The correspondence theory (today)
The coherence theory (Thursday)
The pragmatic theory (tutorial)
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'