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Two Types of Deflationism

Aladdin M. Yaqub
Synthese
Vol. 165, No. 1 (Nov., 2008), pp. 77-106
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40271112
Page Count: 30
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Two Types of Deflationism
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Abstract

It is a fundamental intuition about truth that the conditions under which a sentence is true are given by what the sentence asserts. My aim in this paper is to show that this intuition captures the concept of truth completely and correctly. This is conceptual deflationism, for it does not go beyond what is asserted by a sentence in order to define the truth status of that sentence. This paper, hence, is a defense of deflationism as a conceptual account of truth. This defense is developed in four stages. In the first stage I present a distinction between two types of deflationism, conceptual and metaphysical. This is the central stage of the argument and its main conclusion is that conceptual deflationism when joined with the principle of bivalence is inconsistent with metaphysical deflationism, that is, conceptual deflationism together with bivalence entails a non-deflationary metaphysical account of truth. In the second and third stages of the argument I argue that the totality of the Tarskian biconditionals, when interpreted as definitional biconditionals, offers a description of the nature of truth. In the fourth, and final, stage of the argument I advance a positive case for conceptual deflationism. I explain how the revision theory of truth provides this sort of deflationism with its best evidence: a clear demonstration of its consistency and a compelling argument for its material adequacy.

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