philosopher’s ordinary view. Joseph Ulatowski recasts the philosophical treatment of truth in light of historical and recent work in experimental philosophy. He argues that the commonsense view of truth is deeply fragmented along two axes, across different linguistic discourses and among different demographics. Call this endoxic alethic pluralism. To defend (...) this view, four conclusions must be reached: (1) endoxic alethic pluralism should be compatible with how the everyday person uses truth, (2) the common conception of truth should be derivable from empirical data, (3) this descriptive metaphysical project is one aspect of a normative theory of truth, and (4) endoxic alethic pluralism is at least partially immune to challenges facing the ecological method in experimental philosophy and alethic pluralism. (shrink)