Understanding Truth

Understanding Truth

Understanding Truth

Understanding Truth

Synopsis

Scott Soames illuminates the notion of truth and the role it plays in our ordinary thought, as well as in our logical, philosophical, and scientific theories. The main questions investigated include "Why do we need a truth predicate at all?", "What theoretical tasks does it allow us to accomplish?", and "How must we understand the content of any predicate capable of accomplishing these tasks?". The main aim of the book is to integrate and extend the most important insight on truth from a variety of sources.

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to illuminate the notion of truth and the role it plays in our ordinary thought, as well as in our logical, philosophical, and scientific theories. The main questions to be investigated include "Why do we need a truth predicate at all?," "What theoretical tasks does it allow us to accomplish?," and "How must we understand the content of any predicate capable of accomplishing these tasks?" The discussion of these questions is organized into three parts. Part I, which consists of chapters 1 and 2, addresses substantive background issues that bear directly on serious philosophical discussions of truth: the identification of the bearers of truth; the basis for distinguishing truth from other notions, like certainty, with which it is often confused; and the formulation of positive responses to well-known forms of philosophical skepticism about truth. Part II, which consists of chapters 3-6, explicates the formal theories of Alfred Tarski and Saul Kripke, including their treatments of the Liar paradox, and evaluates the philosophical significance of their work. Part III, consisting of chapters 7 and 8, extends important lessons drawn from Tarski and Kripke to new domains: vague predicates, the Sorites paradox, and the development of a larger, deflationary perspective on truth.

The end result does not fit neatly into familiar preexisting categories. The book is not a survey of formal work on truth, a critique of informal philosophical speculation on the subject, a textbook on leading approaches, or a fundamentally new . . .

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