Truth: Philosophy in Transit

Penguin UK
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In the first in a new series of easily digestible, commute-lengthbooks of original philosophy, renowned thinker John D. Caputo explores the many notions of 'truth', and what it really means

Riding to work in the morning has has become commonplace. We ride everywhere. Physicians and public health officials plead with us to get out and walk, to get some exercise. People used to live within walking distance to the fields in which they worked, or they worked in shops attached to their homes. Now we ride to work, and nearly everywhere else. Which may seem an innocent enough point, and certainly not one on which we require instruction from the philosophers. But, truth be told, it has in fact precipitated a crisis in our understanding of truth.

Arguing that our transportation technologies are not merely transient phenomena but the vehicle for an important metaphor about postmodernism, or even constitutive of postmodernism, John D. Caputo explores the problems posited by the way in which science, ethics, politics, art and religion all claim to offer us (the) "truth", defending throughout a "postmodern", or "hermeneutic" theory of truth,
and posits his own surprising theory of the many notions of truth.

John D. Caputo is a specialist in contemporary hermeneutics and deconstruction with a special interest in religion in the postmodern condition. The Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University, he has spearheaded an idea he calls weak theology.

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About the author

John D. Caputo is a specialist in contemporary hermeneutics and deconstruction with a special interest in religion in the postmodern condition. The Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University, he has spearheaded an idea he calls weak theology.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin UK
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Published on
Sep 26, 2013
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780241960882
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Epistemology
Philosophy / Essays
Philosophy / General
Transportation / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A philosopher proposes a new deflationist view of truth, based on contemporary proof-theoretic approaches.

In The Tarskian Turn, Leon Horsten investigates the relationship between formal theories of truth and contemporary philosophical approaches to truth. The work of mathematician and logician Alfred Tarski (1901–1983) marks the transition from substantial to deflationary views about truth. Deflationism—which holds that the notion of truth is light and insubstantial—can be and has been made more precise in multiple ways. Crucial in making the deflationary intuition precise is its relation to formal or logical aspects of the notion of truth. Allowing that semantical theories of truth may have heuristic value, in The Tarskian Turn Horsten focuses on axiomatic theories of truth developed since Tarski and their connection to deflationism.

Arguing that the insubstantiality of truth has been misunderstood in the literature, Horsten proposes and defends a new kind of deflationism, inferential deflationism, according to which truth is a concept without a nature or essence. He argues that this way of viewing the concept of truth, inspired by a formalization of Kripke's theory of truth, flows naturally from the best formal theories of truth that are currently available. Alternating between logical and philosophical chapters, the book steadily progresses toward stronger theories of truth. Technicality cannot be altogether avoided in the subject under discussion, but Horsten attempts to strike a balance between the need for logical precision on the one hand and the need to make his argument accessible to philosophers.

In a number of influential articles published since 1972, Dorothy Grover has developed the prosentential theory of truth. Brought together and published with a new introduction, these essays are even more impressive as a group than they were as single contributions to philosophy and linguistics. Denying that truth has an explanatory role, the prosentential theory does not address traditional truth issues like belief, meaning, and justification. Instead, it focuses on the grammatical role of the truth predicate and asserts that "it is true" is a prosentence, functioning much as a pronoun does. Grover defends the theory by indicating how it can handle notorious paradoxes like the Liar, as well as by analyzing some English truth-usages. The introduction to the volume surveys traditional theories of truth, including correspondence, pragmatic, and coherence theories. It discusses the essays to come and, finally, considers the implications of the prosentential theory for other theories. Despite the fact that the prosentential theory dismisses the "nature of truth" as a red herring, Grover shows that there are important aspects of traditional truth theories that prosentential theorists have the option of endorsing.

Originally published in 1992.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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