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Philosophical Writings$
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P. F. Strawson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587292.001.0001

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Scruton and Wright on Anti-Realism

Scruton and Wright on Anti-Realism

(p.118) 10 Scruton and Wright on Anti-Realism
Philosophical Writings

P. F. Strawson

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the conception of verification-transcendent truth conditions — at least in one or another of the relatively stringent senses of ‘verification-transcendent’ which Wright's anti-realist seems to favour — and its link with that of meaning, is an essential part of a general view of the world which is in no way contrary to reason and to which we are in any case inescapably committed. This does not mean for one moment that we have to sacrifice any of the real gains secured to us in the past under the banner of a more modest verificationism. In particular, it does not mean that any concepts, or pretended concepts, plain or fancy, for which it is claimed that they have, or might have, application in the world, are immune from empiricist criticism. Nor does it mean that we are committed in advance to saying, of every type of sentence which is declarative in form and introduces no dubious concept, that the meaning of any sentence of the type is wholly, or even in part, a matter of truth conditions, strictly understood. The notions of truth, assertion, and fact have areas of unproblematic application which are a good deal more comprehensive than Wright's anti-realist seems prepared to allow; but it does not follow that these areas are simply coextensive with the range of use of declarative sentences.

Keywords:   verification-transcendent truth, meaning, Wright, anti-realist, truth, assertion, fact

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