Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Anon (Dan), Antisthenes (Ath) and Paul Horwich

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8 ideas

3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 1. Truth
The function of the truth predicate? Understanding 'true'? Meaning of 'true'? The concept of truth? A theory of truth? [Horwich]
     Full Idea: We must distinguish the function of the truth predicate, what it is to understand 'true', the meaning of 'true', grasping the concept of truth, and a theory of truth itself.
     From: Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Ch.2.8)
     A reaction: It makes you feel tired to think about it. Presumably every other philosophical analysis has to do this many jobs. Clearly Horwich wants to propose one account which will do all five jobs. Personally I don't believe these five are really distinct.
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 1. Correspondence Truth
Some correspondence theories concern facts; others are built up through reference and satisfaction [Horwich]
     Full Idea: One correspondence theory (e.g. early Wittgenstein) concerns representations and facts; alternatively (Tarski, Davidson) the category of fact is eschewed, and the truth of sentences or propositions is built out of relations of reference and satisfaction.
     From: Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Ch.7.35)
     A reaction: A helpful distinction. Clearly the notion of a 'fact' is an elusive one ("how many facts are there in this room?"), so it seems quite promising to say that the parts of the sentence correspond, rather than the whole thing.
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
The common-sense theory of correspondence has never been worked out satisfactorily [Horwich]
     Full Idea: The common-sense notion that truth is a kind of 'correspondence with the facts' has never been worked out to anyone's satisfaction.
     From: Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Ch.1)
     A reaction: I've put this in to criticise it. Philosophy can't work by rejecting theories which can't be 'worked out', and accepting theories (like Tarski's) because they can be 'worked out'. All our theories will end up minimal, and defiant of common sense.
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 1. Redundant Truth
The redundancy theory cannot explain inferences from 'what x said is true' and 'x said p', to p [Horwich]
     Full Idea: The redundancy theory is unable to account for the inference from "Oscar's claim is true" and "Oscar's claim is that snow is white" to "the proposition 'that snow is white' is true", and hence to "snow is white".
     From: Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Ch.2.9)
     A reaction: Earlier objections appealed to the fact that the word 'true' seemed to have a use in ordinary speech, but this seems a much stronger one. In general, showing the role of a term in making inferences pins it down better than ordinary speech does.
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 2. Deflationary Truth
Horwich's deflationary view is novel, because it relies on propositions rather than sentences [Horwich, by Davidson]
     Full Idea: Horwich's brave and striking move is to make the primary bearers of truth propositions - not exactly a new idea in itself, but new in the context of a serious attempt to defend deflationism.
     From: report of Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990]) by Donald Davidson - The Folly of Trying to Define Truth p.30
     A reaction: Davidson rejects propositions because they can't be individuated, but I totally accept propositions. I'm puzzled why this would produce a deflationist theory, since I think it points to a much more robust view.
Truth is a useful concept for unarticulated propositions and generalisations about them [Horwich]
     Full Idea: All uses of the truth predicate are explained by the hypothesis that its entire raison d'Ítre is to help us say things about unarticulated propositions, and in particular to express generalisations about them.
     From: Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Concl)
     A reaction: This certain is a very deflationary notion of truth. Articulated propositions are considered to stand on their own two feet, without need of 'is true'. He makes truth sound like a language game, though. Personally I prefer to mention reality.
The deflationary picture says believing a theory true is a trivial step after believing the theory [Horwich]
     Full Idea: According to the deflationary picture, believing that a theory is true is a trivial step beyond believing the theory.
     From: Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Ch.2.17)
     A reaction: What has gone wrong with this picture is that you cannot (it seems to me) give a decent account of belief without mentioning truth. To believe a proposition is to hold it true. Hume's emotional account (Idea 2208) makes belief bewildering.
No deflationary conception of truth does justice to the fact that we aim for truth [Horwich]
     Full Idea: It has been suggested that no deflationary conception of truth could do justice to the fact that we aim for the truth.
     From: Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Ch.2.11)
     A reaction: (He mentions Dummett and Wright). People don't only aim for it - they become very idealistic about it, and sometimes die for it. Personally I think that any study of truth should use as its example police investigations, not philosophical analysis.