May.22.15: against deflationism about truth

I seem to go back and forth about the adequacy of deflationist accounts of truth. I began my doctorate by sharing Putnam’s conviction that the deflationist ideal is seriously defective; then waffled in the face of Field’s defence; and now have returned to a state of skepticism.

Now, none of my thoughts are publishable in their present form, and I do not have the time or inclination to make them so. Moreover, I see some obstacles in the clear expression of ideas that are embodied in the journal format — it is my feeling that the model of the essay is not always the most efficient vehicle for the dissemination of philosophical reasoning. All the same, I would like to reason through some of the contours of the problems I have with deflationism, as I presently see them, and to do so in a way that somebody could make sense of if they cared.

So, as an experiment in style, I wrote this Tractarian-style manifesto. In it, I argue that truth is an essentially temporal (or “diachronic”) notion. Since deflationism is consistent with mere acceptability of statements within in a model (language, conceptual scheme, etc.), it does not accomplish what we need from a theory of truth.


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