Lessons on Truth from Kant

Analytic Philosophy 58 (3):171-201 (2017)
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Kant is known for having said relatively little about truth in Critique of Pure Reason. Nevertheless, there are important lessons to be learned from this work about truth, lessons that apply to the contemporary debate on the nature and structure of truth and its theory. In this paper I suggest two such lessons. The first lesson concerns the structure of a substantive theory of truth as contrasted with a deflationist theory; the second concerns the structure of a correspondence theory of truth. The first lesson warns us against conceiving of a substantive theory of truth in a way that led Kant to conclude that such a theory is unviable. In so doing it indirectly suggests what a viable substantive theory of truth would be like. The second lesson teaches us that a correspondence theory of truth need not be as naive and overly simplistic as it is usually thought to be, but can, and should be, far more complex. This lesson is based on a correspondence theory of truth incipient in the Critique, one whose structure reflects the complexity of the relation between mind and world in Kant’s theory.
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Critique of Pure Reason.Kant, Immanuel & Smith, Norman Kemp
Reason, Truth and History.Devitt, Michael & Putnam, Hilary
Spreading the world.Blackburn, Simon
Truth and Objectivity.Wright, Crispin

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