Truth in the State of Nature

Samuel Fleischacker

in Divine Teaching and the Way of the World

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199217366
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728495 | DOI:
Truth in the State of Nature

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Relying in part on work by Bernard Williams, Chapter 2 begins to lay out a social contract account of truth. The idea is to elucidate the basis on which people accept scientific theories, while at the same time making room for uses of the notion of truth that are not scientific. This chapter initiates the social contract account by showing how the notion of truth might find a use in a cognitive state of nature—by bringing out the baseline of “plain truths” to which all other claims to truth must be responsible. The notion of a cognitive state of nature, and of plain truths, are ones introduced by Williams.

Keywords: Bernard Williams; state of nature; plain truths; science

Chapter.  8446 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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