Das Kontingenzpostulat der Wahrheit

Hegel-Jahrbuch 7 (1):320-325 (2005)
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The Contingency Postulate of Truth. - Is there a statement that cannot be false under any contingent conditions? Two well-known philosophical schools have given contradictory answers to this question about the existence of a necessarily true statement: Fallibilists (Albert, Keuth) have denied its existence, transcendental pragmatists (Apel, Kuhlmann) and objective idealists (Wandschneider, Hösle) have affirmed it. Dieter Wandschneider has (following Vittorio Hösle) translated the principle of fallibilism, according to which every statement is fallible, into a thesis which he calls the contingency postulate of truth (CPT). It says: <For every true statement there are contingent conditions.> If this postulate were true, it would mark an insurmountable boundary of knowledge: a final epistemic justification would then not be possible. Wandschneider has therefore developed a counterargument to show that the contingency postulate of truth cannot be formulated without contradiction and implies the thesis that there is at least one necessarily true statement. This essay deals with the systematic question whether the contingency postulate of truth really cannot be presented without contradiction. To this end I will first present the contingency postulate and the associated problems (I.). Then I will analyze Wandschneider's argument against the consistency of the contingency postulate (II.) and finally reject it with the help of some considerations from the field of epistemic logic (III.).

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Gregor Damschen
University of Oldenburg


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