1. Theories of Truth
Truth is basically defined as the state of an aspect or a phenomenon being a reflection of the reality. It is commonly known that the truth is the opposite of the state of falsehood, but it is debated in different contexts. Theories of truth are advanced to describe such definitions of truth in detail and as per the contexts involved in understanding truth. It is a relative aspect of reality since it depends on the elements of the perceiver and the context of perception. Therefore, several theories discuss different ways in which truth exists. The different theories of truth seek to describe the nature of the objective question: what is truth?
The theories of truth include the pragmatic theory, coherence theory, deflationism and correspondence theory of truth. These theories have the purpose of describing and answeringthe question on the basis of when or how a phenomenon, symbol, person or an item is considered as true. They try to answer the question of “what is true?” either in relation to an entire society or a single person. In answering this question these theories seek to determine a clear basis through which truth can be described. Theories of truth seek to define and describe the truth or the falsity of a proposition and not the meaning the proposition. This means that statements of truth or theories of truth are less deep in description than statements of meaning. As the theories describe the truth, they give people the ability to understand the complex topic and builds mastery of building competence to the understanding.
1.1 The Pragmatic Theory of Truth
According to the pragmatic theory, truth is the concordance of a statement with the reality or ideal limit of the accuracy of the statement. The statement of truth according to pragmatic theory is the description of the main essentials of truth as opposed to description of the truth. According to the theory, the “true” is only relative to the thinking of people perceiving the elements of truth. Truth is relative to the context of the person just as the description of “right” is related to the respective behavior of the perceiver. In addition, relativity of a truth will depend not only on the context but also the practicality of the statement deemed as a “true” statement of the phenomenon concluded as a truth.
Truth is an aspect of quality of a statement or phenomenon. It is an aspect of the effectiveness of a statement or phenomenon when applying the concept into practice. It is the practical application of a concept to the situation or context in which a statement exists or relates to. This means that truth should be a pragmatic concept that can be effective in describing the situation. This is the effectiveness of use of the truth statement or concept especially in relation to certain beliefs. In this case “
is true just in case it is useful to believe that p.” In other words, truth is defined in terms of utility – whether it is useful to hold a certain belief or not.
Arguments for and Against
Arguments for this theory indicate that it gives a practical description of what the truth is and what the truth is not. The pragmatic aspect of the description makes pragmatism the perfect theory to describe the truth. This is because there can be no truth that is not representative of the situation or context it is derived from. The truth must be practical in relation to the facts or ideality it reflects.
However, the theory attracts some arguments against it due to its failure to conclusively describe what works or not works with truth. The theory lacks a clear description of the truth since not all what is effective in utility is the truth. This is because the practicality of a statement to apply to situations does not make the statement a “truth.” Opponents of the theory describes this as a major limitation of the definition since it may be assumed to mean that all practical aspects of life in relation to different contexts can be described as true aspects. In addition, the theory has been criticized as having a contradictory definition of truth via the coherence theory.
1.2 The Coherence Theory of Truth
The Coherence Theory of truth is the view that truth is coherence. This means that the description of a “truth” does not constitute just a matter of consistency but a matter of being part of a whole system. According to this theory, completeness and comprehensive of the sets of concepts are the critical factors in determining the validity and utility of the system. In a deeper way, coherence theory presents the coherence and inclusive elements of entire formal systems.
Put more formally, “
is true just in case
belongs to a designated coherent set of propositions.” The meaning of coherence means that the aspect of truth under consideration has to be in line with the other components in a way that all the aspects under consideration support each other. This means that a statement or a phenomenon cannot be true if it conflicts with other elements of an entire system. There should be a consistent completeness of all the propositions of the entire system for an individual proposition to be deemed as a true proposition. The theory also implies that aspects of an entire system have to be internal and external with no inconsistence between the two.
Arguments for and Against
The coherence theory has been supported for giving description of the essentials of a true proposition. Supporters of the theory argue that coherence presents a practical basis for determining the effect of a single proposition of truth in an entire system. This means that the theory provides a platform for describing the truth based on the comparison of an individual proposition within an entire system.
Arguments against the theory have been laid upon it for its preference on the comparison of a proposition with an entire system. This means that the theory is limited in applicability of it significance in validating a proposition as true or not. The theory is also criticized for being contradictory since some internal elements of a system may be untrue compared to the external elements of the same system.
According to Deflationism, the assertion of a statement as a true proposition is the same as asserting the statement itself. The theory takes the statement and the concept being part of the same phenomenon or proposition being evaluated for truth. For instance, to say that “snow is white” is a true statement is the same as saying that it is true that snow is white. The deflationary theory then takes that the statement is true just as the way the proposition that snow is white is true. Due to the information described by the theory, there are several formulations that shape the understanding of the theory based on different schema or the equivalence schema. For instance, the theory takes of the view that
is true if and only p.
According to the deflationism, the truth consists of the correspondence of the proposition to the facts they relate to. The truth also consists of the coherence of the proposition to or a set of believes to the facts being described as true. The theory also argues that the truth is the outcome of a rational evaluation of a proposition in relation to it facts. According to defationists, the truth has no existence beyond the ordinary facts or what is captured in natural aspects true propositions. Deflationary theory therefore dictates that there is no set of truth to look for except what exists and is naturally existent. This means that any search for truth may be frustrating because it may be not existent.
There are many theories that fall under Deflationism, but what they all share in common is the thesis that truth does have any metaphysical significance at all as neo-classical theories of truth say they do. One of the versions is the expressivism of ethics which proposes the existence of parallel proposition of truth. According to this version, utterances in the form of “S is true” does not exist despite the appearance of the descriptive part `is true` in relation to S. the theory dictates that S is true because of the fact of the truth and the preparedness of the speaker to accept and assert that S is true.
Another version of deflationism is it presentence theory of truth that indicates that propositions formed with descriptive part “is true” are presentences that indicates an earlier dictated version as a cross-reference. This version describes truth as a relative reference to an already existing truth or in comparison to a truth. Therefore, saying snow is white may be a true fact but only in relation to a previous observance of a nature of snow as white.
Arguments for and against
It argued that this theory lacks completeness of its assertions in relation to an entire system. It is inappropriate that the theory dictates a proposition of an aspect as true just as the fact is true. The theory is supported by the fact that holders of truth hold valuable the basis on which to evaluate a statement or a proposition. However, the theory indicates that truth is not a property to hold on to since it is a representative of the fact or the existent phenomenon.
An argument against the theory is that the propositions under deflationist view are only described as sententialist version or propositionalist versions. The theory presents a dilemma in deciding which the most reliable version of deflationism represents true version of a proposition. Additionally, the theory dictates that a truth must correspond to the fact but it does not always reflect the truth as always. This is because truth is generally relative depending on the society as each society has its own regime of truth. The theory also does not include consistency of a proposition to an entire system relating to a statement.
1.4 Correspondence Theory
According to the correspondence Theory, truth is correspondence to an existing fact. The theory dictates that the truth must consist of a relation of a proposition to a reality. This means that truth is a relational property that involves a characteristic relation to the reality of a fact. This theory is mostly coupled to metaphysical realism. This is in opposite to other theories such as pragmatism, coherence and deflatioinism that are often associated with relativism, anti-realism and idealism. Correspondence Theory of Truth also illustrates that a proposition can be described as truth is it corresponds to some predetermined fact according to a primary truth-bearer. This means that it is possible to say that S is true if S corresponds to some fact. The fact that makes the proposition “S is true” is the truth that is held by truth-bearers. This makes the truth correspond to a set of other propositions that have been previously held as “true” or factual.
Arguments for and Against
The main argument for the Correspondence Theory of Truth is its obvious conclusion on the correspondence of a proposition to a fact. This is because the theory dictates that a truth is just but a clear correspondence to a proven fact. Philosophers have argued for the theory since its advancement due to its conformity with reality. In other word, the theory is strong since a truth must have strong conformity with facts or leads to an agreement with the reality.
There are several arguments against the Correspondence Theory of Truth. First, it is argued that its definition of truth is too broad despite applying to several sets of truths. Due to the broad nature, some propositions are true in some domains and untrue in some other domains. For instance, a proposition may be true in science domain while being untrue in morality or social domain. Secondly, it is argued that the theory is too obvious since it just states that a truth should correspond to facts. Finally, the theory is accused of being too obscure since some notions of a correspondence of a proposition to a fact carry unacceptable descriptions. This is because the correspondence may dictate elements of resemblance in relation to a known element. This is because a proposition cannot be true due to it relation to a truth or a reality.
2. Truth, Realism, and Anti-realism
There are ideas of realism and anti-realism that relate to ideas of truth. In fact, much of the questions of realism and anti-realism just turn them into questions of truth. These ideas or questions of truth present the basis on which truth, realism and anti-realism can be discussed. Therefore, in exploring these ideas, it is imperative that realism and anti-realism be discussed in relation to truth on individual set of discussions.
2.1 Realism and Trutth
Realism is metaphysically entailed by any form of the correspondence theory of truth. Realism is the ontological thesis that the world exists independently of how we may think about it or describe it. Philosophers find it misleading to take choice between being a non-realist and a realist on an issue. This is because there are several circumstances when a person may take a realist or a non-realist perspective due to the issues being considered. However, it is important for people to identify with situations from realistic perspective despite the debate between realism and non-realism.
Another important aspect of realism is the property of bivalence, which dictates that every truth-bearer is true or false. To say that the element of truth involved is normally recognition-transcendent means the same way like saying that S may be true or false. This conclusion is held even if there is constant assurance that it is able to recognize that it is true to say so. To conclude that the truth involved in a proposition is bivalent involves the acceptance of unrestricted applicability the two options under bivalence that any statement can either be true or false. Therefore, realism prepares people to assert that S is true or false whether there is a guarantee of facts or not since that is the reality.
Despite the understanding of realism, it existence can be resisted through expressivism. This is because expressivists disagree with the realists` notion of assessing the truth and falsity in a certain situation in terms of truth-apts. The expressivists therefore hold that the version of many sentences takes the declarative mood of asserting the truth and does not give a pointy of truth or falsity. In addition, the elements of realism do not only apply to the two elements of outcomes in terms of truth or falsity but also in the ultimate existence of the correspondence to a real fact. This makes the existence of the real fact as the most important relation to the truth other than just taking all notions in the bivalence nature.
2.2 Anti-realism and truth
In general, the main trait of anti-realism is rejecting bivalence. Anti-realism dictates that the bivalent occurrence does not reflect the main element of moral or scientific realism. Non-realism therefore gives the chance for assertion of either the truth or falsity of a proposition before taking it as the realistic element. This means that anti-realist views of truth may include the aspects of verificationism and assertibility of a proposition before concluding on it.
Due to the rejection of bivalence, anti-realism is exploited by modern realists to present a relationship between truth and metaphysics. According to realist view of the truth, the theory of truth is important in defending the anti-realist way of viewing truth. Through further aspects of anti-realism, the characteristics of the theory can be used as the rejection of bivalence.In addition, many theories of anti-realism can be designed to be theories of truth as they are against the conventional aspects of bivalence. Therefore, anti-realism can be termed to incorporate it constituent theories of truth such as verificationism that can be described as view that can yield to truth.
The theory of anti-realism of verificationism incorporates all elements against bivalence and takes an approach of verifying truth. It involves verification of the truth as an outcome of the proposition in search of the truth. This way, the theory of verificationism becomes the main aspect of anti-realism.
2.3 Anti-realism and pragmatism
Many people claim there is a connection between Dummet`s anti-realism and the pragmatists` view of truth since both emphasize ideas of verifiability or assertibility. This is possible due to the practicability aspect of the pragmatists. As pragmatists adopt the practical utility of a notion in relation to the facts, the anti-realists take truth as a verifiable assertion. This means that a proposition is considered as a truth if it is verified or asserted as real if it reflects the facts. This is because, just like pragmatism, anti-realism develops a practical concern that should reflect on the correspondence of truth or falsity of a notion and not just a belief.
Other ideas of truth that share aspects with Pragmatism is Putnam`s Internal Realism. Hilary Putman`s internal realism rejects the theories of the objective reality of truth or falsity just like pragmatism does and takes a practical approach to a statement`s reflection of facts. Just like pragmatists, the anti-realistic view also rejects the function of thought in reflecting reality or truth about an element of truth. Through Hilary Putman`s reconciliation of anti-skepticism and fallibilism, the notion of anti-realism pragmatism showed relation in understanding issues and propositions in the view of the two sides. This made the relationship between internal realism and pragmatism to take an anti-realistic approach as far as truth is concerned.
2.4 Truth Pluralism
Another idea that has developed out of the literature about realism and anti-realism is pluralism about truth. This view argues that there are many ways for truth bearers to be true. This is the philosophical doctrine that there is more than one version of realism. This is in rejection of the realism doctrine that holds a single objective of existence of only one reality or truth. This notion introduces the element of multiplicity of truth and makes it a possibility to understand a proposition in different aspects. This means that truth can exist in multiple forms this is possible due to different contexts of understanding the truth as well as the reality. The existence of truth in pluralism can happen in different regions or societies where contexts are different.
The pluralists believe that there are many ways in which an aspect can be true as is typically constructed. This means that truth has more versions in terms of existence and truth property. This means that having more than one truth property also incorporates having more than one true sentence.The aspect of pluralism in truth also may mean that there is more than one truth property but with all sentences involved in the proposition as true. On the other hand, there can be just one truth property but described by several true sentences of prepositions about one fact. This means that there exists pluralism of truth despite having a common truth property. The existence of pluralism in truth means that there can be several versions of truth depending on the context and region.
3. Truth and Language
Another important theme in the literature on truth is its relation to language. Truth cannot be separated from language since the latter describes the former. Whatever is described as the truth is what has penetrated the mind so deeply that a person from there on refers to as the reality. Language enables people to project or represent truth in terms of language which cannot be language independent this is because if no language, then the truth will be fatally be compromised from the beginning of the interpreting the notion of truth. Language is therefore the element that makes truth to be internalized in what reality describes as the mind. This notion is described in the following elements of truth and language in philosophy.
There have been discussions over what are the primary truth bearers in relation to the description of truth as a central concept in philosophy. Truth-bearers are things that meaningfully give claims about properties of our world, and are true or false depending on whether the facts match up with what the truth-bearers claim. Truth bearers typically comprise of sentences, propositions, beliefs and utterances. Truth-bearers enable description of truth in different contexts and by different theories. For instance, truth bearers play a role in correspondence theory by laying a basis on which meaningful claims about the truth or the world can be described.
Truth-bearers also enable the description of what the world is or the truth is. Truth-bearers are meaningful in different perspectives such as the candidate truth-bearers and primary truth-bearers of truth. Candidate truth-bearers are linked in the interpreted sentences and the notions they represent as well as in beliefs that the speakers hold towards them. The quality of the truth-bearers to be meaningful makes them have the ability to represent the correspondence relations between a proposition and the world or the truth. Truth-bearers make the same significance in both sides of realism and anti-realism which depend on the meaningful nature of the truth-bearers.
3.2 Truth and Truth conditions
Some theories of truth can be taken as theories of truth conditions in relation to the description of truth. The truth conditions express conditions or something that is required for a proposition to yield the truth value “true”. In addition to the truth bearer, truth values are attained by the fulfillment for some elements of the description referred to as the truth conditions. The theories of truth explain how truth conditions lead to the yielding of the value “true” by the following of the existing fact which the proposition relates to.
Theories of truth such as correspondence theory describe how truth-bearer is meaningful and the essence of fixing truth values. However, it is the truth conditions and truth values that present the means of abstracting the validity of the propositions in relation to the truth. At the same time, several theories of truth also reflect theories of truth conditions such as the correspondence theory and deflationism theory are as applicable in all of it forms. The theories of truth that lead to the conclusion of realism as well as anti-realism are also reflective of the theories of truth conditions. This leads to a common conclusion that the theories of truth are also the theories of condition due to the contribution they make in the yield of the truth value.
All the descriptions of the truth in relation to the facts start with the truth conditions. It is notable that both the realists and anti-realists, deflationists and the correspondence theorists apply the truth conditions in addition to other necessities to the conclusion of the truth value. Despite this, deflationists start with an account of content while the anti-realists will propose a set of conditions which are the truth conditions.
3.3 Truth and the Theory of Meaning
Many have argued that theory of truth that is seen as a theory of truth conditions can be seen as a theory of meaning. Some theories of truth such as the Tarskian theory reflect on the truth and can be described as the theory of meaning. This is because such theories show how truth conditions of a proposition can be determined by their properties. It is significant that a theory of truth can be interpreted as a theory of meaning in more general terms. This means that any theory of truth that is in general falls under broad category of the theories of truth conditions is also part of a theory of meaning. The theories of truth such as the Tarskian theories provide a platform that can be understood in a way that make them interpreted as theories of meaning.
These theories of truth offer the basis of defining a truth and determining whether a sentence is true or not. For instance, the determination of truth of mathematics takes the basis of theory of meanings which is still the theory of truth. Most of the theories of truth are meant to particularly define the truth but in doing so, they provide a basis of providing a deeper description of the truth. This deeper description is the meaning of the proposition which makes the theory of truth act as the theory of meaning. In such applications, truth is not considered as explicitly defined but the truth conditions of the propositions give a basis for the meaning as per the theory of truth and meaning.
3.4 Truth and Assertion
Another aspect of language that relates to truth is the relation between truth and assertion. This is basically the relationship that determines how people aim to say something valued as true in certain situations. The relationship between meaning and the truth is not just the place where language and truth relate, it also involves the relationship between truth and assertion. This is because truth is not just in the meaning of the truth but also assertion. In further detail, truth is normally the aim of assertion and assertion is what gives truth it value of “true.”
For a person making an assertion, the main element of the assertion is the truth. Assertion is what determines the intention of the speaker in either giving the truth or falsehood. Therefore, motivation for the truth is the assertion since it gives the difference between the practice of the truth or falsity. Just as a game is defined by it rules, the element of truth or falsehood is defined by the assertion contained in the ideals of the proposition and of the speaker. This is because an assertion by it nature presents the elements of what is true or not true. Therefore, any assertion that does not give “true” as it value is subject to criticism. This criticism will be directed regardless of whether the speaker intended to give a true preposition or not.
Therefore, the relationship between the assertion and the truth which can be referred to as truth-assertion platitude is fundamental to the truth. The platitude is the point of defining the truth or the use of the concept that discusses determination of truth or not. However, not all situations apply the element of assertion in determining the truth. It is controversial on whether the platform presents constitutive rules for determining the truth or not.
The truth is relative in determination and in definition depending on the theories of truth adopted to describe it. These theories are the correspondence theory of truth, deflationism theory of truth and pragmatism theory of truth. In a further analysis of the perspectives of truth, the realism and anti-realism aspects are important components in relation to the truth. From different meaning s of the two, the determination of truth takes diverse perspective based on either realism or anti-realism. The use of theories of truth in determining the truth aspect presents their reflection of being the truth conditions and the theories of meanings which shape the description of the value of truth. Further relation is the relationship between the truth and assertion which are the rules that guide the definition of truth.
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