, Volume 195, Issue 3, pp 1035–1063 | Cite as

This is not an instance of (E)

  • Teresa Marques
S.I.: Minimalism about Truth


Semantic paradoxes like the liar are notorious challenges to truth theories. A paradox can be phrased with minimal resources and minimal assumptions. It is not surprising, then, that the liar is also a challenge to minimalism about truth. Horwich (1998/1990) deals swiftly with the paradox, after discriminating between other strategies for avoiding it without compromising minimalism. He dismisses the denial of classical logic, the denial that the concept of truth can coherently be applied to propositions, and the denial that the liar sentence expresses a proposition, but he endorses the denial that the liar is an acceptable instance of the equivalence schema (E). This paper has two main parts. It first shows that Horwich’s preferred denial is also problematic. As Simmons (1999), Beall and Armour-Garb (2003), and Asay (2015) argued, the solution is ad hoc, faces a possible loss of expressibility, and is ultimately unstable. Finally, the paper explores a different combination of possibilities for minimalism: treating the truth-predicate as context-dependent, rejecting the notion that the liar expresses a proposition, and reinterpreting negation in some contexts as metalinguistic denial. The paper argues that these are preferable options, but signposts possible dangers ahead.


Truth Minimalism Liar paradox Expressibility Context-dependence Propositions Metalinguistic negation 



I’m very grateful to Joe Ulatowski and to Cory Wright; I’m also grateful to José Martínez, Jordi Valor, Manuel García-Carpintero, and to Peter Sullivan, for the discussion of some of the problems covered in this paper. This work was supported by an FP7 Marie Curie Action, Grant Agreement Number: PIEF-GA-2012-622114; Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Filosofia del Dret, 2014 SGR 626, AGAUR de la Generalitat de Catalunya; project About Ourselves FFI2013-47948-P, Spanish Ministry for Economy.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LOGOS Group, Philosophy DepartmentUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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