Truth and Epistemology

  • Matthew McGrath
  • Jeremy Fantl
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 119)


In Sect. 1 of this chapter, Matthew McGrath examines Sosa’s work on the nature of truth. Sosa’s chief purpose is to determine what sort of theory of truth is appropriate for “truth-centered epistemology” – an epistemology that takes truth to be the goal of inquiry and which explains key epistemic notions in terms of truth. While Sosa refutes arguments from Putnam and Davidson against the correspondence theory, he is hesitant to endorse it because he doubts we have a clear enough grasp of what correspondence amounts to and what the correspondents are. A truth-centered epistemologist, however, is free to work with minimalism about truth and Moorean primitivism. Part of Sosa’s case for primitivism, and against minimalism, involves a comparison with Moore’s account of goodness. Here McGrath notes an important dissimilarity between the two (i.e., susceptibility to “open-question” arguments) and suggests that this may be reason to prefer minimalism to primitivism.

In Sect. 2, Jeremy Fantl discusses Sosa’s work on the role of truth in epistemology. Sosa seems to be motivated by a dilemma facing any account of that role on which true belief is the sole fundamental epistemic value. On the one hand, we want an account of the role of truth in epistemology to explain why we epistemically evaluate beliefs and guide our intellectual lives in the way we do. On the other hand, it should not come out that we have any sort of epistemic obligation to form beliefs about completely boring or trivial matters (e.g., about the first phone number listed on page 356 of the phone book). Sosa’s attempt to resolve the dilemma is to, first of all, adopt something like a pluralism about epistemic value and, second of all, move the primary locus of epistemic evaluation from beliefs to faculties. The second part of this chapter investigates the intricacies of these maneuvers.


True Belief Nutritious Food Intellectual Virtue Correspondence Theory Ideal Circumstance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew McGrath
    • 1
  • Jeremy Fantl
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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