True Propositions and Truth as a Regulative Ideal

  • Dorothy Emmet


‘“What is Truth?” said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.’1 Some philosophers are still asking this; a few think they know the answer; and others think it is unanswerable and we should change the subject. I shall claim that we need a view of truth as a property of propositions and also that there may be a role for a more remote notion of Truth (with a capital T). I shall not be directly concerned with deflationary views which try to dispense with any substantive notion of truth, even in the more modest sense of a property of propositions. I simply note that there are good grounds for saying that they have not succeeded. Briefly, ‘“p” is true’ is equivalent to p, where “p” is a sentence or other form of expression and there is a proposition p which “p” expresses. So ‘snow is white’ is true if and only if snow is white. This is trivially true if all it tells us is that p = p. It is not trivial if it is presupposed that p, the proposition that snow is white, provides for a truth condition for p, namely snow being white. A truth condition is something which obtains, and its obtaining makes a proposition true. If snow being white is a truth condition for ‘snow is white’, there is still a substantive question of truth, the question of this truth condition obtaining.


Truth Condition Objective Knowledge Regulative Ideal Rational Acceptability True Proposition 
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Copyright information

© Dorothy Emmet 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Emmet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK
  2. 2.Lucy Cavendish CollegeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.OxfordUK

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