Shopping for Truth Pluralism

Synthese:1-27 (forthcoming)
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Truth pluralists say that the nature of truth varies between domains of discourse: while ordinary descriptive claims or those of the hard sciences might be true in virtue of corresponding to reality, those concerning ethics, mathematics, institutions (or modality, aesthetics, comedy…) might be true in some non-representational or “anti-realist” sense. Despite pluralism attracting increasing amounts of attention, the motivations for the view remain underdeveloped. This paper investigates whether pluralism is well-motivated on ontological grounds: that is, on the basis that different discourses are concerned with different kinds of entities. Arguments that draw on six different ontological contrasts are examined: (i) concrete vs. abstract entities; (ii) mind-independent vs. mind-dependent entities; (iii) sparse vs. merely abundant properties; (iv) objective vs. projected entities; (v) natural vs. non-natural entities; and (vi) ontological pluralism (entities that literally exist in different ways). I argue that the additional premises needed to move from such contrasts to truth pluralism are either implausible or unmotivated, often doing little more than to bifurcate the nature of truth when a more theoretically conservative option is available. If there is a compelling motivation for pluralism, I suggest, it’s likely to lie elsewhere.
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First archival date: 2020-07-10
Latest version: 3 (2020-08-05)
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