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postgraduate thesis: Truth and reality : a defence of correspondence

TitleTruth and reality : a defence of correspondence
Authors
Issue Date2016
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yip, T. [葉德豪]. (2016). Truth and reality : a defence of correspondence. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractTruth is closely connected to reality, i.e. all that is objectively the case. Simply put, what a true sentence says to be the case is the case. This fact is intuitively taken as the correspondence of truth to reality. The truth of a sentence consists in exactly this correspondence---the sentence says something about its correspondent and its truth is to be explained by it. This intuition underlies most of our dealings and thinkings concerning truth and reality, philosophical or non-philosophical. It explains our usage and the utility of the truth-predicate. It also plays a huge role in semantics, epistemology and metaphysics. If the intuition turns out to be mistaken, an overhaul in our worldview is unavoidable. As with most intuitions, the correspondence intuition about truth is problematic upon reflection. The problematic core obviously concerns the correspondence relation. What exactly is it? How do we get to know that it holds? How does a correspondence conception of truth mesh with the practical significance we attach to truth? Since Frege, meaning and truth are known to be intricately connected notions. Can a correspondence conception make room for a satisfactory account of such a connection? The prima facie failure to answer these questions satisfactorily pushes philosophers to elaborate on the very notion of correspondence, producing different correspondence theories of truth. The underlying problem is that the correspondence of the content of a sentence to what is the case in the objective reality is beyond our epistemic access. The different correspondence theories fail either to ground the epistemic access or to retain the bedrock characters of the objective reality. So it seems that the correspondence intuition---the very idea of the correspondence of truth to the objective reality---is to be given up; some epistemic notion of truth or deflationism should then be adopted. But I will argue that the non-correspondence alternatives are simply pretended solutions. They create problems of their own and face similar problems, only under different guises. The failures on both sides stem from the central conflict in our conception of truth and reality---one that goes between our supposed epistemic access to truths and the objective reality as the standard of truth. The former pushes us towards an epistemic conception of truth, while the latter dictates a correspondence theory. But it seems that there is no way for us to reconcile the two. Donald Davidson makes an ingenious attempt towards such a reconciliation by arguing that coherence yields correspondence. While this attempt pinpoints the central conflict, it fails because of its over-reliance on his theory of interpretation. I will argue that the right solution comes from a dissolution of the dualism concerning reality, which pits the objective reality against a kind of reality relativised to some particular conceptual scheme that gives form to it. It is this dualism that makes the correspondence of truth to reality epistemically inaccessible to us. Once the dualism is gone, the central conflict will also be dissolved. And the correspondence intuition will be restored to its original position.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectTruth
Reality
Dept/ProgramPhilosophy
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/239978
HKU Library Item IDb5846402

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorYip, Tak-ho-
dc.contributor.author葉德豪-
dc.date.accessioned2017-04-08T23:13:21Z-
dc.date.available2017-04-08T23:13:21Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationYip, T. [葉德豪]. (2016). Truth and reality : a defence of correspondence. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/239978-
dc.description.abstractTruth is closely connected to reality, i.e. all that is objectively the case. Simply put, what a true sentence says to be the case is the case. This fact is intuitively taken as the correspondence of truth to reality. The truth of a sentence consists in exactly this correspondence---the sentence says something about its correspondent and its truth is to be explained by it. This intuition underlies most of our dealings and thinkings concerning truth and reality, philosophical or non-philosophical. It explains our usage and the utility of the truth-predicate. It also plays a huge role in semantics, epistemology and metaphysics. If the intuition turns out to be mistaken, an overhaul in our worldview is unavoidable. As with most intuitions, the correspondence intuition about truth is problematic upon reflection. The problematic core obviously concerns the correspondence relation. What exactly is it? How do we get to know that it holds? How does a correspondence conception of truth mesh with the practical significance we attach to truth? Since Frege, meaning and truth are known to be intricately connected notions. Can a correspondence conception make room for a satisfactory account of such a connection? The prima facie failure to answer these questions satisfactorily pushes philosophers to elaborate on the very notion of correspondence, producing different correspondence theories of truth. The underlying problem is that the correspondence of the content of a sentence to what is the case in the objective reality is beyond our epistemic access. The different correspondence theories fail either to ground the epistemic access or to retain the bedrock characters of the objective reality. So it seems that the correspondence intuition---the very idea of the correspondence of truth to the objective reality---is to be given up; some epistemic notion of truth or deflationism should then be adopted. But I will argue that the non-correspondence alternatives are simply pretended solutions. They create problems of their own and face similar problems, only under different guises. The failures on both sides stem from the central conflict in our conception of truth and reality---one that goes between our supposed epistemic access to truths and the objective reality as the standard of truth. The former pushes us towards an epistemic conception of truth, while the latter dictates a correspondence theory. But it seems that there is no way for us to reconcile the two. Donald Davidson makes an ingenious attempt towards such a reconciliation by arguing that coherence yields correspondence. While this attempt pinpoints the central conflict, it fails because of its over-reliance on his theory of interpretation. I will argue that the right solution comes from a dissolution of the dualism concerning reality, which pits the objective reality against a kind of reality relativised to some particular conceptual scheme that gives form to it. It is this dualism that makes the correspondence of truth to reality epistemically inaccessible to us. Once the dualism is gone, the central conflict will also be dissolved. And the correspondence intuition will be restored to its original position. -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshTruth-
dc.subject.lcshReality-
dc.titleTruth and reality : a defence of correspondence-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5846402-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePhilosophy-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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