Posts tagged ‘truth’

November 27, 2012

RTH3 – Correspondence with facts

by Neil Rickert

In my third post on our debate on Putnam’s “Reason, Truth and History” I will discuss the idea of truth as correspondence with the facts.  There are two versions of the correspondence theory that I see mentioned from time to time.  Those are:

  • truth is correspondence with the facts;
  • truth is correspondence with reality.

Of those, by far the most common is the first.  I’ll discuss the second version in a future post.

The idea of truth as correspondence with the facts leaves me shaking my head.  It makes no sense to me.  One of the participants in our online debate expressed the problem by saying it is glib and vacuous, a comment that he attributed to Strawson.  You can find that yahoo groups message here.  And that “glib and vacuous” pretty much sums up my view.

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November 23, 2012

RTH2 – Cats and cherries

by Neil Rickert

This is the second of my posts related to an online discussion of Putnam’s book “Reason, Truth and History”.  Hence the “RTH2” in the title of this post.  For the first such post, check here.

Starting at page 32 of his book, Putnam presents an argument that has come to be known as the “Cats and Cherries” argument, or sometimes as the model theoretic argument.  The model theory background from mathematical logic is the Löwenheim–Skolem theorem.  The theorem itself says that, under suitable assumptions, a theory might have infinitely many interpretations.  If we take natural language to be a theory (as the term “theory” is used in mathematical logic), then this raises the possibility that there might be different ways that natural language words could refer to real world entities.

Putnam considers the possibility of a radical reinterpretation of the English language, such that whenever we say “the cat is on the mat” we really mean “the cherry is on the tree.”

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November 17, 2012

Reason, truth, history

by Neil Rickert

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have been engaged in a discussion of the correspondence theory of truth.  The discussion took place on the Quick Philosophy yahoo group, where we started looking at Putnam’s book “Reason, Truth and History.”  The full discussion began on Aug. 20, 2012.

Here, I will give some links into the discussion.  I may say more on my own views of the topic in future posts.

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