Truth in Constructive Empiricism

Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2007)
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Constructive empiricism, the scientific anti-realism championed by Bas van Fraassen, claims to offer an adequate reconstruction of the aim and practice of scientific inquiry without adopting the inflationary metaphysical excesses of scientific realism. In articulating the positions of the realist and the empiricist, van Fraassen freely makes use of the concept of truth. Theories of truth come in a variety of flavors, some more metaphysically stark than others. Deflationary theories of truth, for instance, boast of the ability to offer a full account of the nature of truth without having to succumb to the supposed metaphysical extravagances accompanying more substantive accounts. Constructive empiricism and deflationism about truth seem, then, to form a natural pair. My contention is that such a pairing is not possible— constructive empiricism requires a more substantive account of truth than can be offered by the deflationist.
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