[FOM] Virdi on Deflationism

Leon Horsten Leon.Horsten at hiw.kuleuven.be
Tue Mar 21 14:55:09 EST 2006

Virdi asks:

> As soon as the deflationist makes an appeal to the Tarskian
[compositional] axioms,
> isn't she already moving away from her deflationary 
> position? In other words, Tarski's semantic conception of truth
> precisifies the so-called correspondence
> theory of truth (according to which a statement is true just in case
> it corresponds to the facts) 

Tarski's compositional theory of truth, axiomatically expressed, does 
not seem to be committed to facts or to a correspondence with facts. 
Indeed, T(PA) and Tr(PA) do not mention facts at all. So in as much as 
facts and correspondence to facts are metaphysical notions, it seems 
that T(PA), Tr(PA) still deserve the label 'deflationary'.

> Tarski himself claimed he was attempting to do justice to the
> correspondence theory of truth in his work.

Yes, that is true. In my view, Tarski should not have linked his 
theory of truth to the correspondence theory of truth.

> If the deflationist wants conservativity...

It is a moot point whether deflationism is committed to conservativity 
of the truth theory over a base theory. Some think they are (Shapiro, 
if memory serves me right), others (Volker Halbach, for instance) deny 
it. And if a conservativeness claim is somehow entailed by 
deflationism, then it needs to be made more precise: Conservativeness 
over which base theory? Conservativeness with respect to statements of 
which language exactly? 

Leon Horsten

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