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Science and Partial TruthA Unitary Approach to Models and Scientific Reasoning$
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Newton C. A. da Costa and Steven French

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156515

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019515651X.001.0001

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Truth, the Whole Truth, and Partial Truth

Truth, the Whole Truth, and Partial Truth

(p.8) 1 Truth, the Whole Truth, and Partial Truth
Science and Partial Truth

Newton C. A. da Costa

Steven French (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the formalism of “pragmatic” or “quasi” truth. Just as Tarski's formalization attempted to capture what he called the “intentions” of the correspondence view of truth, the formalism outlined here attempts to represent the “intentions” of the pragmatists, notably Peirce and James. Of these, perhaps the most significant is a concern with representations of the world that are not perfect copies but are, in certain respects, incomplete and partial. The nature of the agreement between such representations and the world is then spelled out in pragmatic terms, which emphasize the set of empirical consequences of a particular idea or “concept”. The fundamental formal device behind this formalism is that of a “partial structure” and it is upon this that our epistemic construction rests.

Keywords:   pragmatic truth, quasi truth, Tarski, formalism, partial structure

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