Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


True but Also Not True

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Stefano Boscolo, Giulia Pravato
Topics: Meta-Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

We present three ways of expressing a possible interpretative uncertainty of the truth predicate: ambiguity, context-sensitivity and semantic indeterminacy. Next, we examine Kölbel (2008)’s pluralist view that “true” is ambiguous between a substantialist concept and a deflationist concept, and that it is ambiguous as the word “dog” is between “male dog” and “canine”. Our main goal is to show that Kölbel’s thesis does not withstand empirical scrutiny in the sense that “true” fails most of the well-established tests for ambiguity (conjunction-reduction, contradiction, and ellipsis). In addition, we reformulate Kölbel’s thesis…

Literature and Practical Knowledge

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Pascal Engel
Topics: Aesthetics, Meta-Philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

This article defends literary cognitivism, the view that literature can convey genuine propositional knowledge, in the form of propositions which are (i) true (ii) justified and (iii) have aesthetic value because they convey such knowledge. I reply to familiar objections to this view, and reformulate it as the thesis that literary knowledge is a form practical knowledge that is only derivatively propositional. I attempt to apply some ideas to be found in Stanley’s and Williamson’s conception of knowing how. Literary knowledge is a kind of practical knowing how of propositions…

Relativism, Faultlessness and Parity: Why We Should be Pluralists about Truth’s Normative Function

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Filippo Ferrari
Topics: Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Some philosophers, like Mark Richard and Paul Boghossian, have argued against relativism that it cannot account for the possibility of faultless disagreement. However, I will contend that the objections they moved against relativism do not target its ability to account for the possibility of faultless disagreement per se. Rather, they should be taken to challenge its capacity to account for another element of our folk conception of disagreement in certain areas of discourse—what Crispin Wright has dubbed parity. What parity demands is to account for the possibility of coherently appreciating,…

Wittgenstein on Truth

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Paul Horwich
Topics: History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

The topic is Wittgenstein’s eventual abandonment of his Tractatus idea that a sentence is true if and only if it depicts a possible fact that obtains, and his coming (in the Investigations) to replace this with a deflationary view of truth. Three objection to the initial idea that will be discussed here are: (i) that its theory of ‘depiction’ relies on an unexplicated concept of word-object reference; (ii) that its notion of a possible fact obtaining (or existing, or being actual, or agreeing with reality) is also left mysterious; and…

Putnam on Methods of Inquiry

Issue: Issue 3 • Author/s: Gary Ebbs
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy

Hilary Putnam’s paradigm-changing clarifications of our methods of inquiry in science and everyday life are central to his philosophy. He takes for granted that the judgments of scientists are for the most part reasonable and not in need of philosophical support, and that no part of our supposed knowledge is unrevisable or guaranteed to be true. He infers from key episodes in the history of science that our language contains terms whose references may remain unchanged despite radical changes in our theories, and that some statements are so basic for…