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2. Ideas in the mind distinguished from that in things which gives rise to them. are the likeness of our ideas, which yet upon hearing they are apt to excite in us. 8. are so small, that we cannot by any of our senses discover either their bulk.
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- An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, by John Locke
- Human nature - Wikipedia
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For the Socratics, human nature, and all natures, are metaphysical concepts. Aristotle developed the standard presentation of this approach with his theory of four causes. Every living thing exhibits four aspects or "causes": For example, an oak tree is made of plant cells matter , grew from an acorn effect , exhibits the nature of oak trees form , and grows into a fully mature oak tree end.
Human nature is an example of a formal cause, according to Aristotle. Likewise, to become a fully actualized human being including fully actualizing the mind is our end. The cultivation of learning and intellectual growth of the philosopher, which is thereby also the happiest and least painful life. Human nature is a central question in Chinese philosophy. In Christian theology, there are two ways of "conceiving human nature".
The first is "spiritual, Biblical, and theistic", whereas the second is "natural, cosmical, and anti-theistic". As William James put it in his study of human nature from a religious perspective, "religion" has a "department of human nature". Various views of human nature have been held by theologians.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, by John Locke
However, there are some "basic assertions" in all "biblical anthropology". The Bible contains no single "doctrine of human nature". Rather, it provides material for more philosophical descriptions of human nature. Catechism of the Catholic Church  in chapter "Dignity of the human person" has article about man as image of God, vocation to beatitude, freedom, human acts, passions, moral conscience, virtues and sin. As originally created, the Bible describes "two elements" in human nature: By this was created a "living soul", that is, a "living person".
Genesis does not elaborate the meaning of "the image of God", but scholars find suggestions.
Human nature - Wikipedia
One is that being created in the image of God distinguishes human nature from that of the beasts. A third is that mankind possesses an inherent ability "to set goals" and move toward them. Adam was created with ability to make "right choices", but also with the ability to choose sin, by which he fell from righteousness into a state of "sin and depravity". By Adam 's fall into sin, "human nature" became "corrupt", although it retains the image of God. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach that "sin is universal".
Such a "recognition that there is something wrong with the moral nature of man is found in all religions". This condition is sometimes called " total depravity ". Adam embodied the "whole of human nature" so when Adam sinned "all of human nature sinned". However, the "universality of sin" implies a link to Adam. In the New Testament, Paul concurs with the "universality of sin". He also makes explicit what the Old Testament implied: The theological "doctrine of original sin" as an inherent element of human nature is not based only on the Bible.
It is in part a "generalization from obvious facts" open to empirical observation. A number of experts on human nature have described the manifestations of original i. Empirical discussion questioning the genetic exclusivity of such an intrinsic badness proposition is presented by researchers Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson. In their book, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior , they propose a theory of multilevel group selection in support of an inherent genetic "altruism" in opposition to the original sin exclusivity for human nature.
Liberal theologians in the early 20th century described human nature as "basically good" needing only "proper training and education". But the above examples document the return to a "more realistic view" of human nature "as basically sinful and self-centered ". Human nature needs "to be regenerated According to the Bible, "Adam's disobedience corrupted human nature" but God mercifully "regenerates".
The goal of Christ's coming is that fallen humanity might be "conformed to or transformed into the image of Christ who is the perfect image of God", as in 2 Corinthians 4: One of the defining changes that occurred at the end of the Middle Ages was the end of the dominance of Aristotelian philosophy, and its replacement by a new approach to the study of nature, including human nature. Although this new realism applied to the study of human life from the beginning—for example, in Machiavelli 's works—the definitive argument for the final rejection of Aristotle was associated especially with Francis Bacon.
Bacon sometimes wrote as if he accepted the traditional four causes "It is a correct position that "true knowledge is knowledge by causes". And causes again are not improperly distributed into four kinds: But of these the final cause rather corrupts than advances the sciences, except such as have to do with human action. The discovery of the formal is despaired of. The efficient and the material as they are investigated and received, that is, as remote causes, without reference to the latent process leading to the form are but slight and superficial, and contribute little, if anything, to true and active science.
Thomas Hobbes , then Giambattista Vico , and David Hume all claimed to be the first to properly use a modern Baconian scientific approach to human things. Hobbes famously followed Descartes in describing humanity as matter in motion, just like machines. He also very influentially described man's natural state without science and artifice as one where life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". In this view, the mind is at birth a "blank slate" without rules, so data are added, and rules for processing them are formed solely by our sensory experiences. Jean-Jacques Rousseau pushed the approach of Hobbes to an extreme and criticized it at the same time.
He was a contemporary and acquaintance of Hume, writing before the French Revolution and long before Darwin and Freud. He shocked Western civilization with his Second Discourse by proposing that humans had once been solitary animals, without reason or language or communities, and had developed these things due to accidents of pre-history. This proposal was also less famously made by Giambattista Vico.
In other words, Rousseau argued that human nature was not only not fixed, but not even approximately fixed compared to what had been assumed before him. Humans are political, and rational, and have language now, but originally they had none of these things. Rousseau is also unusual in the extent to which he took the approach of Hobbes, asserting that primitive humans were not even naturally social.
A civilized human is therefore not only imbalanced and unhappy because of the mismatch between civilized life and human nature, but unlike Hobbes, Rousseau also became well known for the suggestion that primitive humans had been happier, " noble savages ". Rousseau's conception of human nature has been seen as the origin of many intellectual and political developments of the 19th and 20th centuries. What human nature did entail, according to Rousseau and the other modernists of the 17th and 18th centuries, were animal-like passions that led humanity to develop language and reasoning, and more complex communities or communities of any kind, according to Rousseau.
In contrast to Rousseau, David Hume was a critic of the oversimplifying and systematic approach of Hobbes, Rousseau, and some others whereby, for example, all human nature is assumed to be driven by variations of selfishness. Influenced by Hutcheson and Shaftesbury , he argued against oversimplification. On the one hand, he accepted that, for many political and economic subjects, people could be assumed to be driven by such simple selfishness, and he also wrote of some of the more social aspects of "human nature" as something which could be destroyed, for example if people did not associate in just societies.
On the other hand, he rejected what he called the "paradox of the sceptics", saying that no politician could have invented words like " 'honourable' and 'shameful,' 'lovely' and 'odious,' 'noble' and 'despicable ' ", unless there was not some natural "original constitution of the mind". Hume—like Rousseau—was controversial in his own time for his modernist approach, following the example of Bacon and Hobbes, of avoiding consideration of metaphysical explanations for any type of cause and effect.
He was accused of being an atheist. We needn't push our researches so far as to ask "Why do we have humanity, i. Our examination of causes must stop somewhere. After Rousseau and Hume, the nature of philosophy and science changed, branching into different disciplines and approaches, and the study of human nature changed accordingly.
Rousseau's proposal that human nature is malleable became a major influence upon international revolutionary movements of various kinds, while Hume's approach has been more typical in Anglo-Saxon countries, including the United States. Charles Darwin gave a widely accepted scientific argument for what Rousseau had already argued from a different direction, that humans and other animal species have no truly fixed nature, at least in the very long term.
Wilson 's sociobiology and closely related theory of evolutionary psychology give scientific arguments [ clarification needed ] against the " tabula rasa " hypotheses of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. In his book Consilience: The translation has Wittgenstein saying that an elementary proposition is false, when the corresponding state of affairs atomic fact does not exist—but the German original of the same passage looks rather like a version of 2. A fourth simple form of correspondence definition was popular for a time cf.
Main worries about 4 are: Which fact is the one that mis-corresponds with a given falsehood? What keeps a truth, which by definition corresponds with some fact, from also mis-corresponding with some other fact, i. The main positive argument given by advocates of the correspondence theory of truth is its obviousness. Even philosophers whose overall views may well lead one to expect otherwise tend to agree. Indeed, The Oxford English Dictionary tells us: In view of its claimed obviousness, it would seem interesting to learn how popular the correspondence theory actually is.
There are some empirical data. The PhilPapers Survey conducted in ; cf. Bourget and Chalmers , more specifically, the part of the survey targeting all regular faculty members in 99 leading departments of philosophy, reports the following responses to the question: The data suggest that correspondence-type theories may enjoy a weak majority among professional philosophers and that the opposition is divided.
This fits with the observation that typically, discussions of the nature of truth take some version of the correspondence theory as the default view, the view to be criticized or to be defended against criticism. Historically, the correspondence theory, usually in an object-based version, was taken for granted, so much so that it did not acquire this name until comparatively recently, and explicit arguments for the view are very hard to find. Since the comparatively recent arrival of apparently competing approaches, correspondence theorists have developed negative arguments, defending their view against objections and attacking sometimes ridiculing competing views.
Definitions like 1 or 2 are too narrow. Although they apply to truths from some domains of discourse, e. The objection recognizes moral truths, but rejects the idea that reality contains moral facts for moral truths to correspond to. The logical positivists recognized logical truths but rejected logical facts. There are four possible responses to objections of this sort: The objection in effect maintains that there are different brands of truth of the property being true , not just different brands of truths for different domains. On the face of it, this conflicts with the observation that there are many obviously valid arguments combining premises from flagged and unflagged domains.
The observation is widely regarded as refuting non-cognitivism, once the most popular concessive response to the objection. Though it retains important elements of the correspondence theory, this view does not, strictly speaking, offer a response to the objection on behalf of the correspondence theory and should be regarded as one of its competitors see below, Section 8.
Correspondence theories are too obvious. They are trivial, vacuous, trading in mere platitudes. Such common turns of phrase should not be taken to indicate commitment to a correspondence theory in any serious sense. In response, one could point out: This makes it rather difficult to explain why some thinkers emphatically reject all correspondence formulations. The objections can be divided into objections primarily aimed at the correspondence relation and its relatives 3. C2 , and objections primarily aimed at the notions of fact or state of affairs 3.
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The correspondence relation must be some sort of resemblance relation. The correspondence relation is very mysterious: How could such a relation possibly be accounted for within a naturalistic framework? What physical relation could it possibly be? Negative, disjunctive, conditional, universal, probabilistic, subjunctive, and counterfactual facts have all given cause for complaint on this score.
All facts, even the most simple ones, are disreputable. Fact-talk, being wedded to that-clauses, is entirely parasitic on truth-talk. Facts are too much like truthbearers. Some correspondence theories of truth are two-liner mini-theories, consisting of little more than a specific version of 1 or 2. Normally, one would expect a bit more, even from a philosophical theory though mini-theories are quite common in philosophy.
One would expect a correspondence theory to go beyond a mere definition like 1 or 2 and discharge a triple task: One can approach this by considering some general principles a correspondence theory might want to add to its central principle to flesh out her theory. It would be much simpler to say that no truth is identical with a fact.
However, some authors, e. Wittgenstein , hold that a proposition Satz , his truthbearer is itself a fact, though not the same fact as the one that makes the proposition true see also King Nonidentity is usually taken for granted by correspondence theorists as constitutive of the very idea of a correspondence theory—authors who advance contrary arguments to the effect that correspondence must collapse into identity regard their arguments as objections to any form of correspondence theory cf. Concerning the correspondence relation, two aspects can be distinguished: Pitcher ; Kirkham , chap.
Pertaining to the first aspect, familiar from mathematical contexts, a correspondence theorist is likely to adopt claim a , and some may in addition adopt claim b , of:. Together, a and b say that correspondence is a one-one relation. This seems needlessly strong, and it is not easy to find real-life correspondence theorists who explicitly embrace part b: Explicit commitment to a is also quite rare. However, correspondence theorists tend to move comfortably from talk about a given truth to talk about the fact it corresponds to—a move that signals commitment to a.
Correlation does not imply anything about the inner nature of the corresponding items. Contrast this with correspondence as isomorphism , which requires the corresponding items to have the same, or sufficiently similar, constituent structure. This aspect of correspondence, which is more prominent and more notorious than the previous one, is also much more difficult to make precise. Let us say, roughly, that a correspondence theorist may want to add a claim to her theory committing her to something like the following:. The basic idea is that truthbearers and facts are both complex structured entities: The aim is to show how the correspondence relation is generated from underlying relations between the ultimate constituents of truthbearers, on the one hand, and the ultimate constituents of their corresponding facts, on the other.
One part of the project will be concerned with these correspondence-generating relations: The other part of the project, the specifically ontological part, will have to provide identity criteria for facts and explain how their simple constituents combine into complex wholes. Putting all this together should yield an account of the conditions determining which truthbearers correspond to which facts. Correlation and Structure reflect distinct aspects of correspondence. One might want to endorse the former without the latter, though it is hard to see how one could endorse the latter without embracing at least part a of the former.
The isomorphism approach offers an answer to objection 3. This is not a qualitative resemblance; it is a more abstract, structural resemblance. The approach also puts objection 3. C2 in some perspective. The correspondence relation is supposed to reduce to underlying relations between words, or concepts, and reality. This reminds us that, as a relation, correspondence is no more—but also no less—mysterious than semantic relations in general. Such relations have some curious features, and they raise a host of puzzles and difficult questions—most notoriously: Can they be explained in terms of natural causal relations, or do they have to be regarded as irreducibly non-natural aspects of reality?
Some philosophers have claimed that semantic relations are too mysterious to be taken seriously, usually on the grounds that they are not explainable in naturalistic terms. But one should bear in mind that this is a very general and extremely radical attack on semantics as a whole, on the very idea that words and concepts can be about things. The common practice to aim this attack specifically at the correspondence theory seems misleading.
As far as the intelligibility of the correspondence relation is concerned, the correspondence theory will stand, or fall, with the general theory of reference and intentionality. It should be noted, though, that these points concerning objections 3. If truthbearers are taken to be sentences of an ordinary language or an idealized version thereof , or if they are taken to be mental representations sentences of the language of thought , the above points hold without qualification: If, on the other hand, the primary truthbearers are taken to be propositions , there is a complication:.
Though they have no room for 1 from Section 3, when applied to propositions as truthbearers, correspondence will enter into their account of truth for sentences, public or mental. Commitment to states of affairs in addition to propositions is sometimes regarded with scorn, as a gratuitous ontological duplication. But Russellians are not committed to states of affairs in addition to propositions, for propositions, on their view, must already be states of affairs. This conclusion is well nigh inevitable, once true propositions have been identified with facts.
If a true proposition is a fact, then a false proposition that might have been true would have been a fact, if it had been true. So, a contingent false proposition must be the same kind of being as a fact, only not a fact—an unfact; but that just is a non-obtaining state of affairs under a different name. Russellian propositions are states of affairs: The Russellian view of propositions is popular nowadays. Somewhat curiously, contemporary Russellians hardly ever refer to propositions as facts or states of affairs.
This is because they are much concerned with understanding belief, belief attributions, and the semantics of sentences. In such contexts, it is more natural to talk proposition-language than state-of-affairs-language. It feels odd wrong to say that someone believes a state of affairs, or that states of affairs are true or false. For that matter, it also feels odd wrong to say that some propositions are facts, that facts are true, and that propositions obtain or fail to obtain. Nevertheless, all of this must be the literal truth, according to the Russellians. Many philosophers have found it hard to believe in the existence of all these funny facts and funny quasi-logical objects.
This deep structure might then be expressed in an ideal-language typically, the language of predicate logic , whose syntactic structure is designed to mirror perfectly the ontological structure of reality. Austin rejects the isomorphism approach on the grounds that it projects the structure of our language onto the world.
On his version of the correspondence theory a more elaborated variant of 4 applied to statements , a statement as a whole is correlated to a state of affairs by arbitrary linguistic conventions without mirroring the inner structure of its correlate cf. This approach appears vulnerable to the objection that it avoids funny facts at the price of neglecting systematicity. Language does not provide separate linguistic conventions for each statement: Rather, it seems that the truth-values of statements are systematically determined, via a relatively small set of conventions, by the semantic values relations to reality of their simpler constituents.
Recognition of this systematicity is built right into the isomorphism approach. At bottom, this is a pessimistic stance: Advocates of traditional correspondence theories can be seen as taking the opposite stance: Wittgenstein and Russell propose modified fact-based correspondence accounts of truth as part of their program of logical atomism. Such accounts proceed in two stages. At the first stage, the basic truth-definition, say 1 from Section 3, is restricted to a special subclass of truthbearers, the so-called elementary or atomic truthbearers, whose truth is said to consist in their correspondence to atomic facts: This restricted definition serves as the base-clause for truth-conditional recursion-clauses given at the second stage, at which the truth-values of non-elementary, or molecular, truthbearers are explained recursively in terms of their logical structure and the truth-values of their simpler constituents.
Logical atomism exploits the familiar rules, enshrined in the truth-tables, for evaluating complex formulas on the basis of their simpler constituents. These rules can be understood in two different ways: Logical atomism takes option b. Logical atomism is designed to go with the ontological view that the world is the totality of atomic facts cf. F2 by doing without funny facts: An elementary truth is true because it corresponds to an atomic fact: There is no match between truths and facts at the level of non-elementary, molecular truths; e. The trick for avoiding logically complex facts lies in not assigning any entities to the logical constants.
This is expressed by Wittgenstein in an often quoted passage , 4. Though accounts of this sort are naturally classified as versions of the correspondence theory, it should be noted that they are strictly speaking in conflict with the basic forms presented in Section 3. According to logical atomism, it is not the case that for every truth there is a corresponding fact. It is, however, still the case that the being true of every truth is explained in terms of correspondence to a fact or non-correspondence to any fact together with in the case of molecular truths logical notions detailing the logical structure of complex truthbearers.
Logical atomism attempts to avoid commitment to logically complex, funny facts via structural analysis of truthbearers. It should not be confused with a superficially similar account maintaining that molecular facts are ultimately constituted by atomic facts. The latter account would admit complex facts, offering an ontological analysis of their structure, and would thus be compatible with the basic forms presented in Section 3, because it would be compatible with the claim that for every truth there is a corresponding fact. For more on classical logical atomism, see Wisdom , Urmson , and the entries on Russell's logical atomism and Wittgenstein's logical atomism in this encyclopedia.
While Wittgenstein and Russell seem to have held that the constituents of atomic facts are to be determined on the basis of a priori considerations, Armstrong , advocates an a posteriori form of logical atomism. On his view, atomic facts are composed of particulars and simple universals properties and relations. The latter are objective features of the world that ground the objective resemblances between particulars and explain their causal powers.
Accordingly, what particulars and universals there are will have to be determined on the basis of total science. Logical atomism is not easy to sustain and has rarely been held in a pure form. Among its difficulties are the following: How are they determined? Wittgenstein disapproves of universal facts; apparently, he wants to re-analyze universal generalizations as infinite conjunctions of their instances. Russell and Armstrong , reject this analysis; they admit universal facts. Russell finds himself driven to admit negative facts, regarded by many as paradigmatically disreputable portions of reality.
Wittgenstein sometimes talks of atomic facts that do not exist and calls their very nonexistence a negative fact cf. Atomism and the Russellian view of propositions see Section 6. By the time Russell advocated logical atomism around , he had given up on what is now referred to as the Russellian conception of propositions which he and G. Moore held around But Russellian propositons are popular nowadays. Note that logical atomism is not for the friends of Russellian propositions.
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The argument is straightforward. We have logically complex beliefs some of which are true. According to the friends of Russellian propositions, the contents of our beliefs are Russellian propositions, and the contents of our true beliefs are true Russellian propositions. Since true Russellian propositions are facts, there must be at least as many complex facts as there are true beliefs with complex contents and at least as many complex states of affairs as there are true or false beliefs with complex contents.
Atomism may work for sentences, public or mental, and for Fregean propositions; but not for Russellian propositions. Logical atomism is designed to address objections to funny facts 3. It is not designed to address objections to facts in general 3.
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Here logical atomists will respond by defending atomic facts. According to one defense, facts are needed because mere objects are not sufficiently articulated to serve as truthmakers. Armstrong and Olson also maintain that facts are needed to make sense of the tie that binds particular objects to universals. In this context it is usually emphasized that facts do not supervene on , hence, are not reducible to, their constituents.
Facts are entities over and above the particulars and universals of which they are composed: Another defense of facts, surprisingly rare, would point out that many facts are observable: The objection that many facts are not observable would invite the rejoinder that many objects are not observable either. See Austin , Vendler , chap. Some atomists propose an atomistic version of definition 1 , but without facts, because they regard facts as slices of reality too suspiciously sentence-like to be taken with full ontological seriousness.
Mulligan, Simons, and Smith Logical atomism aims at getting by without logically complex truthmakers by restricting definitions like 1 or 2 from Section 3 to elementary truthbearers and accounting for the truth-values of molecular truthbearers recursively in terms of their logical structure and atomic truthmakers atomic facts, events, objects-plus-tropes. Such accounts analyze truthbearers, e. Satisfaction of complex predicates can be handled recursively in terms of logical structure and satisfaction of simpler constituent predicates: These recursions are anchored in a base-clause addressing the satisfaction of primitive predicates: Some would prefer a more nominalistic base-clause for satisfaction, hoping to get by without seriously invoking properties.
Truth for singular sentences, consisting of a name and an arbitrarily complex predicate, is defined thus: A singular sentence is true iff the object denoted by the name satisfies the predicate. Logical machinery provided by Tarski can be used to turn this simplified sketch into a more general definition of truth—a definition that handles sentences containing relational predicates and quantifiers and covers molecular sentences as well. Popper ; Field , ; Kirkham , chaps. Subatomism constitutes a return to broadly object-based correspondence.
Since it promises to avoid facts and all similarly articulated, sentence-like slices of reality, correspondence theorists who take seriously objection 3. F2 favor this approach: The correspondence relation itself has given way to two semantic relations between constituents of truthbearers and objects: Some advocates envision causal accounts of reference and satisfaction cf. Field ; Devitt , ; Schmitt ; Kirkham , chaps. It turns out that relational predicates require talk of satisfaction by ordered sequences of objects.
Problems for both versions of modified correspondence theories: This depends on unresolved issues concerning the extent to which truthbearers are amenable to the kind of structural analyses that are presupposed by the recursive clauses. The more an account of truth wants to exploit the internal structure of truthbearers, the more it will be hostage to the limited availability of appropriate structural analyses of the relevant truthbearers.
After all, the recursive clauses rely heavily on what appears to be the logico-syntactic structure of truthbearers, and it is unclear whether anything but sentences can plausibly be said to possess that kind of structure. But the thesis that sentences of any sort are to be regarded as the primary truthbearers is contentious. Whether propositions can meaningfully be said to have an analogous albeit non-linguistic structure is under debate cf. Russell , King To avoid circularity, a modified correspondence theory be it atomic or subatomic must hold that the logical connectives can be understood without reference to correspondence truth.
Definitions like 1 and 2 from Section 3 assume, naturally, that truthbearers are true because they, the truthbearers themselves, correspond to facts. There are however views that reject this natural assumption. They propose to account for the truth of truthbearers of certain kinds, propositions, not by way of their correspondence to facts, but by way of the correspondence to facts of other items, the ones that have propositions as their contents.
Consider the state of believing that p or the activity of judging that p. The state the activity is not, strictly speaking, true or false; rather, what is true or false is its content, the proposition that p. Nevertheless, on the present view, it is the state of believing that p that corresponds or fails to correspond to a fact. Such a modification of fact-based correspondence can be found in Moore , p. It can be adapted to atomistic Armstrong and subatomistic views, and to views on which sentences of the language of thought are the primary bearers of truth and falsehood.
Most advocates of propositions as primary bearers of truth and falsehood will regard this as a serious weakness, holding that there are very many true and false propositions that are not believed, or even entertained, by anyone. Armstrong combines the view with an instrumentalist attitude towards propositions, on which propositions are mere abstractions from mental states and should not be taken seriously, ontologically speaking.
Against the traditional competitors —coherentist, pragmatist, and verificationist and other epistemic theories of truth—correspondence theorists raise two main sorts of objections. First , such accounts tend to lead into relativism. Second , the accounts tend to lead into some form of idealism or anti-realism, e. Cases of this sort are frequently cited as counterexamples to coherentist accounts of truth.
Dedicated coherentists tend to reject such counterexamples, insisting that they are not possible after all. This offers a bare outline of the overall shape the debates tend to take. For more on the correspondence theory vs. Walker is a book-lenght discussion of coherence theories of truth. See also the entries on pragmatism , relativism , the coherence theory of truth , in this encyclopedia.
The correspondence theory is sometimes accused of overreaching itself: Alethic pluralism grows out of this objection, maintaining that truth is constituted by different properties for true propositions from different domains of discourse: Truth itself is not to be identified with any of its realizing properties. Though it contains the correspondence theory as one ingredient, alethic pluralism is nevertheless a genuine competitor, for it rejects the thesis that truth is correspondence to reality.
Moreover, it equally contains competitors of the correspondence theory as further ingredients. Alethic pluralism in its contemporary form is a relatively young position. It was inaugurated by Crispin Wright ; see also and was later developed into a somewhat different form by Lynch Critical discussion is still at a relatively nascent stage but see Vision , chap.
It will likely focus on two main problem areas. First , it seems difficult to sort propositions into distinct kinds according to the subject matter they are about.
What are they about? Intuitively, their subject matter is mixed, belonging to the physical domain, the biological domain, and the domain of ethical discourse. It is hard to see how pluralism can account for the truth of such mixed propositions, belonging to more than one domain of discourse: What will be the realizing property? Lynch proposes to construe truth as a functional property , defined in terms of a complex functional role which is given by the conjunction of the platitudes somewhat analogous to the way in which functionalists in the philosophy of mind construe mental states as functional states, specified in terms of their functional roles—though in their case the relevant functional roles are causal roles, which is not a feasible option when it comes to the truth-role.
Here the main issue will be to determine a whether such an account really works, when the technical details are laid out, and b whether it is plausible to claim that properties as different as correspondence to a fact, on the one hand, and coherence or superassertibilty, on the other, can be said to play one and the same role—a claim that seems required by the thesis that these different properties all realize the same property, being true.
For more on pluralism, see e. According to the identity theory of truth, true propositions do not correspond to facts, they are facts: This non-traditional competitor of the correspondence theory threatens to collapse the correspondence relation into identity. See Moore ; and Dodd for a book-length defense of this theory and discussion contrasting it with the correspondence theory; and see the entry the identity theory of truth: In response, a correspondence theorist will point out: Hence, there will be ample room and need for correspondence accounts of truth for other types of truthbearers, including propositions, if they are construed as constituted, partly or wholly, of concepts of objects and properties.
The assumption can be questioned. That-clauses can be understood as ambiguous names, sometimes denoting propositions and sometimes denoting facts. Deflationists maintain that correspondence theories need to be deflated; that their central notions, correspondence and fact and their relatives , play no legitimate role in an adequate account of truth and can be excised without loss. A correspondence-type formulation like. Correspondence theorists protest that 6 cannot lead to anything deserving to be regarded as an account of truth. Moreover, no genuine generalizations about truth can be accounted for on the basis of 7.
Correspondence definitions, on the other hand, do yield genuine generalizations about truth. Yet, according to 1 and 2 , it is sufficient but not necessary: The genuine article, 1 or 2 , is not as easily deflated as the impostor 5. Correspondence theorists tend to regard this as a minimal requirement. There is now a substantial body of literature on truth-deflationism in general and its relation to the correspondence theory in particular; the following is a small selection: See also the entry the deflationary theory of truth in this encyclopedia.
This approach centers on the truthmaker or truthmaking principle: Every truth has a truthmaker; or alternatively: For every truth there is something that makes it true. The principle is usually understood as an expression of a realist attitude, emphasizing the crucial contribution the world makes to the truth of a proposition. Advocates tend to treat truthmaker theory primarily as a guide to ontology, asking: To entities of what ontological categories are we committed as truthmakers of the propositions we accept as true?
Most advocates maintain that propositions of different logical types can be made true by items from different ontological categories: This is claimed as a significant improvement over traditional correspondence theories which are understood—correctly in most but by no means all cases—to be committed to all truthmakers belonging to a single ontological category albeit disagreeing about which category that is. All advocates of truthmaker theory maintain that the truthmaking relation is not one-one but many-many: