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Truth

My research on the nature and value of truth has largely focused on the role that the ordinary use of 'truth' and its cognates play in theories of truth; I have used a variety of empirical methods including questionnaires, epidemiological studies, and corpus linguistics. My studies have shown that people employ different concepts of truth in different linguistic discourses, and they have shown how use of truth varies by context, as well as by gender. Much of my work on the nature and value of truth has been done collaboratively with Robert Barnard, Masaharu Mizumoto, Jonathan Weinberg, Cory Wright, and Jeremy Wyatt.

forthcoming

Truth

MIT Press

with Jeremy Wyatt

A contribution to MIT Press' Essential Knowledge Series. A comprehensive overview of the theories of the nature of truth and its connection non-Western cultural perspectives, as well as empirical findings on the nature and value of truth.

forthcoming

Truth Without Borders

Asian Journal of Philosophy topical issue

Guest edited with Jeremy Wyatt and Masaharu Mizumoto

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forthcoming

Festschrift for Gila Sher

Australasian Philosophical Review

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forthcoming

Rational Cognition and Approximate Truth in the Lvov-Warsaw School 

Rationality of Rationalism(s): On Communicable Truths and Testable Knowledge

with Cory Wright

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2024

Looking Across Languages: Anglocentrism, Cross-Linguistic Experimental Philosophy, and the Future of Inquiry about Truth

Asian Journal of Philosophy topical issue

with Jeremy Wyatt

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2023

Is Correspondence Truth One or Many?

Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 79(3): 1003-1022

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2023

From Infants to Apes: The Empirical Adequacy of Primitivism about Truth

Experimental Philosophy of Language: Perspectives, Methods, and Prospects

with Jeremy Wyatt

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2022

Horwich's Epistemological Fundamentality and Folk Commitments

Axiomathes 32(Suppl 2): S575-S592

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2021

The Objectivity of Truth, A Core Truism?

Synthese topical collection 198(Suppl 2): S717-S733

with Robert Barnard

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2019

Do People Really Think that ⟨⟨p⟩ is true if and only if p⟩?

Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics

with Robert Barnard

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2018

Is There a Commonsense Conception of Truth? 

Philosophia 46(2): 487-500

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2018

Paul Horwich's Minimalism about Truth

Synthese topical collection

with Cory Wright

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2017

The Messy Truth of Yablovian If-Thenism

Australasian Philosophical Review 1(2): 206-211

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2017

Thinking about the Liar, Fast and Slow

Reflections on the Liar 

with Robert Barnard & Jonathan Weinberg

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2017

Commonsense Pluralism about Truth: An Empirical Defence

Palgrave Macmillan

Truth is a pervasive feature of ordinary language, deserving of systematic study, and few theorists of truth have endeavoured to chronicle the tousled conceptual terrain forming the non-philosopher’s ordinary view. In this book, the author recasts the philosophical treatment of truth in light of historical and recent work in experimental philosophy. He argues that the commonsense view of truth is deeply fragmented along two axes, across different linguistic discourses and among different demographics, termed in the book as endoxic alethic pluralism. To defend this view, four conclusions must be reached: (1) endoxic alethic pluralism should be compatible with how the everyday person uses truth, (2) the common conception of truth should be derivable from empirical data, (3) this descriptive metaphysical project is one aspect of a normative theory of truth, and (4) endoxic alethic pluralism is at least partially immune to challenges facing the ecological method in experimental philosophy and alethic pluralism. 

2016

Ordinary Truth in Tarski and Naess

Uncovering Facts and Values

Alfred Tarski seems to endorse a partial conception of truth, the T-schema, which he believes might be clarified by the application of empirical methods, specifically citing the experimental results of Arne Næss (1938a). The aim of this paper is to argue that Næss’ empirical work confirmed Tarski’s semantic conception of truth, among others. In the first part, I lay out the case for believing that Tarski’s T-schema, while not the formal and generalizable Convention-T, provides a partial account of truth that may be buttressed by an examination of the ordinary person’s views of truth. Then, I address a concern raised by Tarski’s contemporaries who saw Næss’ results as refuting Tarski’s semantic conception. Following that, I summarize Næss’ results. Finally, I will contend with a few objections that suggest a strict interpretation of Næss’ results might recommend an overturning of Tarski’s theory.

2016

Tarski's 1944 Polemical Remarks and Naess' 'Experimental Philosophy'

Erkenntnis 81(3): 350-382

with Robert Barnard

Tarski identifies two primary conditions for a successful definition of truth: formal correctness and material (or intuitive) adequacy. Material adequacy requires that the concept expressed by the formal definition capture the intuitive content of truth. Our primary interest in this paper is to better understand Tarski's thinking about material adequacy, and whether components of his view developed over time. More precisely, we are concerned with how Tarski's understanding of the content of the common-sense, every-day usage of truth may have developed over time. We distinguish this concern from the character of the extensional criterion of adequacy Tarski proposes: that a materially adequate definition must entail all instances of Convention T. We will develop our reading of Tarski as follows: first, we will review the "Polemical Remarks," focusing primarily on §§14 and 17, and Tarski's references to Naess' empirical research. Next, we will provide a summary and discussion of Naess' work, especially his findings with respect to Tarski's definition of truth and his research that suggests there is no single common or everyday concept of truth. Third, we will consider several possible objections to our interpretation of the Tarski-Naess dialectic. We will conclude that Tarski's conception of what the material adequacy requirement develop over time, potentially because of what he had learned through his interactions with Naess.

2015

Review of: Joshua Rasmussen, Defending the Correspondence Theory of Truth (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Polish Journal of Philosophy 9(2): 83-87

A review of Joshua Rasmussen's Defending the Correspondence Theory of Truth (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

2013

Truth, Gender, and Correspondence

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4(4): 621-638

with Robert Barnard

Philosophical theorizing about truth manifests a desire to conform to the ordinary or folk notion of truth.  This practice often involves attempts to accommodate some form of correspondence.  We discuss this accommodation project in light of two empirical projects intended to describe the content of the ordinary conception of truth.  One, due to Arne Naess, claims that the ordinary conception of truth is not correspondence. Our more recent study is consistent with Naess’ result.  Our findings suggest that contextual factors and respondent gender affect whether the folk accept that correspondence is sufficient for truth.  These findings seem to show that the project of accommodating the ordinary notion of truth is more difficult than philosophers had anticipated because it is fragmentary.  

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