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Truth, Language, and HistoryPhilosophical Essays Volume 5$
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Donald Davidson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/019823757X.001.0001

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The Folly of Trying to Define Truth

The Folly of Trying to Define Truth

(p.19) 2 The Folly of Trying to Define Truth
Truth, Language, and History

Donald Davidson

Oxford University Press

This essay argues that the concept of truth as well as related subjects of philosophical inquiry such as knowledge, belief, intention, and memory cannot be reduced to more elementary concepts, since these are the most elementary ones available. Tarski’s truth theory is examined, and a radical alternative to the truth theories considered in the preceding essay is proposed to identify the empirical connections between the concept of truth and observable human behaviour. A methodological model for this project is Frank Ramsey’s decision theory for constructing subjective probability.

Keywords:   concept of truth, Tarski, Aristotle, human behaviour, Frank Ramsey, decision theory, subjective probability

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