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Truth and Realism$
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Patrick Greenough and Michael P. Lynch

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199288878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288878.001.0001

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Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism and Rhubarb

Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism and Rhubarb

(p.38) 2 Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism and Rhubarb
Truth and Realism
Crispin Wright
Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on so-called disputes of inclination, such as a dispute over whether something is delicious or attractive or funny. The ‘ordinary view’ of such disputes is that they involve the following three key elements: that the subjects can have conflicting incompatible attitudes, that no one is necessarily mistaken, and yet that both sides can rationally maintain their position. It is argued that maintaining the ordinary view is what lies at the root of relativism. Moreover, disputes of this sort, and the ordinary view of them, arise in more philosophically interesting cases, as well: over what is right or wrong, or what is justified or not, for example. Therefore, understanding whether the ordinary view of these disputes is coherent, and what sort of theory of truth it entails, will help us understand similar disputes in ethics or epistemology. After pointing out that the three elements of the ordinary view are in manifest tension with one another, the chapter canvasses and rejects several ways of resolving this tension. It then suggests a novel solution to the problem, one arising out of the position that truth can itself come in different forms. If this is so, then one is free to understand truth in some domains – such as the domains that give rise to disputes of inclination – as superassertibility or sustained justification without defeaters. Suitably understood and applied, superassertibility can be invoked to explain a defensible, albeit local relativism about truth.

Keywords:   disputes of inclination, ordinary view, relativism, truth, superassertibility

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