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Title: The meaning of truth : Tarski, deflationism, and interpretation.
Author: Collins, John Patrick.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3560 6596
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 1998
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The aim of my thesis is to develop a third way to truth, between traditional substantive theories, and deflationist accounts which seek to show that truth has no content. I begin with Tarski's definition of truth, and show that the definition enables the elimination of 'is true' in terms of the concepts expressible in the object-language (+logic/set theory). The definition, therefore, appears to provide a basis for deflationism. I consider a variety of deflationisms. Their common denominator is the thought that the content of truth is exhausted by the content of the sentences to which truth is applied: truth has no independent content; it has a mere grammatical convenience. While I admit the deflationist hue of Tarski's definition, I show that the definition contains resources to account for ". substantive features of our semantic competence. Extrapolating from these resources, I claim that a suitably constrained truth theory is an interpretive theory (ITT). The significance of the notion of an ITT is that it provides an interpretive conception of truth. I show that such a conception is neither reductionist nor deflationary. Further, I argue that an adequate ITT, although extensional, does capture the distinctions taken to be constitutive of our concept of meaning. From the perspective of an ITT, I argue that none of the deflationist theories can account for central features of truth: principally, the semantic paradoxes and heterophonic ascriptions. I conclude that deflationism is, at best, an etiolated account of truth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy