Recognizing "truth" in Chinese philosophy

Logos and Episteme 7 (3):273-286 (2016)
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Abstract

The debate about truth in Chinese philosophy raises the methodological question How to recognize "truth" in some non-Western tradition of thought? In case of Chinese philosophy it is commonly assumed that the dispute concerns a single question, but a distinction needs to be made between the property of /truth/, the concept of TRUTH, and the word *truth*. The property of /truth/ is what makes something true; the concept of TRUTH is our understanding of /truth/; and *truth*ยท is the word we use to express that understanding. Almost all human beings over the age of 2 have the concept of TRUTH, and therefore, the question whether some tradition has the concept of TRUTH is moot, but that doesn't imply that every language has a (single) word for *truth*. Furthermore, recognizing *truth* is complicated by the conceptual neighbors of TRUTH. What distinguishes *truth* from its neighbors is disquotationality. Theories of /truth/ similarly need to be distinguished from theories about adjacent notions. If a theory is more plausibly interpreted as a theory of /justification/, then it is not a theory of /truth/.

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Lajos L. Brons
Lakeland University

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