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Truth predicates, truth bearers, and their variants

  • Friederike MoltmannEmail author
S.I. : Truth: Concept Meets Property


Theories of truth can hardly avoid taking into account how truth is expressed in natural language. Existing theories of truth have generally focused on true occurring with that-clauses. This paper takes a closer look at predicates of truth (and related notions) when they apply to objects as the referents of referential noun phrases. It argues that truth predicates and their variants, predicates of correctness, satisfaction and validity, do not apply to propositions (not even with that-clauses), but to a range of attitudinal and modal objects, objects we refer to as ‘claims’, ‘beliefs’, ‘judgments’, ‘demands’, ‘promises, ‘obligations’ etc. As such natural language reflects a notion of truth that is primarily a normative notion, which, however, is not action-guiding, but rather constitutive of representational objects, independently of any actions that may go along with them. The paper furthermore argues that the predicate true is part of a larger class of satisfaction predicates whose semantic differences are best accounted for in terms of a truthmaker theory along the lines of Fine’s (A companion to the philosophy of language, Wiley, Chichester, 2017b) truthmaker semantics. Truthmaker theory also provides a notion of partial content for attitudinal and modal objects, which may exhibit partial correctness, partial satisfaction, and partial validity.


Truth Truthmaker Propositions Partial content Satisfaction Correctness Normativity 



This paper has benefitted greatly from comments of two referees and the editor of the special issue Jeremy Wyatt. It also has benefitted from comments by Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson, Bruno Leclercq, Paolo Leonardi, Benjamin Nelson, and Stephen Yablo. Previous versions of the paper were presented at the workshop Truth, Contextualism, and Semantic Paradox at Ohio State University, Columbus, March 29–30, 2017 and the workshop Force, Content and the Unity of the Proposition at the University of Vienna, May 19–20, 2017, and I would like to thank the audiences for discussion.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS-IHPSTParisFrance

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