Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.


Truth, identity theory of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N124-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2005
Retrieved July 07, 2020, from

Article Summary

It is sometimes suggested that a fundamental shortcoming of the correspondence theory of truth is that it fails to do justice to the thought that if we are to speak the truth, what we state should not just correspond to, but actually be, a fact. The identity theory of truth typically appears as a response to this suggestion: its proponents may urge, for example, that the frequently made claim ‘A proposition is true if and only if it corresponds to a fact’ should be replaced by ‘A proposition is true if and only if it is a fact’. It is common to think about truth in terms of a distinction between proposition and fact: more generally, between that which itself may be true or false (often called the truth-bearer), and that in virtue of which the truth-bearer is true (often called the truth-maker). But according to the identity theory this habit is mistaken: when something is true, no such distinction can be made, for truth consists in identity with fact. This theory has generally been omitted from textbook discussions of truth, but nevertheless emerges periodically, sometimes under other labels, in the writings of a number of philosophers. Because of its austerity, it is not an easy theory to defend – for example, in some versions a consistent account of falsehood is hard to formulate, while in others it is unclear what its positive content is – and, partly in consequence, identity theorists tend to appeal to the resources of other accounts of truth.

Citing this article:
Candlish, Stewart. Truth, identity theory of, 2005, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N124-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

Related Articles