Article/Publication Details

Truths, Facts, and Liars

Organon F, 2018, vol. 25, No 2, pp. 155-173.
Language: English
File to download: PDF*

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Abstract

A Moderate Anti-realist (MAR) approach to truth and meaning, built around the concept of knowability, will be introduced and argued for in this essay. Our starting point will be the two fundamental anti-realists principles that claim that neither truth nor meaning can outstrip knowability and our focus will be on the challenge of adequately formalizing these principles and incorporating them into a formal theory. Accordingly, I will introduce a MAR truth operator that is built on a distinction between being true and being factual. I will show then that this approach partitions propositions into eight classes, on the basis of their knowability. We will then ask the following question: Given the anti-realist principles, what kind of theory of propositional meaning can properly explain the meaninglessness of fully unknowable propositions? This question will lead us to the claim that the meaning/content of propositions should be identified not with the set of possible worlds in which the propositions are true/factual, but rather in which they are known. This modified approach will then be used to analyze both the Liar Paradox and the Strengthened Liar. To anticipate the conclusion of this essay, it will be shown that a MAR framework can render definite truth and factuality values to the Liar sentence and it will also confirm our intuition that such paradoxical sentences are devoid of proper meaning.

Keywords

Chuch-Fitch paradox, knowability, Liar Paradox, meaning, moderate anti-realism, truth

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