Truth, the Whole Truth, and Partial Truth

Newton C. A. da Costa and Steven French

in Science and Partial Truth

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780195156515
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785896 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science

 						Truth, the Whole Truth, and Partial Truth

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This chapter reviews the formalism of “pragmatic” or “quasi” truth. Just as Tarski's formalization attempted to capture what he called the “intentions” of the correspondence view of truth, the formalism outlined here attempts to represent the “intentions” of the pragmatists, notably Peirce and James. Of these, perhaps the most significant is a concern with representations of the world that are not perfect copies but are, in certain respects, incomplete and partial. The nature of the agreement between such representations and the world is then spelled out in pragmatic terms, which emphasize the set of empirical consequences of a particular idea or “concept”. The fundamental formal device behind this formalism is that of a “partial structure” and it is upon this that our epistemic construction rests.

Keywords: pragmatic truth; quasi truth; Tarski; formalism; partial structure

Chapter.  6843 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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