No Safe Haven for Truth Pluralists

Acta Philosophica Fennica 97:183-205 (2021)
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Truth pluralism offers the latest extension in the tradition of substantive theorizing about truth. While various forms of this thesis are available, most frameworks commit to domain reliance. According to domain reliance, various ways of being true, such as coherence and correspondence, are tied to discourse domains rather than individual sentences. From this follows that the truth of different types of sentences is accounted for by their domain membership. For example, sentences addressing ethical matters are true if they cohere and those addressing extensional states of affairs if they correspond. By tying distinct truth-grounding properties to domains rather than individual sentences, truth pluralists avoid certain issues with definitional ambiguity and indeterminacy. I argue that contrary to the ideal situation, domains fail to provide the sought-after benefits of achieving definitional unambiguity and determinacy in the standard domain reliant pluralist frameworks. The reason is that, when combined with the inherently ambiguous nature of certain truth-relevant terms of sentences, fringe cases emerge, causing some of them to count as members of multiple domains. Consequently, some sentences end up being both true and false in the standard domain reliant pluralist frameworks, thus conflicting with both standard laws of non-contradiction and identity. Finally, I argue that truth pluralists should pay closer attention to the hitherto neglected question of inherent natural language ambiguity.

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Teemu Tauriainen
University of Jyväskylä


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