Journal of Philosophy

The Viability of the Epistemic Conception of Truth: The Case of Putnam

Tadeusz Szubka

Szczecin University

Abstract: Epistemic conceptions of truth – for which truth is to be conceived in terms of appropriate justifiability or warranted assertibility – are more often criticized than defended. Some of their critics even go so far as to claim they are among the few widely held philosophical positions that can be definitively refuted (W. P. Alston). Since in philosophy definitive refutations are extremely rare, this severe pronouncement sounds rather implausible. But perhaps it will become more plausible if one takes into account that Hilary Putnam, once a main contemporary proponent of the epistemic conception of truth, has renounced it. In my essay I consider whether those changes in Putnam’s views make the pronouncement about the definitive refutation of epistemic conceptions of truth plausible. Since the cases of evidence-transcendence provided by Putnam are rather less dramatic than he himself tends to present them, one may argue that the real aim of Putnam’s recent reservations about the viability of the epistemic theory of truth is not its outright rejection but emphasis on the need of its moderation and restriction. Arguably, there is nothing wrong with the epistemic conception of truth, provided it does not endeavor to reduce the notion of truth to the notion of justifiability, rational acceptability, etc., and it is restricted to the central core of simple statements we make. Back





















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