Alethic Pluralism for Pragmatists

Synthese 200 (1):1-19 (2022)
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Pragmatism and the correspondence theory of truth are longtime foes. Nevertheless, there is an argument to be made that pragmatists must embrace truth as correspondence. I show that there is a distinctive pragmatic utility to taking truth to be correspondence, and I argue that it would be inconsistent for pragmatists to accept the utility of the belief that truth is correspondence while resisting the premise that this belief is correct. In order to show how pragmatists can embrace truth as correspondence, I develop a kind of alethic pluralism, which treats pragmatist truth as theoretically fundamental to truth as correspondence. This theoretical fundamentality of pragmatist truth allows the pragmatist to conditionally accept truth as correspondence for certain discourses without falling prey to the typical pragmatist objections to correspondence. This pluralist account of truth thus allows pragmatists to concede that, for certain domains of discourse, truth is correspondence, without thereby betraying their pragmatist principles.

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Tom Kaspers
University of St. Andrews


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