Ordinary Truth in Tarski and Næss

In Adrian Kuzniar & Joanna Odrowąż-Sypniewska (eds.), Uncovering Facts and Values. Brill. pp. 67-90 (2016)
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Alfred Tarski seems to endorse a partial conception of truth, the T-schema, which he believes might be clarified by the application of empirical methods, specifically citing the experimental results of Arne Næss (1938a). The aim of this paper is to argue that Næss’ empirical work confirmed Tarski’s semantic conception of truth, among others. In the first part, I lay out the case for believing that Tarski’s T-schema, while not the formal and generalizable Convention-T, provides a partial account of truth that may be buttressed by an examination of the ordinary person’s views of truth. Then, I address a concern raised by Tarski’s contemporaries who saw Næss’ results as refuting Tarski’s semantic conception. Following that, I summarize Næss’ results. Finally, I will contend with a few objections that suggest a strict interpretation of Næss’ results might recommend an overturning of Tarski’s theory.

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Joseph Ulatowski
University of Waikato


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