An Undermining Diagnosis of Relativism about Truth
This paper argues for the following points:
- Our actual concept of truth is absolute.
- A deflationary account of it is correct.
- This concept is valuable and unobjectionable.
- So it should not be abandoned in favor of a relativistic concept.
- Certain inflationary theories of absolute truth (in which 'truth' is identified with one or another form of 'determination') would be profitably replaced by affiliated theories of relative truth (explained as 'relative determination' or 'determination by such-and-such contextual factors').
- But insofar as the initial theory does not successfully capture truth, the relativistic replacement won't really concern relative truth, properly so called.
- Granted, a form of 'relative determination' -- in particular, 'conditions that determine sentence-acceptance' -- may well prove to be explanatorily valuable in semantics. But nothing good could come of calling them "relative truth conditions".