Representation-Friendly Deflationism vs. Modest Correspondence
New Waves in Philosophy: Truth (New York: Palgrave McMillan,Cory Wright and Nikolaj Pedersen, eds., pp. 218-231, 2010
22 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2011
Date Written: August 31, 2009
A common challenge to deflationary views concerns intuitions about relationships between language and the world: when theories are successful, it seems this must be because the sentences in them represent, or correspond to, or correlate with, however imperfectly, the reality they aim to describe; the way words and sentences represent things and bits of the world seems complex, nontrivial, and worth investigating and analyzing. Critics say that to accommodate such relationships and their explanatory roles requires a correspondence theory of some kind — perhaps a contemporary "modest" theory, which eschews metaphysical facts and epistemological access to an uninterpreted world. My questions in this paper are, can the deflationist coherently accommodate the relevant intuitions, and is the resulting view a plausible one? My answer to the first question is yes. Contra suggestions of Philip Kitcher and Mark Wilson, deflationists can, and do, give us ways to make sense of representational relationships and the role they play in explanations. My answer to the second question, though, is a tentative "no." Although "Representation Friendly" Deflationism is coherent, its adoption is ill-advised.
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