|Good topic, Bill!|
Merlin Jetton has done substantial work in theory of truth. Here is an ABSTRACT of his major essay, published in Objectivity, in this area:
“Theories of Truth” by Merlin Jetton
Part 1 Volume 1, Number 4, Pages 1–30
Only what-is is thought in the true thought, says Parmenides. But nothing can be thought that is not what-is, for only what-is is. This is the existence theory of truth, and it launches Jetton’s comprehensive essay of theories of truth. The principals of Part 1 are Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Aquinas, Ockham, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Kant.
Jetton lays out the critical issues to be looked for in any theory of truth. These are the definition of truth, the criteria of truth, the bearers of truth, the makers of truth, and the account a theory of truth gives of falsity. From texts of the Greek philosophers to texts of a thirteenth-century theologian, Jetton assembles the various treatments of these issues within what today is called the correspondence theory of truth.
We are shown tendencies towards a nominalist theory blossoming in the fourteenth century and again in the seventeenth century. We are shown the beginnings of the coherence theory of truth in the texts of Spinoza, Leibniz, and Kant. Spinoza has tendencies towards the older, existence theory as well, and he inherits the special thorniness of accounting for falsity that comes with this rose. Nonetheless, their texts show that for these three coherence-leaning philosophers the correspondence theory remains the basic account of truth.
Part 2 Volume 1, Number 5, Pages 109–49
In Hegel’s texts, Jetton finds truth being turned to mean the agreement of object with its concept. Hegel argues that conformity of thought to object—the correspondence theory—is not an adequate account of truth. It misses the boat. Jetton takes the reader through Hegel’s arguments and through the elements of Hegel’s theory of truth, which is integral to the grand ship of metaphysical idealism.
Elements of Hegel’s theory are then carried forward to Bradley, Joachim, and Blanshard, who sail explicitly with the coherence theory of truth, the theory of truth-as-system. Jetton shows its timbers, ropes, blocks, and pulleys. He then selects parts for salvage.
Coherence theories hold out the possibility of “truth without true foundations.” Jetton charts the twentieth-century debates over foundational truths and the possibility of attaining truth without them. He concludes Part 2 with a discussion of the special nature of the truths we call scientific. This includes a close inspection of the views of Popper.
Part 3 Volume 1, Number 6, Pages 73–106
Now come forward the pragmatist theories of truth. Here with Peirce is truth as “that concordance of an abstract statement with the ideal limit towards which endless investigation would tend to bring scientific belief.” Here with James is emphasis on “truth’s cash-value in experimental terms.” Here with Dewey is truth as “that which is accepted upon adequate evidence” and as “warranted assertability.”
After critiquing the pragmatist theories of truth, Jetton addresses truth theory after the linguistic turn in twentieth-century philosophy. He looks especially at the seminal work of Tarski and its relations to the correspondence and coherence theories of truth. Lastly, Jetton recounts Rand’s brief writings on the nature of truth, elaborates their intersections with earlier theories, and offers his own synthesis.