Monday, July 31, 2006


It seems reasonable to assert "a theory of truth is itself true if and only if it fulfills its own criteria for truth" (I'll call this the "self-satisfaction principle"). If I say "x is true if God said so", this fulfills the self-satisfaction principle. However, if I say "x is true if and only if God said so", this does not (precisely because I made the claim, and God has not).

Traditional theories of truth don't fare well:

  • Correspondence: the theory is an abstraction and cannot possibly correspond to anything concrete
  • Coherence: the theory initially stands alone, and has nothing to cohere to
  • Pragmatism: is it pragmatic to be a pragmatist? Outside of an initial assumption of order and uniformity, coupled with a utility function, no.
I propose the counter-example theory of truth as a response to the self-satisfaction principle: "x is true only if there do not exist any counter-examples to x" (where counter-examples includes counter-proofs).

Unfortunately, creating "only if" theories of truth that fulfill the self-satisfaction principle is pretty easy (if I say, "x is true only if I say so", if I write "x is true only if I write it"). A real theory of truth would have to fulfill the self-satisfaction principle and describe an "if and only if" relationship.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for complete, and Utter Confusion.

- Yi.