Tarski's indefinability theorem shows us that truth is not definable in arithmetic. The requirement to define truth for a language in a stronger language (if contradiction is to be avoided) lapses for particularly weak languages. A weaker language, however, is not necessary for that lapse. It also lapses for an adequately weak theory. It turns out that the set of G{\"o}del numbers of sentences true in arithmetic modulo $n$ is definable in arithmetic modulo $n$.
We present a construction of a truth class (an interpretation of a compositional truthpredicate) in an arbitrary countable recursively saturated model of first-order arithmetic. The construction is fully classical in that it employs nothing more than the classical techniques of formal proof theory.
I begin with an exposition of the two main variants of the Prosentential Theory of Truth (PT), those of Dorothy Grover et al. and Robert Brandom. Three main types of criticisms are then put forward: (1) material criticisms to the effect that (PT) does not adequately explain the linguistic data, (2) an objection to the effect that no variant of (PT) gives a properly unified account of the various occurrences of "true" in English, and, most importantly, (3) a charge (...) that the comparison with proforms is explanatorily idle. The last objection is that, given a complete semantic account of pronouns, proadjectives, antecedents, etc., together with a complete (PT), the essential semantic character of "true" could be deduced, but then, the idleness of the comparison with pronouns would be apparent. It turns out that objections (2) and (3) are related in the following way: the prosentential terminology is held to conceal the lack of unity in (PT), by describing the different data in the same terms ("proform", "antecedent", etc.). But this, I argue, is only a way of truly describing, rather than explaining, the data, these being certain relations of equivalence and consequence between sentences. I consider a language for which (PT) would be not only true, but also explanatory, but note that this language is very different from English. I end by showing that Robert Brandom's case that "is true" is not a predicate fails, and that his motivation for saying so is based on fallacious reasoning (namely, Boghossian's argument against deflationism). (shrink)
I here develop a specific version of the deflationary theory of truth. I adopt a terminology on which deflationism holds that an exhaustive account of truth is given by the equivalence between truth-ascriptions and de-nominalised (or disquoted) sentences. An adequate truth-theory, it is argued, must be finite, non-circular, and give a unified account of all occurrences of “true”. I also argue that it must descriptively capture the ordinary meaning of “true”, which is plausibly taken to be (...) unambiguous. Ch. 2 is a critical historical survey of deflationary theories, where notably disquotationalism is found untenable as a descriptive theory of “true”. In Ch. 3, I aim to show that deflationism cannot be finitely and non-circularly formulated by using “true”, and so must only mention it. Hence, it must be a theory specifically about the word “true” (and its foreign counterparts). To capture the ordinary notion, the theory must thus be an empirical, use-theoretic, semantic account of “true”. The task of explaining facts about truth now becomes that of showing that various sentences containing “true” are (unconditionally) assertible. In Ch. 4, I defend the claim (D) that every sentence of the form “That p is true” and the corresponding “p” are intersubstitutable (in a use-theoretic sense), and show how this claim provides a unified and simple account of a wide variety of occurrences of “true”. Disquotationalism then only has the advantage of avoiding propositions. But in Ch. 5, I note that (D) is not committed to propositions. Use-theoretic semantics is then argued to serve nominalism better than truth-theoretic ditto. In particular, it can avoid propositions while sustaining a natural syntactic treatment of “that”-clauses as singular terms and of “Everything he says is true”, as any other quantification. Finally, Horwich’s problem of deriving universal truth-claims is given a solution by recourse to an assertibilist semantics of the universal quantifier. (shrink)
We sketch an account according to which the semantic concepts themselves are not pathological and the pathologies that attend the semantic predicates arise because of the intention to impose on them a role they cannot fulfill, that of expressing semantic concepts for a language that includes them. We provide a simplified model of the account and argue in its light that (i) a consequence is that our meaning intentions are unsuccessful, and such semantic predicates fail to express any concept, and (...) that (ii) in light of this it is incorrect to characterize the pathology simply as semantic inconsistency; a more nuanced view of the problem is needed. We also show that the defects of the semantic predicates need not undercut the use of a truth theory in a compositional semantics for a language containing them because the meaning theory per se need not involve commitment to the axioms of the truth theory it exploits. (shrink)
In this paper I am concerned with the semantic analysis of sentences of the form 'It is true that p'. I will compare different proposals that have been made to analyse such sentences and will defend a view that treats this sentences as a mere sytactic variation of sentences of the form 'That p is true'.
On the basis of elementary thinking about language functioning, a solution of truth paradoxes is given and a corresponding semantics of a truthpredicate is founded. It is shown that it is precisely the two-valued description of the maximal intrinsic fixed point of the strong Kleene three-valued semantics.
The concept of truth has many aims but only one source. The article describes the primary concept of truth, here called the synthetic concept of truth, according to which truth is the objective result of the synthesis of us and nature in the process of rational cognition. It is shown how various aspects of the concept of truth -- logical, scientific, and mathematical aspect -- arise from the synthetic concept of truth. Also, it is (...) shown how the paradoxes of truth arise. (shrink)
Every countable language which conforms to classical logic is shown to have an extension which has a consistent definitional theory of truth. That extension has a consistent semantical theory of truth, if every sentence of the object language is valuated by its meaning either as true or as false. These theories contain both a truthpredicate and a non-truthpredicate. Theories are equivalent when sentences of the object lqanguage are valuated by their meanings.
In this paper a class of languages which are formal enough for mathematical reasoning is introduced. Its languages are called mathematically agreeable. Languages containing a given MA language L, and being sublanguages of L augmented by a monadic predicate, are constructed. A mathematical theory of truth (shortly MTT) is formulated for some of those languages. MTT makes them fully interpreted MA languages which posses their own truth predicates. MTT is shown to conform well with the eight norms (...) formulated for theories of truth in the paper 'What Theories of Truth Should be Like (but Cannot be)', by Hannes Leitgeb. MTT is also free from infinite regress, providing a proper framework to study the regress problem. Main tools used in proofs are Zermelo-Fraenkel (ZF) set theory and classical logic. (shrink)
Deflationists claim that the truthpredicate was introduced into our language merely to full a certain logico-linguistic function. Oddly enough, the question what this function exactly consists in has received little attention. We argue that the best way of understanding the function of the truthpredicate is as enabling us to mimic higher-order quantification in a first-order framework. Indeed, one can show that the full simple theory of types is reducible to disquotational principles of truth. (...) Our analysis has important consequences for our understanding of truth. In this paper, we can only touch on one of them: we will argue that the insubstantiality of truth does not imply a conservativity requirement on our best theories of truth. (shrink)
According to what Jonathan Bennett calls the Kant–Frege view of existence, Frege gave solid logical foundations to Kant’s claim that existence is not a real predicate. In this article I will challenge Bennett’s claim by arguing that although Kant and Frege agree on what existence is not, they agree neither on what it is nor on the importance and justification of existential propositions. I identify three main differences: first, whereas for Frege existence is a property of a concept, for (...) Kant it is a relational property pertaining between the concept and intuition of an object. Second, whereas for Frege truth about individuals presupposes their existence, for Kant truth is in many cases independent of the existence of objects. Third, whereas Frege binds logic to existence and removes modalities from logic, for Kant existence is a modal category that is emphatically removed from the domain of logic and set in the core of metaphysics. Due to these differences in Kant’s and Frege’s theories of existence, Frege cannot be seen as giving logical clarity to Kant’s view. (shrink)
This article informally presents a solution to the paradoxes of truth and shows how the solution solves classical paradoxes (such as the original Liar) as well as paradoxes that were invented as counter-arguments for various proposed solutions to the paradoxes of truth (``revenges of the Liar''). Also, one erroneous critique of Kripke-Feferman axiomatic theory of truth, which is present in contemporary literature, is pointed out.
The weak deflationist about truth is committed to two theses: one conceptual, the other ontological. On the conceptual thesis (what might be called a ‘triviality thesis’), the content of the truthpredicate is exhausted by its involvement in some version of the ‘truth-schema’. On the ontological thesis, truth is a deflated property of truth bearers. In this paper, I focus on weak deflationism’s ontological thesis, arguing that it generates an instability in its view of (...)truth: the view threatens to collapse into either that of strong deflationism (i.e., truth is not a property) or that of some form of inflationism (i.e., truth is a substantial property). The instability objection to weak deflationism is sketched by way of a truth-property ascription dilemma, the two horns of which its proponent is at pains to circumvent. (shrink)
Kripke [1975] gives a formal theory of truth based on Kleene's strong evaluation scheme. It is probably the most important and influential that has yet been given—at least since Tarski. However, it has been argued that this theory has a problem with generalized quantifiers such as All—that is, All ϕs are ψ—or Most. Specifically, it has been argued that such quantifiers preclude the existence of just the sort of language that Kripke aims to deliver—one that contains its own (...) class='Hi'>truthpredicate. In this paper I solve the problem by showing how Kleene's strong scheme, and Kripke's theory based on it, can in a natural way be extended to accommodate the full range of generalized quantifiers. (shrink)
One of the most fundamental questions in the philosophy of mathematics concerns the relation between truth and formal proof. The position according to which the two concepts are the same is called deflationism, and the opposing viewpoint substantialism. In an important result of mathematical logic, Kurt Gödel proved in his first incompleteness theorem that all consistent formal systems containing arithmetic include sentences that can neither be proved nor disproved within that system. However, such undecidable Gödel sentences can be established (...) to be true once we expand the formal system with Alfred Tarski s semantical theory of truth, as shown by Stewart Shapiro and Jeffrey Ketland in their semantical arguments for the substantiality of truth. According to them, in Gödel sentences we have an explicit case of true but unprovable sentences, and hence deflationism is refuted. -/- Against that, Neil Tennant has shown that instead of Tarskian truth we can expand the formal system with a soundness principle, according to which all provable sentences are assertable, and the assertability of Gödel sentences follows. This way, the relevant question is not whether we can establish the truth of Gödel sentences, but whether Tarskian truth is a more plausible expansion than a soundness principle. In this work I will argue that this problem is best approached once we think of mathematics as the full human phenomenon, and not just consisting of formal systems. When pre-formal mathematical thinking is included in our account, we see that Tarskian truth is in fact not an expansion at all. I claim that what proof is to formal mathematics, truth is to pre-formal thinking, and the Tarskian account of semantical truth mirrors this relation accurately. -/- However, the introduction of pre-formal mathematics is vulnerable to the deflationist counterargument that while existing in practice, pre-formal thinking could still be philosophically superfluous if it does not refer to anything objective. Against this, I argue that all truly deflationist philosophical theories lead to arbitrariness of mathematics. In all other philosophical accounts of mathematics there is room for a reference of the pre-formal mathematics, and the expansion of Tarkian truth can be made naturally. Hence, if we reject the arbitrariness of mathematics, I argue in this work, we must accept the substantiality of truth. Related subjects such as neo-Fregeanism will also be covered, and shown not to change the need for Tarskian truth. -/- The only remaining route for the deflationist is to change the underlying logic so that our formal languages can include their own truth predicates, which Tarski showed to be impossible for classical first-order languages. With such logics we would have no need to expand the formal systems, and the above argument would fail. From the alternative approaches, in this work I focus mostly on the Independence Friendly (IF) logic of Jaakko Hintikka and Gabriel Sandu. Hintikka has claimed that an IF language can include its own adequate truthpredicate. I argue that while this is indeed the case, we cannot recognize the truthpredicate as such within the same IF language, and the need for Tarskian truth remains. In addition to IF logic, also second-order logic and Saul Kripke s approach using Kleenean logic will be shown to fail in a similar fashion. (shrink)
Consider truth predicates. Minimalist analyses of truth predicates may involve commitment to some of the following claims: (i) truth “predicates” are not genuine predicates -- either because the truth “predicate” disappears under paraphrase or translation into deep structure, or because the truth “predicate” is shown to have a non-predicative function by performative or expressivist analysis, or because truth “predicates” must be traded in for predicates of the form “true-in-L”; (ii) truth predicates (...) express ineligible, non-natural, gerrymandered properties; (iii) truth predicates express metaphysically lightweight properties; (iv) truth predicates have thin conceptual roles; (v) truth predicates express properties with no hidden essence; (vi) truth predicates express properties which have no causal or explanatory role in canonical formulations of fundamental theories. (shrink)
Kant claims that the nominal definition of truth is: “Truth is the agreement of cognition with its object”. In this paper, I analyse the relevant features of Kant's theory of definition in order to explain the meaning of that claim and its consequences for the vexed question of whether Kant endorses or rejects a correspondence theory of truth. I conclude that Kant's claim implies neither that he holds, nor that he rejects, a correspondence theory of truth. (...) Kant's claim is not a generic way of setting aside a correspondence definition of truth, or of considering it uninformative. Being the nominal definition of truth, the formula “truth is the agreement of cognition with its object” illustrates the meaning of the predicate “is true” and people's ordinary conception of truth. True judgements correspond to the objects they are about. However, there could be more to the property of truth than correspondence. (shrink)
The thesis deals with the concept of truth and the paradoxes of truth. Philosophical theories usually consider the concept of truth from a wider perspective. They are concerned with questions such as - Is there any connection between the truth and the world? And, if there is - What is the nature of the connection? Contrary to these theories, this analysis is of a logical nature. It deals with the internal semantic structure of language, the mutual (...) semantic connection of sentences, above all the connection of sentences that speak about the truth of other sentences and sentences whose truth they speak about. Truth paradoxes show that there is a problem in our basic understanding of the language meaning and they are a test for any proposed solution. It is important to make a distinction between the normative and analytical aspect of the solution. The former tries to ensure that paradoxes will not emerge. The latter tries to explain paradoxes. Of course, the practical aspect of the solution is also important. It tries to ensure a good framework for logical foundations of knowledge, for related problems in Artificial Intelligence and for the analysis of the natural language. Tarski’s analysis emphasized the T-scheme as the basic intuitive principle for the concept of truth, but it also showed its inconsistency with the classical logic. Tarski’s solution is to preserve the classical logic and to restrict the scheme: we can talk about the truth of sentences of a language only inside another essentially richer metalanguage. This solution is in harmony with the idea of reflexivity of thinking and it has become very fertile for mathematics and science in general. But it has normative nature | truth paradoxes are avoided in a way that in such frame we cannot even express paradoxical sentences. It is also too restrictive because, for the same reason we cannot express a situation in which there is a circular reference of some sentences to other sentences, no matter how common and harmless such a situation may be. Kripke showed that there is no natural restriction to the T-scheme and we have to accept it. But then we must also accept the riskiness of sentences | the possibility that under some circumstances a sentence does not have the classical truth value but it is undetermined. This leads to languages with three-valued semantics. Kripke did not give any definite model, but he gave a theoretical frame for investigations of various models | each fixed point in each three-valued semantics can be a model for the concept of truth. The solutions also have normative nature | we can express the paradoxical sentences, but we escape a contradiction by declaring them undetermined. Such a solution could become an analytical solution only if we provide the analysis that would show in a substantial way that it is the solution that models the concept of truth. Kripke took some steps in the direction of finding an analytical solution. He preferred the strong Kleene three-valued semantics for which he wrote it was "appropriate" but did not explain why it was appropriate. One reason for such a choice is probably that Kripke finds paradoxical sentences meaningful. This eliminates the weak Kleene three valued semantics which corresponds to the idea that paradoxical sentences are meaningless, and thus indeterminate. Another reason could be that the strong Kleene three valued semantics has the so-called investigative interpretation. According to this interpretation, this semantics corresponds to the classical determination of truth, whereby all sentences that do not have an already determined value are temporarily considered indeterminate. When we determine the truth value of these sentences, then we can also determine the truth value of the sentences that are composed of them. Kripke supplemented this investigative interpretation with an intuition about learning the concept of truth. That intuition deals with how we can teach someone who is a competent user of an initial language (without the predicate of truth T) to use sentences that contain the predicate T. That person knows which sentences of the initial language are true and which are not. We give her the rule to assign the T attribute to the former and deny that attribute to the latter. In that way, some new sentences that contain the predicate of truth, and which were indeterminate until then, become determinate. So the person gets a new set of true and false sentences with which he continues the procedure. This intuition leads directly to the smallest fixed point of strong Kleene semantics as an analytically acceptable model for the logical notion of truth. However, since this process is usually saturated only on some transfinite ordinal, this intuition, by climbing on ordinals, increasingly becomes a metaphor. This thesis is an attempt to give an analytical solution to truth paradoxes. It gives an analysis of why and how some sentences lack the classical truth value. The starting point is basic intuition according to which paradoxical sentences are meaningful (because we understand what they are talking about well, moreover we use it for determining their truth values), but they witness the failure of the classical procedure of determining their truth value in some "extreme" circumstances. Paradoxes emerge because the classical procedure of the truth value determination does not always give a classically supposed (and expected) answer. The analysis shows that such an assumption is an unjustified generalization from common situations to all situations. We can accept the classical procedure of the truth value determination and consequently the internal semantic structure of the language, but we must reject the universality of the exterior assumption of a successful ending of the procedure. The consciousness of this transforms paradoxes to normal situations inherent to the classical procedure. Some sentences, although meaningful, when we evaluate them according to the classical truth conditions, the classical conditions do not assign them a unique value. We can assign to them the third value, \undetermined", as a sign of definitive failure of the classical procedure. An analysis of the propagation of the failure in the structure of sentences gives exactly the strong Kleene three-valued semantics, not as an investigative procedure, as it occurs in Kripke, but as the classical truth determination procedure accompanied by the propagation of its own failure. An analysis of the circularities in the determination of the classical truth value gives the criterion of when the classical procedure succeeds and when it fails, when the sentences will have the classical truth value and when they will not. It turns out that the truth values of sentences thus obtained give exactly the largest intrinsic fixed point of the strong Kleene three-valued semantics. In that way, the argumentation is given for that choice among all fixed points of all monotone three-valued semantics for the model of the logical concept of truth. An immediate mathematical description of the fixed point is given, too. It has also been shown how this language can be semantically completed to the classical language which in many respects appears a natural completion of the process of thinking about the truth values of the sentences of a given language. Thus the final model is a language that has one interpretation and two systems of sentence truth evaluation, primary and final evaluation. The language through the symbol T speaks of its primary truth valuation, which is precisely the largest intrinsic fixed point of the strong Kleene three valued semantics. Its final truth valuation is the semantic completion of the first in such a way that all sentences that are not true in the primary valuation are false in the final valuation. (shrink)
This paper shows how to conservatively extend classical logic with a transparent truthpredicate, in the face of the paradoxes that arise as a consequence. All classical inferences are preserved, and indeed extended to the full (truth—involving) vocabulary. However, not all classical metainferences are preserved; in particular, the resulting logical system is nontransitive. Some limits on this nontransitivity are adumbrated, and two proof systems are presented and shown to be sound and complete. (One proof system allows for (...) Cut—elimination, but the other does not.). (shrink)
Hartry Field has suggested that we should adopt at least a methodological deflationism: [W]e should assume full-fledged deflationism as a working hypothesis. That way, if full-fledged deflationism should turn out to be inadequate, we will at least have a clearer sense than we now have of just where it is that inflationist assumptions ... are needed. I argue here that we do not need to be methodological deflationists. More pre-cisely, I argue that we have no need for a disquotational (...) class='Hi'>truth-predicate; that the word true, in ordinary language, is not a disquotational truth-predicate; and that it is not at all clear that it is even possible to introduce a disquotational truth-predicate into ordinary language. If so, then we have no clear sense how it is even possible to be a methodological deflationist. My goal here is not to convince a committed deflationist to abandon his or her position. My goal, rather, is to argue, contrary to what many seem to think, that reflection on the apparently trivial character of T-sentences should not incline us to deflationism. (shrink)
Conservativeness has been proposed as an important requirement for deflationary truth theories. This in turn gave rise to the so-called ‘conservativeness argument’ against deflationism: a theory of truth which is conservative over its base theory S cannot be adequate, because it cannot prove that all theorems of S are true. In this paper we show that the problems confronting the deflationist are in fact more basic: even the observation that logic is true is beyond his reach. This seems (...) to conflict with the deflationary characterization of the role of the truthpredicate in proving generalizations. However, in the final section we propose a way out for the deflationist — a solution that permits him to accept a strong theory, having important truth-theoretical generalizations as its theorems. (shrink)
Ordinary and transfinite recursion and induction and ZF set theory are used to construct from a fully interpreted object language and from an extra formula a new language. It is fully interpreted under a suitably defined interpretation. This interpretation is equivalent to the interpretation by meanings of sentences if the object language is so interpreted. The added formula provides a truthpredicate for the constructed language. The so obtained theory of truth satisfies the norms presented in Hannes (...) Leitgeb's paper 'What Theories of Truth Should be Like (but Cannot be)'. (shrink)
This is part two of a two-part paper in which we develop an axiomatic theory of the relation of partial ground. The main novelty of the paper is the of use of a binary ground predicate rather than an operator to formalize ground. In this part of the paper, we extend the base theory of the first part of the paper with hierarchically typed truth-predicates and principles about the interaction of partial ground and truth. We show that (...) our theory is a proof-theoretically conservative extension of the ramified theory of positive truth up to. (shrink)
In this paprer a class of so called mathematically acceptable (shortly MA) languages is introduced First-order formal languages containing natural numbers and numerals belong to that class. MA languages which are contained in a given fully interpreted MA language augmented by a monadic predicate are constructed. A mathematical theory of truth (shortly MTT) is formulated for some of these languages. MTT makes them fully interpreted MA languages which posses their own truth predicates, yielding consequences to philosophy of (...) mathematics. MTT is shown to conform well with the eight norms presented for theories of truth in the paper 'What Theories of Truth Should be Like (but Cannot be)' by Hannes Leitgeb. MTT is also free from infinite regress, providing a proper framework to study the regress problem. (shrink)
It seems that no philosopher these days wants a theory of truth which can be accused of being metaphysical. But even if we agree that grandiose metaphysics is to be spurned, even if we agree that our theory of truth should be a deflated one, the controversy does not die down. A variety of deflationist options present themselves. Some, with Richard Rorty, take the notion of truth to be so wedded to metaphysics that we are advised to (...) drop it altogether. Others, with Paul Horwich, take the disquotational or equivalence schema—'p' is T if and only if p—to completely capture the content of the predicate 'is true'. And others argue that there is a conception of truth to be had which is non-metaphysical but which goes beyond the triviality expressed by the disquotational schema. (shrink)
Classical interpretations of Goedels formal reasoning, and of his conclusions, implicitly imply that mathematical languages are essentially incomplete, in the sense that the truth of some arithmetical propositions of any formal mathematical language, under any interpretation, is, both, non-algorithmic, and essentially unverifiable. However, a language of general, scientific, discourse, which intends to mathematically express, and unambiguously communicate, intuitive concepts that correspond to scientific investigations, cannot allow its mathematical propositions to be interpreted ambiguously. Such a language must, therefore, define mathematical (...)truth verifiably. We consider a constructive interpretation of classical, Tarskian, truth, and of Goedel's reasoning, under which any formal system of Peano Arithmetic---classically accepted as the foundation of all our mathematical Languages---is verifiably complete in the above sense. We show how some paradoxical concepts of Quantum mechanics can, then, be expressed, and interpreted, naturally under a constructive definition of mathematical truth. (shrink)
The minimalist view of truth endorsed by Paul Horwich denies that truth has any underlying nature. According to minimalism, the truthpredicate ‘exists solely for the sake of a certain logical need’; ‘the function of the truthpredicate is to enable the explicit formulation of schematic generalizations’. Horwich proposes that all there really is to truth follows from the equivalence schema: The proposition that p is true iff p, or, using Horwich’s notation, ·pÒ (...) is true ´ p. The (unproblematic) instances of the schema form ‘the minimal theory of truth’. Horwich claims that all the facts involving truth can be explained on the basis of the minimal theory. However, it has been pointed out, e.g. by Gupta (1993), that the minimal theory is too weak to entail any general facts about truth, e.g. the fact that.. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This chapter offers a revenge-free solution to the liar paradox (at the centre of which is the notion of Gestalt shift) and presents a formal representation of truth in, or for, a natural language like English, which proposes to show both why -- and how -- truth is coherent and how it appears to be incoherent, while preserving classical logic and most principles that some philosophers have taken to be central to the concept of truth and (...) our use of that notion. The chapter argues that, by using a truth operator rather than truthpredicate, it is possible to provide a coherent, model-theoretic representation of truth with various desirable features. After investigating what features of liar sentences are responsible for their paradoxicality, the chapter identifies the logic as the normal modal logic KT4M (= S4M). Drawing on the structure of KT4M (=S4M), the author proposes that, pace deflationism, truth has content, that the content of truth is bivalence, and that the notions of both truth and bivalence are semideterminable. (shrink)
Answering a question formulated by Halbach (2009), I show that a disquotational truth theory, which takes as axioms all positive substitutions of the sentential T-schema, together with all instances of induction in the language with the truthpredicate, is conservative over its syntactical base.
The paper discusses the Inconsistency Theory of Truth (IT), the view that “true” is inconsistent in the sense that its meaning-constitutive principles include all instances of the truth-schema (T). It argues that (IT) entails that anyone using “true” in its ordinary sense is committed to all the (T)-instances and that any theory in which “true” is used in that sense entails the (T)-instances (which, given classical logic, entail contradictions). More specifically, I argue that theorists are committed to the (...) meaning-constitutive principles of logical constants, relative to the interpretation they intend thereof (e.g., classical), and that theories containing logical constants entail those principles. Further, I argue, since there is no relevant difference from the case of “true”, inconsistency theorists’ uses of “true” commit them to the (T)-instances. Adherents of (IT) are recommended, as a consequence, to eschew the truth-predicate. I also criticise Matti Eklund’s account of how the semantic value of “true” is determined, which can be taken as an attempt to show how “true” can be consistently used, despite being inconsistent. (shrink)
We begin with the hypothetical assumption that Tarski’s 1933 formula ∀ True(x) φ(x) has been defined such that ∀x Tarski:True(x) ↔ Boolean-True. On the basis of this logical premise we formalize the Truth Teller Paradox: "This sentence is true." showing syntactically how self-reference paradox is semantically ungrounded.
Along with many other languages, English has a relatively straightforward grammatical distinction between mass-occurrences of nouns and their countoccurrences. As the mass-count distinction, in my view, is best drawn between occurrences of expressions, rather than expressions themselves, it becomes important that there be some rule-governed way of classifying a given noun-occurrence into mass or count. The project of classifying noun-occurrences is the topic of Section II of this paper. Section III, the remainder of the paper, concerns the semantic differences between (...) nouns in their mass-occurrences and those in their count-occurrences. As both the name view and the mixed view are, in my opinion, subject to serious difficulties discussed in Section III.1,I defend a version of the predicate view. Traditionally, nouns in their singular count-occurrences are also analyzed as playing the semantic role of a predicate. How, then, does the predicate view preserve the intuitive difference between nouns in their mass- and those in their count-occurrences? I suggest, in Section III.2, that there are different kinds of predicates: mass-predicates, e.g. ‘is hair’, singular count-predicates, e.g. ‘is a hair’, and plural count-predicates, e.g. ‘are hairs’. Mass-predicates and count-predicates, in my view, are not reducible to each other. The remainder of Section III takes a closer look at the differences and interrelations between these different kinds of predicates. Mass-predicates and count-predicates differ from each other truth-conditionally, and these truth-conditional differences turn out to have interesting implications, in particular concerning the part-whole relation and our practices of counting. But mass- and count-predicates are also related to each other through systematic entailment relations; these entailment relations are examined in Section III.4. (shrink)
Proposition and sentence are two separate entities indicating their specific purposes, definitions and problems. A proposition is a logical entity. A proposition asserts that something is or not the case, any proposition may be affirmed or denied, all proportions are either true (1’s) or false (0’s). All proportions are sentences but all sentences are not propositions. Propositions are factual contains three terms: subject, predicate and copula and are always in indicative or declarative mood. While sentence is a grammatical entity, (...) a unit of language that expresses a complete thought; a sentence may express a proposition, but is distinct from the proposition it may be used to express: categories, declarative sentences, exclamatory, imperative and interrogative sentences. Not all sentences are propositions, propositions express sentence. Sentence is a proposition only in condition when it bears truth values i.e. true or false. We use English sentences governed by imprecise rule to state the precise rules of proposition. In logic we use sentence as logical entity having propositional function but grammatical sentences are different from logical sentences while the former are having only two divisions namely subject and predicate and may express wishes, orders, surprise or facts and also have multiple subjects and predicates and the latter must be in a propositional form which states quantity of the subject and the quality of the proposition and multiple subjects and multiple predicate make the proposition multiple. (shrink)
This paper presents and motivates a new philosophical and logical approach to truth and semantic paradox. It begins from an inferentialist, and particularly bilateralist, theory of meaning---one which takes meaning to be constituted by assertibility and deniability conditions---and shows how the usual multiple-conclusion sequent calculus for classical logic can be given an inferentialist motivation, leaving classical model theory as of only derivative importance. The paper then uses this theory of meaning to present and motivate a logical system---ST---that conservatively extends (...) classical logic with a fully transparent truthpredicate. This system is shown to allow for classical reasoning over the full (truth-involving) vocabulary, but to be non-transitive. Some special cases where transitivity does hold are outlined. ST is also shown to give rise to a familiar sort of model for non-classical logics: Kripke fixed points on the Strong Kleene valuation scheme. Finally, to give a theory of paradoxical sentences, a distinction is drawn between two varieties of assertion and two varieties of denial. On one variety, paradoxical sentences cannot be either asserted or denied; on the other, they must be both asserted and denied. The target theory is compared favourably to more familiar related systems, and some objections are considered. (shrink)
In Kripke’s classic paper on truth it is argued that by adding a new semantic category different from truth and falsity it is possible to have a language with its own truthpredicate. A substantial problem with this approach is that it lacks the expressive resources to characterize those sentences which fall under the new category. The main goal of this paper is to offer a refinement of Kripke’s approach in which this difficulty does not arise. (...) We tackle this characterization problem by letting certain sentences belong to more than one semantic category. We also consider the prospect of generalizing this framework to deal with languages containing vague predicates. (shrink)
In this article, I have two aims. Firstly, I argue that Hilary Putnam's model theoretic indeterminacy argument against external realism and Saul Kripke's so-called Kripkensteinian argument against semantic realism have the same dialectical structure and the same conclusion---both force the opponent to face the same dilemma. Namely: either adopt meaning minimalism or postulate unobservable semantic facts. Secondly, I analyze more closely the first horn of the dilemma---meaning minimalism. This is the position according to which there are no truth conditions (...) for meaning-ascriptions. It has been suggested that this position is incoherent. However, I argue that there is a coherent option available for the meaning minimalist. As Crispin Wright has proposed, a coherent meaning minimalist has to adopt a structured truth-predicate with at least two levels: one is a minimal or a deflationary truth-predicate for a semantic discourse and the other, more substantial or objective truth-predicate for discourses like natural sciences. Subsequently, this leads to a position close to Huw Price's global expressivism. Thus, the ultimate dilemma that Putnam's and the Kripkensteinian argument establish is the following choice: either meaning minimalism with a structured two-level truth-predicate or robust realism regarding meaning. (shrink)
This is a transcript of a conversation between P F Strawson and Gareth Evans in 1973, filmed for The Open University. Under the title 'Truth', Strawson and Evans discuss the question as to whether the distinction between genuinely fact-stating uses of language and other uses can be grounded on a theory of truth, especially a 'thin' notion of truth in the tradition of F P Ramsey.
Functionalism about truth, or alethic functionalism, is one of our most promising approaches to the study of truth. In this chapter, I chart a course for functionalist inquiry that centrally involves the empirical study of ordinary thought about truth. In doing so, I review some existing empirical data on the ways in which we think about truth and offer suggestions for future work on this issue. I also argue that some of our data lend support to (...) two kinds of pluralism regarding ordinary thought about truth. These pluralist views, as I show, can be straightforwardly integrated into the broader functionalist framework. The main result of this integration is that some unexplored metaphysical views about truth become visible. To close the chapter, I briefly respond to one of the most serious objections to functionalism, due to Cory Wright. (shrink)
This takes a closer look at the actual semantic behavior of apparent truth predicates in English and re-evaluates the way they could motivate particular philosophical views regarding the formal status of 'truth predicates' and their semantics. The paper distinguishes two types of 'truth predicates' and proposes semantic analyses that better reflect the linguistic facts. These analyses match particular independently motivated philosophical views.
Attention to the conversational role of alethic terms seems to dominate, and even sometimes exhaust, many contemporary analyses of the nature of truth. Yet, because truth plays a role in judgment and assertion regardless of whether alethic terms are expressly used, such analyses cannot be comprehensive or fully adequate. A more general analysis of the nature of truth is therefore required – one which continues to explain the significance of truth independently of the role alethic terms (...) play in discourse. We undertake such an analysis in this paper; in particular, we start with certain elements from Kant and Frege, and develop a construct of truth as a normative modality of cognitive acts (e.g., thought, judgment, assertion). Using the various biconditional T-schemas to sanction the general passage from assertions to (equivalent) assertions of truth, we then suggest that an illocutionary analysis of truth can contribute to its locutionary analysis as well, including the analysis of diverse constructions involving alethic terms that have been largely overlooked in the philosophical literature. Finally, we briefly indicate the importance of distinguishing between alethic and epistemic modalities. (shrink)
When talking about truth, we ordinarily take ourselves to be talking about one-and-the-same thing. Alethic monists suggest that theorizing about truth ought to begin with this default or pre-reflective stance, and, subsequently, parlay it into a set of theoretical principles that are aptly summarized by the thesis that truth is one. Foremost among them is the invariance principle.
D O N A L D D AV I D S O N’S “ Meaning and Truth,” re vo l u t i o n i zed our conception of how truth and meaning are related (Davidson ). In that famous art i c l e , Davidson put forw a rd the bold conjecture that meanings are satisfaction conditions, and that a Tarskian theory of truth for a language is a theory of meaning (...) for that language. In “Meaning and Truth,” Davidson proposed only that a Tarskian truth theory is a theory of meaning. But in “Theories of Me a n i n g and Learnable Languages,” he argued that the ﬁnite base of a Tarskian theory, together with the now familiar combinatorics, would explain how a language with unbounded expre s s i ve capacity could be learned with finite means ( Davidson ). This certainly seems to imply that learning a language is, in p a rt at least, learning a Tarskian truth theory for it, or, at least, learning what is speciﬁed by such a theory. Davisdon was cagey about committing to the view that meanings actually a re satisfaction conditions, but subsequent followers had no such scru p l e s . We can sum this up in a trio of claims: Davidson’s Conjecture () A theory of meaning for L is a truth-conditional semantics for L. () To know the meaning of an expression in L is to know a satisfaction condition for that expression. () Meanings are satisfaction conditions. For the most part, it will not matter in what follows which of these claims is at stake. I will simply take the three to be different ways of formulating what I will call Davidson’s Conjecture (or sometimes just The Conjecture). Davidson’s Conjecture was a very bold conjecture. I think we are now in a.. (shrink)
In the early 20th century, scepticism was common among philosophers about the very meaningfulness of the notion of truth – and of the related notions of denotation, definition etc. (i.e., what Tarski called semantical concepts). Awareness was growing of the various logical paradoxes and anomalies arising from these concepts. In addition, more philosophical reasons were being given for this aversion.1 The atmosphere changed dramatically with Alfred Tarski’s path-breaking contribution. What Tarski did was to show that, assuming that the syntax (...) of the object language is specified exactly enough, and that the metatheory has a certain amount of set theoretic power,2 one can explicitly define truth in the object language. And what can be explicitly defined can be eliminated. It follows that the defined concept cannot give rise to any inconsistencies (that is, paradoxes). This gave new respectability to the concept of truth and related notions. Nevertheless, philosophers’ judgements on the nature and philosophical relevance of Tarski’s work have varied. It is my aim here to review and evaluate some threads in this debate. (shrink)
Like William James before him, Huw Price has influentially argued that truth has a normative role to play in our thought and talk. I agree. But Price also thinks that we should regard truth-conceived of as property of our beliefs-as something like a metaphysical myth. Here I disagree. In this paper, I argue that reflection on truth's values pushes us in a slightly different direction, one that opens the door to certain metaphysical possibilities that even a Pricean (...) pragmatist can love. (shrink)
Common-sense allows that talk about moral truths makes perfect sense. If you object to the United States’ Declaration of Independence’s assertion that it is a truth that ‘all men’ are ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights’, you are more likely to object that these rights are not unalienable or that they are not endowed by the Creator, or even that its wording ignores the fact that women have rights too, than that this is not the sort of (...) thing which could be a truth. Whether it is a truth or not seems beside the point, anyway; the writers of the Declaration could just have well written, ‘We hold it to be self-evident that all men are created equal, and also that it is self-evident that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,’ save only that its cadence would lack some of the poetic resonance of the version which garnered Hancock’s signature. Yet famously, ethical noncognitivists have proclaimed that moral sentences can’t be true or false – that, like ‘Hooray!’ or ‘dammit!’, they are not even the kinds of things to be true or false. Noncognitivism is sometimes even defined as the view that this is so, but even philosophers who define ‘noncognitivism’ more broadly, as consistent with the idea that moral sentences may be true or false, have believed that they needed to do important philosophical spadework in order to make sense of how moral sentences could be true or false. In this article we’ll look at the puzzle about moral truth as it is faced by early noncognitivists and by metaethical expressivists, the early noncognitivists’ contemporary cousins. We’ll look at what it would take for expressivists to ‘earn the right’ to talk about moral truths at all, and in particular at what it would take for them to earn the right to claim that moral truths behave in the ways that we should expect – including that meaningful moral sentences which lack presuppositions are true or false, and that classically valid arguments are truth-preserving.. (shrink)
Truth pluralists say that the nature of truth varies between domains of discourse: while ordinary descriptive claims or those of the hard sciences might be true in virtue of corresponding to reality, those concerning ethics, mathematics, institutions (or modality, aesthetics, comedy…) might be true in some non-representational or “anti-realist” sense. Despite pluralism attracting increasing amounts of attention, the motivations for the view remain underdeveloped. This paper investigates whether pluralism is well-motivated on ontological grounds: that is, on the basis (...) that different discourses are concerned with different kinds of entities. Arguments that draw on six different ontological contrasts are examined: (i) concrete vs. abstract entities; (ii) mind-independent vs. mind-dependent entities; (iii) sparse vs. merely abundant properties; (iv) objective vs. projected entities; (v) natural vs. non-natural entities; and (vi) ontological pluralism (entities that literally exist in different ways). I argue that the additional premises needed to move from such contrasts to truth pluralism are either implausible or unmotivated, often doing little more than to bifurcate the nature of truth when a more theoretically conservative option is available. If there is a compelling motivation for pluralism, I suggest, it’s likely to lie elsewhere. (shrink)
During the realist revival in the early years of this century, philosophers of various persuasions were concerned to investigate the ontology of truth. That is, whether or not they viewed truth as a correspondence, they were interested in the extent to which one needed to assume the existence of entities serving some role in accounting for the truth of sentences. Certain of these entities, such as the Sätze an sich of Bolzano, the Gedanken of Frege, or the (...) propositions of Russell and Moore, were conceived as the bearers of the properties of truth and falsehood. Some thinkers however, such as Russell, Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, and Husserl in the Logische Untersuchungen, argued that instead of, or in addition to, truth-bearers, one must assume the existence of certain entities in virtue of which sentences and/or propositions are true. Various names were used for these entities, notably 'fact', 'Sachverhalt', and 'state of affairs'. (1) In order not to prejudge the suitability of these words we shall initially employ a more neutral terminology, calling any entities which are candidates for this role truth-makers. (shrink)
Assertion is fundamental to our lives as social and cognitive beings. Philosophers have recently built an impressive case that the norm of assertion is factive. That is, you should make an assertion only if it is true. Thus far the case for a factive norm of assertion been based on observational data. This paper adds experimental evidence in favor of a factive norm from six studies. In these studies, an assertion’s truth value dramatically affects whether people think it should (...) be made. Whereas nearly everyone agreed that a true assertion supported by good evidence should be made, most people judged that a false assertion supported by good evidence should not be made. The studies also suggest that people are consciously aware of criteria that guide their evaluation of assertions. Evidence is also presented that some intuitive support for a non-factive norm of assertion comes from a surprising tendency people have to misdescribe cases of blameless rule-breaking as cases where no rule is broken. (shrink)
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