Chapter

Truth and Use

Colin McGinn

in Knowledge and Reality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598012 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199251584.003.0012
 Truth and Use

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In this response to the work of Michael Dummett, McGinn aims to vindicate the plausibility of a realist outlook. Realism claims that a sentence's truth is ‘epistemically unconstrained’ or ‘knowledge‐transcendent’, in the sense that the world is as it is independently of our knowing truths about it. Contra Dummett's arguments against the tenability of this realist conviction, McGinn's counter‐argument proceeds by showing, first, ‘that it is an empiricist dogma to suppose that we cannot acquire conceptions that transcend our experience (“recognitional capacities”),’ and second, ‘that we can connect experience‐transcendent conceptions with linguistic use by making the (deflationary) observation that such conceptions are fit subjects for communicative speech acts’.

Keywords: anti‐realism; Dummett; empiricism; experience; Quine; realism; reality; recognitional capacity; truth; use

Chapter.  11376 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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