Truth and Objectivity
Crispin Wright offers an original perspective on the place of "realism" in philosophical inquiry. He proposes a radically new framework for discussing the claims of the realists and the anti-realists. This framework rejects the classical "deflationary" conception of truth yet allows both disputants to respect the intuition that judgments, whose status they contest, are at least semantically fitted for truth and may often justifiably be regarded as true. In the course of his argument, Wright offers original critical discussions of many central concerns of philosophers interested in realism, including the "deflationary" conception of truth, internal realist truth, scientific realism and the theoreticity of observation, and the role of moral states of affairs in explanations of moral beliefs.
- Paperback | 262 pages
- 152 x 235 x 14.22mm | 408g
- 21 Apr 1994
- Harvard University Press
- Cambridge, Mass, United States
- Revised ed.
Back cover copy
Philosophy, in seeking after truth, must also grapple with questions about the nature and status of truth itself. Is there, for example, such a thing as fully objective truth, or is our talk of "truth" merely a projection onto the world of what we find acceptable in moral argument, scientific theory, mathematical discourse? Such questions are at the center of Truth and Objectivity, which offers an original perspective on the place of "realism" in philosophical inquiry. Crispin Wright proposes a radically new framework for the discussion of the claims of the realists who think of truth as fully objective and the anti-realists who oppose them - a framework which rejects the classical "deflationary" conception of truth yet allows both realist and antirealist to respect the intuition that judgements whose status they contest, such as those in moral argument and theoretical science, may often justifiably be regarded as true. The real issues that must be resolved if the contest between realist and anti-realist views of a range of judgements is to be properly adjudicated are different, and are here developed in detail from a sharply novel perspective. In addition, Wright offers original critical discussions of many central concerns of philosophers interested in realism, including the "deflationary" conception of truth, internal realist truth, scientific realism and the theoreticity of observation, truth and "correspondence to fact," role of moral states of affairs in explanations of moral beliefs, anti-realism about content, and the "quietism" toward this whole tradition of debate favored by some philosophers of Wittgensteinian sympathies. Wright's proposals are arrestingly original, interesting, and rich in implication. Recasting important questions about truth and objectivity in new and helpful terms, his book will become a focus in the contemporary debates over realism, and will give new impetus to these debates in all areas of philosophy.
Table of contents
1. Inflating Deflationism 2. Minimal Truth, Internal Realism and Superassertibility 3. Convergence and Cognitive Command Appendix: The Euthyphro Contrast 4. Cognitive Command and the Theoreticity of Observation 5. Realism and the Best Explanation of Belief 6. Quietism Appendix: On an Argument against the Coherence of Minimalism about Meaning Index
Truth and Objectivity is a strikingly resourceful and serious book, imbued with respect for the difficulty of philosophical problems and a readiness to probe them with all the conceptual instruments of contemporary analytic philosophy. -- Timothy Williamson * International Journal of Philosophical Studies * A milestone in the discussion of realism. -- Jim Edwards * Mind * Full of interesting ideas and challenging arguments. -- Frank Jackson * Philosophical Books * Besides its thorough and subtle examination of [the] multiple criteria of realism, the merit of Truth and Objectivity is to have shown how the naive picture of 'objective facts' fragments under scrutiny, to the point that it becomes unclear that we should continue to speak of realism and anti-realism within a domain as if they were definitive positions. -- Paul Horwich * Times Literary Supplement *
About Crispin Wright
Crispin Wright is Global Professor of Philosophy at New York University, Professor of Philosophical Research at the University of Stirling, and Regius Professor of Logic Emeritus at the University of Aberdeen.