Truth and the Relevance of Practice
AbstractStarting from the assumption according to which the philosophical reflection developed in the last century showed that the plausible interpretations of truth are very few, this article attempts to see whether it is possible to narrow down these interpretations even further. To this purpose the pragmatist criterion is applied, according to which What has weight in our lives should have weight also in philosophy. This criterion would appear to isolate alethic deflationism, on the one hand, and the interpretations of truth which can be traced back to deflationism, on the other. Accordingly, Horwich’s and Rorty’s deflationist stances are evaluated, and the interpretation of truth put forward by Putnam in his later work – which, even if not deflationist, comes very close to deflationism – is then compared with them. The key idea of the article is to verify whether these conceptions offer an acceptable picture of the relation between language and the world. In this respect the doubt is raised that alethic deflationism is enmeshed in a circle of language, despite the explicit claims of its subscribers to the contrary. Having highlighted what will be called the physiognomy of truth – the one it acquires by taking part in a coalescence of other concepts – and claimed that it is something our practice presupposes, the article shows how Putnam manages (and deflationists fail) to do justice to it.
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