Arne Næss’s Experiments in Truth

Erkenntnis:1-22 (forthcoming)
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Well over half a century before the development of contemporary experimental philosophy, the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss conducted a number of empirical investigations intended to document non-philosophers’ convictions regarding a number of topics of philosophical interest. In the 1930s and 1950s, Næss collected data relevant to non-philosophers’ conceptions of truth. This research attracted the attention of Alfred Tarski at the time, and has recently been re-evaluated by Robert Barnard and Joseph Ulatowski. In this paper I return to Næss’s research on truth in order to better develop an account of how such empirical data does or doesn’t bear on the philosophical study of truth. I examine Næss’s findings from his various studies on truth, and challenge the interpretation of those studies offered by Barnard and Ulatowski.

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Jamin Asay
Purdue University


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