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A minimal theory of a term or concept rejects the idea that it is a substantial focus for theory. A minimal theory of truth, for example, holds that there is no general problem about what makes sentences or propositions true; a minimal theory of value holds that there is nothing useful to say in general about values and valuing. Minimalist approaches arise when the prospects for a substantial meta-theory about some term seem dim. They are thus consonant with suspicion of ‘first philosophy’, or the possibility of a standpoint over and above involvement in some aspect of our activities, from which those activities can be surveyed and described. Minimalism is frequently associated with the anti-theoretical aspects of the later work of Wittgenstein, and has also been charged with being a fig-leaf for philosophical bankruptcy or anorexia. See also disquotational theory of truth, irrealism, quietism, redundancy theory of truth.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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