Truth from the Agent Point of View

Philosophical Quarterly 73 (4):1205-1225 (2022)
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I defend a novel pragmatist account of truth that I call ‘truth from the agent point of view’ or ‘agential truth’, drawing on insights from Hilary Putnam. According to the agential view, as inquirers, when we take something to be truth-apt, we are taking ourselves and all other thinkers to be accountable to getting right a shared target that is independent of any individual's or community's view of that target. That we have this relationship to truth is what enables our practices of disagreement and agreement, even when subject to the glare of self-conscious reflection, and represents a crucial ingredient in our capacity for rational thought. The resulting account shares elements with Huw Price's and Cheryl Misak's views, but also has important advantages over both. It also yields a surprising conclusion—that our best pragmatist account of truth may well be a version of the correspondence theory of truth.

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Matthew Shields
Wake Forest University


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