Truth, Reference and Realism

Truth, Reference and Realism

Zsolt Novák
András Simonyi
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 315
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  • Book Info
    Truth, Reference and Realism
    Book Description:

    The volume presents the material of the first Oxford-Budapest Conference on Truth, Reference and Realism held at CEU in 2005. The problem addressed by the conference, famously formulated by Paul Benacerraf in a paper on Mathematical Truth, was how to understand truth in the semantics of discourses about abstract domains whose objects and properties cannot be observed by sense perception. The papers of the volume focus on this semantic issue in four major fields: logic, mathematics, ethics and the metaphysics of properties in general. Beyond marking an important event, the collected papers are also substantial contributions to the above topic, from the most distinguished authors in these areas.

    eISBN: 978-963-9776-92-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Zsolt Novák and András Simonyi
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxxvi)

    It is an entrenched and plausible view in philosophy that we can gain knowledge of objective truths by evidence other than sense experience. The clearest candidates of this type of knowledge are our claims about non-spatiotemporal domains, as in pure logic and mathematics, and those expressing analytic truths, independently of whether their intended subject matter is abstract or spatiotemporal. Beyond these paradigm cases, there are some other, more contestable examples as well, including our normative claims or value judgments in ethics, aesthetics and epistemology, and the descriptive claims of metaphysics.

    Once we believe in the possibility of a priori knowledge...

  5. The Reality of Mathematics and the Case of Set Theory
    (pp. 1-76)
    Daniel Isaacson

    What is mathematics about? In what does the reality of mathematics consist? How can we know this reality? This paper propounds a realist conception of mathematics on which mathematical truth is objective but the truths of mathematics do not refer to mathematical objects. The subject matter of mathematics is structures (e.g. the structure of the natural numbers) rather than objects (e.g. the natural numbers). This conception is tested and illuminated by considering the case of set theory, both as a branch and as a foundation of mathematics.

    There is an obvious answer to the first two of the questions with...

  6. Conceptualism and Knowledge of Logic A Budget of Problems
    (pp. 77-124)
    Nenad Miščević

    Ordinary cognizers reason, at least sometimes, in accordance with logical rules. They find some instances of logical principles compelling and obvious, provided the latter are sufficiently simple and undemanding. They are “sensitive to logical form,” as Russell would put it.¹ Explicit elementary knowledge of logic probably derives from these simple sensitivity and abilities. How is the elementary knowledge of logic, both implicit and explicit, justified or warranted? What entitles the cognizers use of logical principles in inference? And, assuming a broadly realist stance about logic, what justifies the assumption that these principles are reliable and objectively valid? How do we...

  7. What Is Logic?
    (pp. 125-176)
    Ian Rumfitt

    What is logic? Textbooks typically introduce the subject as the science of consequence. Thus in an early section of his estimable primer—a section entitled “What Logic Is About”—we find Benson Mates explaining that

    logic investigates the relation of consequence that holds between the premises and the conclusion of a sound argument. An argument is said to be sound (correct, valid) if its conclusion follows from or is a consequence of its premises; otherwise it is unsound.¹ (Mates 1965, 2)

    In a similar spirit, E.J. Lemmon begins Beginning Logic by writing that logic's main concern is with the soundness...

  8. Absolute Identity and Absolute Generality
    (pp. 177-206)
    Timothy Williamson

    The aim of this chapter is to tighten our grip on some issues about quantification by analogy with corresponding issues about identity on which our grip is tighter. We start with the issues about identity.

    In conversations between native speakers, words such as ‘same’ and ‘identical’ do not usually cause much difficulty. We take it for granted that others use them with the same sense as we do. If it is unclear whether numerical or qualitative identity is intended, a brief gloss such as “one thing not two” for the former or “exactly alike” for the latter removes the unclarity....

  9. The Refutation of Expressivism
    (pp. 207-234)
    Ralph Wedgwood

    How should we set about the task of explaining the meaning of normative statements—that is, of statements about what ought to be the case, or about what people ought to do or to think? (As I am using the term, a “statement” is just the speech act that is performed by the sincere utterance of a declarative sentence. So a “normative statement” is just the speech act, whatever exactly it may be, that is performed by the sincere utterance of a declarative sentence involving a normative term like ‘ought.’ I shall use the term ‘judgment’ to refer to the...

  10. Benacerraf’s Problem, Abstract Objects and Intellect
    (pp. 235-262)
    Howard Robinson

    The target paper for the conference which was the origin of this collection was Benacerraf’s “Mathematical Truth” (1973). Benacerraf’s article concerns the difficulty of combining a causal theory of knowledge with the fact that, in the case of mathematics at least, the objects of our knowledge are abstract entities without causal powers. In the first section of this essay, I argue that, if this is a problem, it is not restricted to mathematics, but concerns all thought: all thought involves apprehending abstract objects, in the form of universals. The mistake is to believe that a naturalistic account of thought was...

  11. About the Authors
    (pp. 263-264)
  12. Index
    (pp. 265-278)