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Thursday, June 03, 2010


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This is one of the reasons that people have developed prosentential variants of deflationary theories of truth. These theories enable you to reassert both individual sentences and sets of sentences uttered by others without falling into problems, because they aren't based on any form of disquotation. I'd suggest looking into it, as you'd need a stronger argument against them to show that we can't get rid of 'true'.

I think we have also been here before! You are right, Ramsey's theory is flawed. However, we can evade this difficulty along the lines I have suggested. The first insight is that 'it is true that' is a complex operator built from 'it is true', which operates on 'that' clauses to form declarative sentences, and 'that' which operates on sentences to form 'that' clauses. Then iit is coherent to hold that the semantics of any declarative sentence can be represented formally as

|- c

where the operator |- corresponds to the 'it is true' part, and 'c' to a that-clause. I.e. we parse 'it is true that Tom runs' as 'it is true / that Tom runs'

Your problem sentence 'He is always right' can be analysed as

(*) If he says c, |- c

Suppose for example that he says that Tom runs. then c = that Tom runs (note I substitute a 'that' clause, not a sentence), and |- = 'it is true', as above.

(**) If he says that Tom runs, it is true that Tom runs = if he says that Tom runs, Tom runs

>>It looks as if 'true' is an indispensable predicate

The turnstile operator |- is an indispensable component of the meaning of any declarative sentence. But it is not a predicate.

There is a good article on the pro-sentential theory in the IEP here


The theory has some affinity with the 'operator' theory sketched out above.

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