Acta Analytica

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 117–134 | Cite as

Anaphoric Deflationism, Primitivism, and the Truth Property

  • Pietro SalisEmail author


Anaphoric deflationism is a prosententialist account of the use of “true.” Prosentences are, for sentences, the equivalent of what pronouns are for nouns: as pronouns refer to previously introduced nouns, so prosentences like “that’s true” inherit their content from previously introduced sentences. This kind of deflationism concerning the use of “true” (especially in Brandom’s version) is an explanation in terms of anaphora; the prosentence depends anaphorically on the sentence providing its content. A relevant implication of this theory is that “true” is not understood as a predicate and that truth is not a property. Primitivism, defended by Frege, Moore, and Davidson, is associated with two ideas: (1) that truth is a primitive and central trait of our conceptual system and (2) that truth, as such, cannot be defined. This second claim can be called “negative primitivism,” and it especially points out the facts about the “indefinability” of truth generally advocated by primitivists. In what follows, a connection is established between the deflationist’s rejection of the predicate and of the property and facts (and primitivist ideas) about the indefinability of truth. This connection establishes a common framework to lend further explanatory power to both options. According to the resulting view, this indefinability can explain the appeal and soundness of a deflationist dismissal of predicates and properties dealing with truth.


Brandom Deflationism Davidson Indefinability of truth Prosententialism Truth 


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Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Pedagogia, Psicologia, FilosofiaUniversità degli Studi di CagliariCagliariItaly

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