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[ontolog-forum] Truth

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 06:58:43 -0400
Message-id: <4FED8A63.8030901@xxxxxxxxxxx>
I'd like to cite the following article as an antidote to some
of the recent discussions about truth:    (01)

    Concern for truth:  What it means, why it matters    (02)

The author, Susan Haack, is a philosopher who specializes in issues
about logic and the philosophy of science.  She frequently quotes
C. S. Peirce, who has far more cogent arguments on these topics than
the philosophers she is arguing against.    (03)

There is another point of view, which is very different from the
ones that Haack is discussing in that article.  It is based on the 
observation that    (04)

   "p is true" if and only if p.    (05)

This observation does not deny that there are true statements.
It merely defines the adjective 'true' without claiming that there
is an abstract entity called Truth.  This way of talking is advocated
by philosophers such as Quine who try to minimize the kinds of entities
in their ontologies.  See, for example,    (06)

    The deflationary theory of truth    (07)

But note the concluding paragraph of that article:    (08)

> The decision to be an inflationist or a deflationist about truth
> has been called “the biggest decision a theorist of truth must make”
> (Boghossian 1990). Certainly this is true at an intuitive level.
> But it is sobering also to realize that it is not exactly clear
> what this decision amounts to when subjected to philosophical scrutiny.
> And this suggests that there is still a lot of work to be done before
> we can arrive at a final evaluation of the deflationary theory of truth.    (09)

I would claim that abstract entities are needed when you want to
formulate a metalevel theory about how some subject is related to
propositions about the subject.  In fact, the word 'proposition'
itself denotes an abstract entity that can be very useful when you
want to talk about what a sentence means.    (010)

Alonzo Church was a logician who was happy to talk about abstract
entities.  My favorite example is a tongue-in-cheek article that he
presented at Harvard, explicitly because he wanted to annoy Quine:    (011)

    The ontological status of women and abstract entities    (012)

For a more detailed argument for the existence of abstract entities,
see the following article by Peter van Inwagen:    (013)

    A theory of properties    (014)

John Sowa    (015)

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