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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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Must Do Better

Must Do Better

Chapter:
(p.177) 9 Must Do Better
Source:
Truth and Realism
Author(s):
Timothy Williamson
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288878.003.0010

This chapter begins by reminding us that while the fruitfulness of many philosophical debates has been called into question, those debates have often resulted in significant intellectual advances. It argues that this is, to some extent, the case with debates over truth and realism – issues about which we know more now than we did forty years ago. The reason we know more is that we have made important strides in articulating our philosophical intuitions with extreme logical precision. Nonetheless, we can and must do much better in this regard. We must adopt a methodology largely inspired by mathematics, one that prizes clarity, rigor, and open-eyed reflection on the sorts of constraints – including logical constraints – that should be held to fix the contours of the debate. Only by doing so can we hope to make philosophical progress.

Keywords:   philosophical debates, truth, realism

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