AuthorDavid, Marian Alexander.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe main concern of this work is to understand and evaluate the debate between substantivism and deflationism in the theory of truth. According to substantive theories, truth consists in, and has to be explained in terms of, a special relation between the truth bearing item and reality. According to deflationism, such theories offer a needlessly inflated account of truth. Chapter one sketches a paradigmatic substantive theory of truth that explains the notion of truth by invoking the notions of representation and states of affairs. It says that for something to be true is for it to represent a state of affairs that obtains. Chapter two introduces physicalism, i.e., the thesis that everything there is can be explained in terms amenable to physics. For physicalism to be correct one of the following has to be the case: either the notion of representation (and the notion of a state of affairs) can be explained in physicalistic terms, or there simply are no representations (and no states of affairs). So if the relevant explanations are not to be had, the physicalist has to become an eliminativist with respect to representations (and states of affairs). Such an eliminative physicalism provides the major motivation for a deflationist attitude towards truth. It engenders the need to search for a deflationist ersatz-account of truth; an account that does not invoke substantive notions like representation. Chapter three develops the best, most prominent, and so far only serious candidate for a deflationist account: the thesis that truth is disquotation. Chapter four raises four grave problems for disquotationalism and discusses the costs of solving these problems. Chapter five concludes that the costs are too high. Disquotationalism is not an acceptable ersatz-theory of truth. As long as there is no other serious candidate for a deflationist account of truth that does not succumb to the same problems as disquotationalism, the substantive theory of truth has to be accepted. That means, if physicalism is to succeed it has to be able to provide explanations of substantive notions like representation. If no such explanations are to be had, it is more plausible to relinquish physicalism than to embrace deflationism with respect to truth.