Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Truth, the liar, and relativism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Author(s)

School/Research organisations

Abstract

This essay proposes a theory of the nature and logic of truth on which truth is an inconsistent concept that should be replaced for certain theoretical purposes. The paradoxes associated with truth (for example, the liar) and the pattern of failures in our attempts to deal with them suggest that truth is an inconsistent concept. The first part of the essay describes a pair of replacement concepts, which the essay dubs ascending truth and descending truth, along with an axiomatic theory of them and an empirical interpretation of the theory. The essay shows how to use these replacements in a familiar truth-conditional semantics as well. The second part of the essay offers a descriptive theory of our natural language truth predicate that takes it to be assessment sensitive, which means that it has the same content in every context of utterance, but its extension (that is, the set of things that are true) depends on a context of assessment. Contexts of assessment model situations in which a person interprets someone's utterance. From different contexts of assessment, the truth predicate has different extensions. The descriptive theory employs the concepts of ascending truth and descending truth, and they determine how the extension of the truth predicate varies across contexts of assessment. This assessment-sensitive theory of truth solves the liar and other paradoxes, it is compatible with classical logic and all the expressive resources we have in natural language, and it does not give rise to any new paradoxes.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-510
Number of pages84
JournalPhilosophical Review
Volume122
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Shrieking in the face of vengeance

    Scharp, K. 6 Feb 2018 In : Analysis. Advance articles, anx163

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Replies to Bacon, Eklund, and Greenough on Replacing Truth

    Scharp, K. 15 Jan 2018 In : Inquiry - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. Latest articles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Semantics for Reasons

    Scharp, K. A. & Weaver, B. 2018 Oxford University Press.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  4. Philosophy as the Study of Defective Concepts

    Scharp, K. A. 2018 Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford University Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  5. Aletheic and Logical Pluralism

    Scharp, K. A. 2018 Pluralisms in Truth and Logic. Palgrave Macmillan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Related by journal

  1. Review of Heidegger's Confessions

    Wolfe, J. 2018 In : Philosophical Review. 127, 4

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  2. Knowing what things look like

    McGrath, M. Jan 2017 In : Philosophical Review. 126, 1, 41 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Does Division Multiply Desert?

    Pummer, T. G. 2014 In : Philosophical Review. 123, 1, p. 43-77

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Affordances and Phenomenal Character in Spatial Perception

    Prosser, S. J. Oct 2011 In : Philosophical Review. 120, 4, p. 475-513

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 252068970