7 Truth and Justifiability

In the final chapter of this book we shall ponder over Questions 15 and 16 on the flow chart. 1 According to alethic anti-realism (as defined in Chapter 1), truth is epistemically constrained: it does not outrun rational acceptability. In the first section I shall sketch three classical versions of alethic anti-realism and point at (some of) the problems that are peculiar to them. In the second section I shall scrutinize Putnam's very liberal variety, and, after comparing and contrasting it with its source of inspiration, Dummett's characterization of 'global anti-realism', and with kindred proposals made by Goodman and by Wright, I shall present various reasons for dissatisfaction, among them the reason why Putnam himself later recanted. In the third and last section of this chapter I shall try to support this recantation by offering an argument against all versions of alethic anti-realism: the argument from blind spots in the field of justification.

7.1 Classical Versions of Alethic Anti-Realism

I cannot see how to defend truth which is external to knowledge.

(F. H. Bradley, 'On Truth and Copying', 111)

7.1.1 Foundationalism

According to Franz Brentano, truth stands and falls with the possibility of Evidenz:

Wahrheit [kommt] dem Urteile dessen [zu], der urteilt, wie derjenige darüber urteilen würde, der mit Evidenz sein Urteil fällt; also der das behauptet, was auch der evident Urteilende behaupten würde. [Truth belongs to the judgement of a thinker who judges about the issue as someone would judge who made an evident judgement about it; i.e. who asserts what someone who made an evident judgement about the issue would also assert.] (Wahrheit und Evidenz (5.3.1915), 139 (122))


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Conceptions of Truth


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