Not Half True


The word ‘true’ shows some evidence of gradability. For instance, there are cases where truth-bearers are described as ‘slightly true’, ‘completely true’ or ‘very true’. Expressions that accept these types of modifiers are analysed in terms of properties that can be possessed to a greater or lesser degree. If ‘true’ is genuinely gradable, then it would follow that there are degrees of truth. It might also follow that ‘true’ is context-sensitive, like other gradable expressions. Such conclusions are difficult to reconcile with most existing theories: deflationists and inflationists alike tend to reject the thesis that one true truth-bearer can have more or less truth than another. Based on work in natural language, I argue that ‘true’ is not a genuinely gradable expression. I also provide an explanation of the apparent evidence for gradability. Hence there is no reason to think that there is a truth property that comes in degrees.

Mind. Open Access Publication