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Lecture 15

Philosophy lecture 15 - The correspondance theory of truth.docx
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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1020
Professor
John Thorp
Semester
Fall

Description
15. The Correspondence Theory of Truth Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) 0. Historical and Biographical Matters. 1. Our question: not what is true? but: in what does truth consist?  We‟re not talking about truth in the sense of giving list of what beliefs are true  Were asking what it is for a belief to be true, in what does truth exist 2. The simple answer: correspondence.  Obviously, for a belief to be true, it has to correspond to reality  Obviously, that is correct  For example: o My belief that; „the monkey is on the carpet‟ is true , IF, the monkey IS on the carpet  For example (less silly) o My belief that „the monkey is on the carpet‟ if and only if: *picture of monkey on carpet* using pictures o But even this doesn‟t quite seem right- these are just pictures of monkeys and carpets  For example o My belief that „the monkey is on the carpet‟ is true if and only if *places monkey on a carpet‟ o That is, my belief is true if and only if it CORRESPONDS in the outside world o Outside world = extra-noetic, extra-linguistic  Russell thinks though: o My mind: o –idea of monkey o – idea of caroet o – idea of spatial relaitionship between monkey and carpet o Outside world o –real monkey o –real carpet o –real relationship between monkey and carpet  What exactly is it that is true or false here o But of course „my belief‟ is true (or false) only if the belief is true (or false)  My belief is a private, internal thing, belonging to me, one of the contents of my mind  But that private thing is true only if a public thing – the belief – is true  (otherwise were into a world of extreme relativism about truth)  So the belief needs to be true 3. Two problems: a) Correspondence between what and what? i) Beliefs and reality (refinements needed) ii) Propositions & states of affairs -the monkey is on the carpet -the simian is on the mat -le singe est sur le tapis -der affe sitzt auf dem teppich La scimmia e sul tappet  The proposition is represented in each sentence Propositions  That which is common to a number of different sets of words used to express it  These sentences can only be true if the proposition lies beyond them (is the base)  The ultimate barer of truth, is the proposition  Ultimately what is true, is the proposition.  Sentence is true ONLY IF the corresponding proposition is true  The belief = the proposition  Not just in the physical mind, nor does it just exist in my mind  Lets say ; it‟s the “ideal world” Mind (private world that
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