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Truth, deflationary theories of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N062-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2019
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Deflationists aim to offer a lucid and metaphysically lightweight account of truth, stripped of obscure or redundant elements. They hold that the theory of truth should be simpler than the theories that have traditionally been proposed, such as the correspondence theory, the coherence theory, and the Moorean theory of truth as a simple unanalysable quality. In constructing their accounts, deflationists lay particular stress on biconditional claims such as ‘“Snow is blue” is true if and only if snow is blue’, which are usually taken to be uncontentious. The word ‘true’ helps us to generalise; for instance, we can endorse Thea’s claim, whatever it was, by saying ‘What Thea said is true’. Deflationists typically hold that we can fully explain why we have the word ‘true’ by pointing out that it helps us to generalise.

Critics of deflationism have alleged – among other things – that deflationary theories cannot explain the phenomena which a theory of truth ought to explain; that the deflationist account of truth has no acceptable formulation; that it cannot accommodate our intuitions about truth; and that it leads to paradox.

Citing this article:
Liggins, David. Truth, deflationary theories of, 2019, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N062-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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