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Lecture 16

Lecture 16 Truth

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

Truth October-30-12 The correspondence theory (today) The coherence theory (Thursday) The pragmatic theory (tutorial) Biographical Matters Bertrand Russell 1872-1970  Our question: we're not talking about truth in the sense of giving a list of which beliefs are true o We're asking what is it for a belief to be true, in what does truth consist?  Simple answer: Obviously, for a belief to be true is for it to correspond to reality o For example: my belief that 'the monkey is on the carpet' is true if and only if the monkey is on the carpet. o Problem is neither words nor pictures of a monkey on a carpet proves the monkey is on the carpet, monkey actually has to be on the carpet  Russell thinks this through:  In my mind there is an idea of a monkey, an idea of a carpet, and idea of spatial relationship between monkey and carpet  If this belief is true in the outside world there is a real monkey, a real carpet and a real spatial relationship between monkey and carpet  What exactly is it that is true of false here? o We've been talking about 'my belief' being true or false. But of course 'my belief' needs to be true or false in the real world o Because my belief is a private, internal thing belong to me, one of the contents of my mind. o But that private thing is true only if a public thing, the belief, is true o Otherwise we're into a world of extreme relativism about truth Propositions & States of Affairs  Technical language : The monkey is on the carpet, le singe est sur le tapis, etc.  These different sentences all express one and same proposition. Ultimately it is the proposition that is true or false, not how you say it  The belief is the same thing as the proposition  Notice that a proposition is not a thing out there in the physical world, nor does it exist just in my mind. Let’s say it is in the 'ideal world' Mi
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