Is deflationism compatible with compositional and Tarskian truth theories?

Abstract

What requirements must deflationary formal theories of truth satisfy? This chapter argues against the widely accepted view that compositional and Tarskian theories of truth are substantial or otherwise unacceptable to deflationists. First, two purposes that a formal truth theory can serve are distinguished: one descriptive, the other logical (i.e., to characterise the correctness of inferences involving `true’). The chapter argues that the most compelling arguments for the incompatibility of compositional and Tarskian theories concern descriptive theories only. Second, two requirements that any deflationist truth theory intended to serve a logical purpose must satisfy are put forward. These requirements, it is argued, suggest that (i) many well-known compositional and Tarskian theories are acceptable from a deflationist standpoint (including CT); (ii) certain other popular theories of truth (including KF and FS) are not similarly acceptable; (iii) there are no conclusive reasons to impose a conservativeness requirement on deflationary theories of truth.

Publication
to appear in Modes of Truth. The Unified Approach to Modality, Truth, and Paradox; Nicolai, C. and Stern, J. (eds.), Routledge.

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