The ‘Correspondence’ Intuition

Paul Horwich

in Truth

Second edition

Published in print December 1998 | ISBN: 9780198752233
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597732 | DOI:
 The ‘Correspondence’ Intuition

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The correspondence conception of truth involves two claims: (1) that truths correspond to reality; and (2) that such correspondence is what truth essentially is. And the minimalist response, urged in this chapter, is to concede the first of these theses (properly understood) but to deny the second. The rationale for this response is that the minimalistic equivalence biconditionals can easily be supplemented with characterizations of correspondence and fact to show that, indeed, for any true proposition or sentence, there is a corresponding fact. However, it is shown that there are no advantages—and substantial disadvantages—in supposing that this entire construction constitutes the basic theory of truth. One merely imaginary benefit is that a correspondence account, by reducing truth to reference and reference to causation, would leave us with a finite, naturalistic model—and thereby make the concept of truth scientifically respectable. It is argued, however, that reference, satisfaction, correspondence, and fact are just as non‐naturalistic, and in need of infinite, deflationary theories, as truth is.

Keywords: causation; correspondence; fact; naturalism; reference; satisfaction; truth

Chapter.  4648 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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