pragmatic theory of truth

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The view especially associated with James, that the truth of a statement can be defined in terms of the utility of accepting it. Put so baldly the view is open to objection, since there are things that are false that it may be useful to accept, and conversely there are things that are true that it may be damaging to accept. However, there are deep connections between the idea that a representative system is accurate, and the likely success of the projects and purposes formed by its possessor. The evolution of a system of representation, either perceptual or linguistic, seems bound to connect success with evolutionary adaptation, or with utility in the widest sense. The Wittgensteinian doctrine that meaning is use shares the pragmatic emphasis on technique and practice as the matrix within which meaning is possible. See also pragmatism.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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