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Truth -- Meaning -- Reality$
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Paul Horwich

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268900

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268900.001.0001

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The Value of Truth

The Value of Truth

(p.57) 4 The Value of Truth
Truth -- Meaning -- Reality

Paul Horwich (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter attempts to clarify and defend the idea, VT, that true belief is desirable and false belief undesirable, to see if one can explain why it is correct, and to examine its epistemological import. It shows that our endorsement of VT (i) explains why we frown on lying and other forms of deceit; (ii) generalizes to cover degrees of belief; (iii) extends beyond our appreciation of the potential instrumental utility of true belief, to include a respect for the value of truth ‘for its own sake’; (iv) is nonetheless explained by the enormous pragmatic significance of truth; (v) cannot rationalize the norms of justification to which we subscribe (e.g., induction); but (vi) can rationalize both our disposition to initiate investigations (including the gathering of new evidence) and the special care with which we deploy our norms of justification when matters of importance are at issue; (vii) plays no role in constituting either our concept of truth (pace Dummett), or our concept of belief (pace Boghossian), or belief itself (pace Shah and Velleman); (viii) involves no commitment to ‘metaphysical realism’ (pace Rorty); but (ix) serves, on the contrary, as a paradigm illustration of deflationism, since its articulation, VT, deploys ‘true’ merely as a device of generalization.

Keywords:   norms of justification, value of truth, new evidence, metaphysical realism, lying, degrees of belief, utility of truth, induction

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