Deflationism as Alethic Fictionalism via a SPIF Account of Truth-Talk

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Book Section

Publication Date


Publication Title

The Nature of Truth, Second Edition


MIT Press

Publisher Location

Cambridge, MA

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The aim of this chapter is to explain, motivate, and provide the central details of a specific version of what has come to be called alethic fictionalism—namely, a fictionalist account of truth (or, more accurately, of truth-talk, that fragment of discourse that involves the truth-predicate and other alethic-locutions1 ). Our particular brand of alethic fictionalism is sometimes described as a “pretense theory of truth,” and a catchphrase for our view is “truth is a pretense.”2 But a more precise label for the view that we will present is “semantic pretense-involving fictionalism about truth-talk.”3 Our endorsement of this view (for short, our SPIF account) stems from our belief that deflationism is the right approach to take on the topic of truth. This already shifts the focus away from any property of truth, since deflationism “about truth” (or, as we will call this view, T-deflationism) is best understood as an approach to analyzing truth-talk. We arrive specifically at our SPIF account of truth-talk because we also think that versions of T-deflationism should be understood as a kind of fictionalism (which, again, puts the focus on discourse, rather than metaphysics) and because we maintain that a SPIF account is the best variety of fictionalism to apply specifically to truth-talk. We will explain some of our reasons for holding these beliefs below, laying out the basics of our SPIF account of truth-talk and highlighting the merits of endorsing our particular account of that talk.

Controlled Subject

Fiction; Truth--Coherence theory


Fiction | Semantics and Pragmatics

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