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❶These are no small concerns and we'll explore some responses below. A distant descendant of the neo-classical coherence theory that does not require idealism will be discussed in section 6.

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The Correspondence Theory of Truth
The Coherence View of Truth
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Lie Essay Being honest and having a reputation of never lying makes people trust them more. People are more likely to come up to a person who tells the truth and ask them a question Amber Spencer The Truth. Truth is defined as actuality or an actual existent. People may argue sometime that the truth is not really an actuality but somewhat of a guess Truth exists and is an absolute. Contrary to the mush-minded meanderings of modern educators, truth is not relative.

If my truth differs from your truth that can only be because either one or both of us is unaware of the truth and has called something true which is not Knowledge sense perception emotion language reasoning It seems to me that the first three sense perception, emotion, language can't be relied on as much as the last one reason to find truth We will thus dub it the neo-classical correspondence theory.

This theory offers us a paradigm example of a correspondence theory of truth. The leading idea of the correspondence theory is familiar. It is a form of the older idea that true beliefs show the right kind of resemblance to what is believed. In this theory, it is the way the world provides us with appropriately structured entities that explains truth. Our metaphysics thus explains the nature of truth, by providing the entities needed to enter into correspondence relations.

For more on the correspondence theory, see David , and the entry on the correspondance theory of truth. Though initially the correspondence theory was seen by its developers as a competitor to the identity theory of truth, it was also understood as opposed to the coherence theory of truth.

We will be much briefer with the historical origins of the coherence theory than we were with the correspondence theory. Like the correspondence theory, versions of the coherence theory can be seen throughout the history of philosophy.

See, for instance, Walker for a discussion of its early modern lineage. Like the correspondence theory, it was important in the early 20th century British origins of analytic philosophy. Particularly, the coherence theory of truth is associated with the British idealists to whom Moore and Russell were reacting.

Many idealists at that time did indeed hold coherence theories. Let us take as an example Joachim This is the theory that Russell a attacks. But a few remarks about his theory will help to give substance to the quoted passage. This is not merely a turn of phrase, but a reflection of his monistic idealism. Individual judgments or beliefs are certainly not the whole complete truth. Such judgments are, according to Joachim, only true to a degree. One aspect of this doctrine is a kind of holism about content, which holds that any individual belief or judgment gets its content only in virtue of being part of a system of judgments.

Any real judgment we might make will only be partially true. We will not attempt that, as it leads us to some of the more formidable aspects of his view, e. As with the correspondence theory, it will be useful to recast the coherence theory in a more modern form, which will abstract away from some of the difficult features of British idealism.

As with the correspondence theory, it can be put in a slogan:. To further the contrast with the neo-classical correspondence theory, we may add that a proposition is true if it is the content of a belief in the system, or entailed by a belief in the system.

We may assume, with Joachim, that the condition of coherence will be stronger than consistency. With the idealists generally, we might suppose that features of the believing subject will come into play. This theory is offered as an analysis of the nature of truth, and not simply a test or criterion for truth.

It is the way the coherence theory is given in Walker , for instance. See also Young for a recent defense of a coherence theory. Let us take this as our neo-classical version of the coherence theory.

The contrast with the correspondence theory of truth is clear. Far from being a matter of whether the world provides a suitable object to mirror a proposition, truth is a matter of how beliefs are related to each-other. The coherence theory of truth enjoys two sorts of motivations. One is primarily epistemological. Most coherence theorists also hold a coherence theory of knowledge; more specifically, a coherence theory of justification.

According to this theory, to be justified is to be part of a coherent system of beliefs. An argument for this is often based on the claim that only another belief could stand in a justification relation to a belief, allowing nothing but properties of systems of belief, including coherence, to be conditions for justification.

Combining this with the thesis that a fully justified belief is true forms an argument for the coherence theory of truth.

The steps in this argument may be questioned by a number of contemporary epistemological views. But the coherence theory also goes hand-in-hand with its own metaphysics as well. The coherence theory is typically associated with idealism. As we have already discussed, forms of it were held by British idealists such as Joachim, and later by Blanshard in America.

An idealist should see the last step in the justification argument as quite natural. More generally, an idealist will see little if any room between a system of beliefs and the world it is about, leaving the coherence theory of truth as an extremely natural option. It is possible to be an idealist without adopting a coherence theory. For instance, many scholars read Bradley as holding a version of the identity theory of truth. See Baldwin for some discussion. However, it is hard to see much of a way to hold the coherence theory of truth without maintaining some form of idealism.

Walker argues that every coherence theorist must be an idealist, but not vice-versa. The neo-classical correspondence theory seeks to capture the intuition that truth is a content-to-world relation. It captures this in the most straightforward way, by asking for an object in the world to pair up with a true proposition. The neo-classical coherence theory, in contrast, insists that truth is not a content-to-world relation at all; rather, it is a content-to-content, or belief-to-belief, relation.

The coherence theory requires some metaphysics which can make the world somehow reflect this, and idealism appears to be it. A distant descendant of the neo-classical coherence theory that does not require idealism will be discussed in section 6. For more on the coherence theory, see Walker and the entry on the coherence theory of truth. A different perspective on truth was offered by the American pragmatists.

As with the neo-classical correspondence and coherence theories, the pragmatist theories go with some typical slogans. For example, Peirce is usually understood as holding the view that:. See, for instance Hartshorne et al. Both Peirce and James are associated with the slogan that:. True beliefs are guaranteed not to conflict with subsequent experience. See Misak for an extended discussion. This marks an important difference between the pragmatist theories and the coherence theory we just considered.

Even so, pragmatist theories also have an affinity with coherence theories, insofar as we expect the end of inquiry to be a coherent system of beliefs. As Haack also notes, James maintains an important verificationist idea: We will see this idea re-appear in section 4.

For more on pragmatist theories of truth, see Misak Modern forms of the classical theories survive. Many of these modern theories, notably correspondence theories, draw on ideas developed by Tarski. In this regard, it is important to bear in mind that his seminal work on truth is very much of a piece with other works in mathematical logic, such as his , and as much as anything this work lays the ground-work for the modern subject of model theory — a branch of mathematical logic, not the metaphysics of truth.

In the classical debate on truth at the beginning of the 20th century we considered in section 1, the issue of truth-bearers was of great significance. Many theories we reviewed took beliefs to be the bearers of truth.

In contrast, Tarski and much of the subsequent work on truth takes sentences to be the primary bearers of truth. This is not an entirely novel development: But whereas much of the classical debate takes the issue of the primary bearers of truth to be a substantial and important metaphysical one, Tarski is quite casual about it.

His primary reason for taking sentences as truth-bearers is convenience, and he explicitly distances himself from any commitment about the philosophically contentious issues surrounding other candidate truth-bearers e.

We will return to the issue of the primary bearers of truth in section 6. But it should be stressed that for this discussion, sentences are fully interpreted sentences, having meanings. We will also assume that the sentences in question do not change their content across occasions of use, i.

In some places e. This is an adequacy condition for theories, not a theory itself. In light of this, Convention T guarantees that the truth predicate given by the theory will be extensionally correct , i. Tarski does not merely propose a condition of adequacy for theories of truth, he also shows how to meet it. But truth can be defined for all of them by recursion. This may look trivial, but in defining an extensionally correct truth predicate for an infinite language with four clauses, we have made a modest application of a very powerful technique.

They do not stop with atomic sentences. Tarski notes that truth for each atomic sentence can be defined in terms of two closely related notions: Tarski goes on to demonstrate some key applications of such a theory of truth.

This was especially important to Tarski, who was concerned the Liar paradox would make theories in languages containing a truth predicate inconsistent. The correspondence theory of truth expresses the very natural idea that truth is a content-to-world or word-to-world relation: We suggested that, against a background like the metaphysics of facts, it does so in a straightforward way. But the idea of correspondence is certainly not specific to this framework.

Indeed, it is controversial whether a correspondence theory should rely on any particular metaphysics at all. Yet without the metaphysics of facts, the notion of correspondence as discussed in section 1.

This has led to two distinct strands in contemporary thinking about the correspondence theory. One strand seeks to recast the correspondence theory in a way that does not rely on any particular ontology. Another seeks to find an appropriate ontology for correspondence, either in terms of facts or other entities. We will consider each in turn. Tarski himself sometimes suggested that his theory was a kind of correspondence theory of truth.

Whether his own theory is a correspondence theory, and even whether it provides any substantial philosophical account of truth at all, is a matter of controversy. One rather drastic negative assessment from Putnam —86, p. As it is normally understood, reference is the preeminent word-to-world relation. Satisfaction is naturally understood as a word-to-world relation as well, which relates a predicate to the things in the world that bear it.

The Tarskian recursive definition shows how truth is determined by reference and satisfaction, and so is in effect determined by the things in the world we refer to and the properties they bear. This, one might propose, is all the correspondence we need. It is not correspondence of sentences or propositions to facts; rather, it is correspondence of our expressions to objects and the properties they bear, and then ways of working out the truth of claims in terms of this.

This is certainly not the neo-classical idea of correspondence. In not positing facts, it does not posit any single object to which a true proposition or sentence might correspond. Rather, it shows how truth might be worked out from basic word-to-world relations. As we will discuss more fully in section 4. Rather, it offers a number of disquotation clauses , such as:.

These clauses have an air of triviality though whether they are to be understood as trivial principles or statements of non-trivial semantic facts has been a matter of some debate. With Field, we might propose to supplement clauses like these with an account of reference and satisfaction. In , Field was envisaging a physicalist account, along the lines of the causal theory of reference. This should inter alia guarantee that truth is really determined by word-to-world relations, so in conjunction with the Tarskian recursive definition, it could provide a correspondence theory of truth.

Such a theory clearly does not rely on a metaphysics of facts. Indeed, it is in many ways metaphysically neutral, as it does not take a stand on the nature of particulars, or of the properties or universals that underwrite facts about satisfaction. However, it may not be entirely devoid of metaphysical implications, as we will discuss further in section 4. Much of the subsequent discussion of Field-style approaches to correspondence has focused on the role of representation in these views.

These are instances of representation relations. According to representational views, meaningful items, like perhaps thoughts or sentences or their constituents, have their contents in virtue of standing in the right relation to the things they represent. The project of developing a naturalist account of the representation relation has been an important one in the philosophy of mind and language.

See the entry on mental representation. But, it has implications for the theory of truth. Representational views of content lead naturally to correspondence theories of truth. To make this vivid, suppose you hold that sentences or beliefs stand in a representation relation to some objects. It is natural to suppose that for true beliefs or sentences, those objects would be facts.

We then have a correspondence theory, with the correspondence relation explicated as a representation relation: As we have discussed, many contemporary views reject facts, but one can hold a representational view of content without them.

The relations of reference and satisfaction are representation relations, and truth for sentences is determined compositionally in terms of those representation relations, and the nature of the objects they represent.

If we have such relations, we have the building blocks for a correspondence theory without facts. Field anticipated a naturalist reduction of the representation via a causal theory, but any view that accepts representation relations for truth bearers or their constituents can provide a similar theory of truth.

See Jackson and Lynch for further discussion. Representational views of content provide a natural way to approach the correspondence theory of truth, and likewise, anti-representational views provide a natural way to avoid the correspondence theory of truth. This is most clear in the work of Davidson, as we will discuss more in section 6. There have been a number of correspondence theories that do make use of facts. Some are notably different from the neo-classical theory sketched in section 1.

For instance, Austin proposes a view in which each statement understood roughly as an utterance event corresponds to both a fact or situation, and a type of situation. It is true if the former is of the latter type. This theory, which has been developed by situation theory e. Rather, correspondence relations to Austin are entirely conventional.

See Vision for an extended defense of an Austinian correspondence theory. As an ordinary language philosopher, Austin grounds his notion of fact more in linguistic usage than in an articulated metaphysics, but he defends his use of fact-talk in Austin b.

In a somewhat more Tarskian spirit, formal theories of facts or states of affairs have also been developed. There are more metaphysically robust notions of fact in the current literature. The view has much in common with the neo-classical one. Like the neo-classical view, Armstrong endorses a version of the correspondence theory.

States of affairs are truthmakers for propositions, though Armstrong argues that there may be many such truthmakers for a given proposition, and vice versa. Armstrong also envisages a naturalistic account of propositions as classes of equivalent belief-tokens. It is then argued that facts are the appropriate truthmakers. In contrast to the approach to correspondence discussed in section 3.

The truthmaker principle expresses the ontological aspect of the neo-classical correspondence theory. Not merely must truth obtain in virtue of word-to-world relations, but there must be a thing that makes each truth true.

For one view on this, see Merricks The neo-classical correspondence theory, and Armstrong, cast facts as the appropriate truthmakers. However, it is a non-trivial step from the truthmaker principle to the existence of facts. Parsons argues that the truthmaker principle presented in a somewhat different form is compatible with there being only concrete particulars.

As we saw in discussing the neo-classical correspondence theory, truthmaker theories, and fact theories in particular, raise a number of issues. One which has been discussed at length, for instance, is whether there are negative facts. Negative facts would be the truthmakers for negated sentences. Russell notoriously expresses ambivalence about whether there are negative facts. Armstrong rejects them, while Beall defends them.

For more discussion of truthmakers, see Cameron and the papers in Beebee and Dodd The neo-classical theories we surveyed in section 1 made the theory of truth an application of their background metaphysics and in some cases epistemology.

In section 2 and especially in section 3, we returned to the issue of what sorts of ontological commitments might go with the theory of truth. There we saw a range of options, from relatively ontologically non-committal theories, to theories requiring highly specific ontologies.

There is another way in which truth relates to metaphysics. Many ideas about realism and anti-realism are closely related to ideas about truth. Indeed, many approaches to questions about realism and anti-realism simply make them questions about truth. In discussing the approach to correspondence of section 3. It relies on there being objects of reference, and something about the world which makes for determinate satisfaction relations; but beyond that, it is ontologically neutral.

But as we mentioned there, this is not to say that it has no metaphysical implications. A correspondence theory of truth, of any kind, is often taken to embody a form of realism. Wright offers a nice statement of this way of thinking about realism.

These theses imply that our claims are objectively true or false, depending on how the world they are about is. The world that we represent in our thoughts or language is an objective world. Realism may be restricted to some subject-matter, or range of discourse, but for simplicity, we will talk about only its global form.

It is often argued that these theses require some form of the correspondence theory of truth. Such a theory will provide an account of objective relations of reference and satisfaction, and show how these determine the truth or falsehood of what we say about the world. But realism is a more general idea than physicalism. Any theory that provides objective relations of reference and satisfaction, and builds up a theory of truth from them, would give a form of realism.

Making the objectivity of reference the key to realism is characteristic of work of Putnam, e. Another important mark of realism expressed in terms of truth is the property of bivalence. As Dummett has stressed e. Hence, one important mark of realism is that it goes together with the principle of bivalence: In much of his work, Dummett has made this the characteristic mark of realism, and often identifies realism about some subject-matter with accepting bivalence for discourse about that subject-matter.

At the very least, it captures a great deal of what is more loosely put in the statement of realism above. Both the approaches to realism, through reference and through bivalence, make truth the primary vehicle for an account of realism. A theory of truth which substantiates bivalence, or builds truth from a determinate reference relation, does most of the work of giving a realistic metaphysics.

It might even simply be a realistic metaphysics. We have thus turned on its head the relation of truth to metaphysics we saw in our discussion of the neo-classical correspondence theory in section 1.

There, a correspondence theory of truth was built upon a substantial metaphysics. Here, we have seen how articulating a theory that captures the idea of correspondence can be crucial to providing a realist metaphysics. For another perspective on realism and truth, see Alston Devitt offers an opposing view to the kind we have sketched here, which rejects any characterization of realism in terms of truth or other semantic concepts.

Truth is many things to each individual, but once one has it set in his or her mind the real version of truth it is hard to alter it. It is said that the truth will always come out in the end; it make take some longer than others to determine his or her accurate outlook of what he or she perceives to be truth. In life, truth affects everyone around a person because what one believes as truth is going to try to be passed on from individual to individual.

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Truth does not vary or shift, it is a piece of unalterable reality. It follows, therefore, that truth is the same for all of us, thus, one should be repelled by the expression that "what is true for you is not true for me.".

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Locke's Theories of Truth Correspondence - Monism vs. Dualism John Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding his primary thesis is our ideas come from experience, that the human mind from birth is a blank slate.

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