An Update from Truth Without Borders

April 26, 2022

In late 2021, former UCHI Visiting Fellow (’19-’20) Joseph Ulatowski and Jeremy Wyatt (PhD, UConn ’14) were principal investigators of the Truth Without Borders project, which was partially funded by the University of Waikato Division of Arts, Law, Psychology, and Social Sciences. Members of this project carried out collaborative research on how truth is used in languages other than English, whether such uses are significantly different from uses in English, and how people from non-Anglo-American cultures understand and value truth.

The project involved a large, multi-site research consortium comprised of scholars from 14 different institutions in Asia, Europe, and North America and a capstone workshop from 30 November 2021 – 3 December 2021. The project aims to encourage even greater collaboration by working with scholars whose research is linked to Indigenous communities and innovate by demonstrating the value of empirically investigating semantic concepts such as truth from a cross-linguistic perspective. It will also lead to improved understanding of the impact that conceptions of truth have on politics, business, and the communication of scientific information to the public—an issue whose seriousness has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the Truth Without Borders project and view a complete schedule from the workshop.

VICTR Presents: Pascal Engel, “Is Prenectivism a Realism about Truth?”

November 29, 2021

Is Prenectivism a Realism about Truth?

Pascal Engel (EHESS) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (VICTR), February 7th at 10:00am EST.

ABSTRACT: According to the prenective theory of truth (Prior 1971, Kunne 2003) “true” is a connective or a sentential adverb, not a predicate, and the form of truth ascriptions is neither ‘P’ is true or nor The proposition that P is true , but [It is true] that P or truly P. It is sometimes called an adverbial conception of truth (Kotarbinski 1961, Williams 1976). It can be combined also with a prenective theory of propositional ascriptions: the logical form of propositional ascription is not

[Rose ] believes [that John is smart]
but
[Rose] believes that [John is smart]

I first review various objections to the prenective theory: how can it preserve our ordinary
syntactic intuitions? how can it account for “blind” ascriptions of truth such as “Everything
you said is true”? Does it presuppose quantification over propositions? What are its
relationships with a redundantist conception of truth? Trueman’s (2021) version of the prenective theory purports to avoid these difficulties. It is based on the “Fregean realist” view that predicates do not refer to objects, propositions are not objects of propositional content ascriptions and beliefs are not relations between individuals and propositional objects. “Rose believes that Rose is smart” expresses a relation between Rose and a way for the world to be, the way expressed by “John is smart”. On the prenective view, propositions are not the sort of thing that can be true or false, and truth is not a predicate. This leads, according to Trueman, to a version of the identity theory of truth: true propositions are facts, although facts are not objects. This leads, according to Trueman, to a
form of direct realism about belief.

I raise doubts about the claim that the prenective theory thus reformulated can lead to a form of realism about belief. It is not a realist theory of truth either. It is rather, as Trueman recognises, a form of redundantism about truth. Realism about truth and belief have to satisfy much stronger conditions. Truth is not an adverbial modifier of propositions, and facts are not the way the world is.

Registration is required. You can register for this event at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkcuGtqTojHdCjtkZm8dayPG-k6qdfhgXV

Following this link and filling out the registration will generate a unique zoom link sent to your email for this talk and all of the future VICTR Talks.

You can also email VICTRgroup@gmail.com

VICTR Presents: Poppy Mankowitz, “True Gradability”

True Gradability

Poppy Mankowitz (University of Bristol) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (VICTR), December 9th at 11:00am EST.

ABSTRACT: Are there degrees of truth? One way to answer this question is to look at the linguistic evidence surrounding ordinary speakers’ uses of the word ‘true’. For instance, it might turn out that speakers frequently describe one truth-bearer as ‘more true’ than another, or ‘a little true’. The standard semantic analysis of such claims would rely on degrees of truth. Yet the view that there are degrees of truth is difficult to reconcile with most existing theories of truth. I will evaluate the linguistic evidence, and consider the implications for theories of truth.

Registration is required. You can register for this event at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkcuGtqTojHdCjtkZm8dayPG-k6qdfhgXV

Following this link and filling out the registration will generate a unique zoom link sent to your email for this talk and all of the future VICTR Talks.

You can also email VICTRgroup@gmail.com

VICTR Presents: Julian Schloder “The Proper Formulation of the Minimal Theory of Truth”

October 25, 2021

The Proper Formulation of the Minimal Theory of Truth

Julian Schloder (University of Connecticut) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (VICTR), November 30th at 1o:00am EDT.

ABSTRACT: Minimalism about truth is one of the main contenders for our best theory of truth, but minimalists face the charge of being unable to properly state their theory. Donald Davidson incisively pointed out that minimalists must generalize over occurrences of the same expression placed in two different contexts, which is futile. In order to meet the challenge, Paul Horwich argues that one can nevertheless characterize the axioms of the minimalist theory. Sten Lindström and Tim Button have independently argued that Horwich’s attempt to formulate minimalism remains unsuccessful. We show how to properly state Horwich’s axioms by appealing to propositional functions that are given by definite descriptions. Both Lindström and Button discuss proposals similar to ours and conclude that they are unsuccessful. Our  new suggestion avoids these objections.

Registration is required. You can register for this event at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkcuGtqTojHdCjtkZm8dayPG-k6qdfhgXV

Following this link and filling out the registration will generate a unique zoom link sent to your email for this talk and all of the future VICTR Talks.

You can also email VICTRgroup@gmail.com

Videos from the Truth 2021 Online Conference

August 23, 2021

Video recordings from the Truth 2021 Online Conference are now available. The conference, hosted by the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (VICTR), took place over four days between July 21-29, and featured many exciting presentations on new work in truth research, including author-meets-critics sessions on two new books — Jamin Asay’s A Theory of Truthmaking (Cambridge University Press 2020) and Maria Baghramian and Annalisa Coliva’s Relativism (Routledge 2020) — as well as sessions on Truth and Politics and on Truth in the Tractatus (celebrating the centenary of the publication of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus).

The recordings can be viewed at VICTR’s YouTube channel (here).

Thanks to all presenters and participants, as well as VICTR’s sponsors, the Future of Truth project, the University of Alabama, and the University of Waikato, for making the conference a huge success!

Congratulations to Sarah Willen and the Pandemic Journaling Project

June 9, 2021

The Pandemic Journaling Project (PJP) met an important milestone recently—one full year of gathering journal entries from people around the world about the impact of the pandemic in their lives. In that time, more than 1,500 journalers in over 45 countries—including the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, India, and elsewhere—have contributed over 15,000 journal entries. You can experience a sample of those journal entries, in English and Spanish, on their featured entries page. The project has received local, national, and international media attention, including a feature on the cover of the New York Times Science section. Learn more about the project by reading the project overview, or watching the PJP at one-year video:

The goal of the Pandemic Journaling Project is to make sure that ordinary people struggling through this pandemic have their voices heard, and their experiences remembered. Historical records tend to favor the powerful and the well-connected, and by soliciting journal entries from all kinds of voices, PJP ensures that future historians will be able to reconstruct how the pandemic affected the everyday lives of a wide array of people. You can listen to some of those voices in their anniversary sound collage:

UCHI is proud to have been an early supporter of the project, and we’re very excited that PJP co-founder Sarah S. Willen will join our 20th-anniversary cohort of fellows this fall as our Future of Truth Fellow. As Future of Truth Fellow, Sarah will launch a book project, tentatively titled, “Chronicling the Meantime,” that explores how PJP’s remarkably diverse community of journalers has used this unique online space to chronicle the impact of the pandemic on the warp and woof of everyday life—for their own purposes, and for posterity.

VICTR Presents: Stefano Caputo “The Dependence of Truth on Being”

May 10, 2021

The Dependence of Truth on Being: Is there a Problem for Minimalism?” (tentative title)

Stefano Caputo (University of Sassari) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (VICTR), May 24 at 10:00am EDT.

Abstract (tentative): The aim of this paper is first to defend the intuition that truth is grounded in how things are and, second, to argue that this fact is consistent with Minimalism. After having cashed out that intuition in terms of explanatory claims of the form ‘if it is true that p, it is true that p because p’, I set out an argument against Minimalism which is based on the same intuition, and I argue that a strategy the minimalist could adopt to resist the argument, i.e. to deny the correctness of the intuition, is flawed. Then I explain why the intuition is correct and I make some claims concerning the kind of explanations which are involved in it. Now the stage is set up to present the right way for the minimalist to resist the argument. I finally answer some objections.

Registration required. You can register for this talk at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocu-prj4iGdY0NwHUWjPYWLvywnGfLeku

You can also email VICTRgroup@gmail.com

VICTR Presents: Jinho Kang, “Truth as a Normative Property”

April 26, 2021

Truth as a Normative Property

Jinho Kang (Seoul National University) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (VICTR) on May 10, 8:00pm EDT / May 11, 9:00am KST.

Abstract: I criticize the widely held assumption that truth is a descriptive property and argue that it should be understood as a normative property. I first spell out under what condition a property should count as normative, and argue that the property of being true meets this condition. I then address various objections to the normativity thesis, including the ones based on the correspondence intuition, the Tarski T-schema, and the implausibility of a Moorean open question argument for truth. I show that all of them can be answered.

Registration is required. You can register for this event (and for other upcoming VICTR events) at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocu-prj4iGdY0NwHUWjPYWLvywnGfLeku

Eduardo Barrio, “Anti-Exceptionalism, Truth, and the BA-Plan”

April 12, 2021

Anti-Exceptionalism, Truth, and the BA-Plan

Eduardo Barrio (University of Buenos Aires) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research (VICTR) on April 26, 10:00am EDT, on “Anti-Exceptionalism, Truth, and the BA-Plan”.

Abstract: Anti-exceptionalism about logic states that logical theories have no special epistemological status. Such theories are continuous with scientific theories. Contemporary anti-exceptionalists include data about semantic paradoxes as a part of the logical evidence. Exploring the Buenos Aires Plan, the recent development of the metainferential hierarchy of ST-logics shows that there are multiple options to deal with such paradoxes. There is a whole ST-based hierarchy, of which LP and ST themselves are only the first steps. The logics in this hierarchy are also options to analyze the inferential patterns allowed in a language that contains its own truth predicate. This talk explores these responses analyzing some reasons to go beyond the first steps. I will show that LP, ST, and the logics of the ST-hierarchy offer different diagnoses for the same evidence: the inferences and metainferences the agents endorse in the presence of the truth-predicate. But even if the data are not enough to adopt one of these logics, there are other elements to evaluate the revision of classical logic. How close should we be to classical logic? Which logic should be used during the revision? Should a logic be closed under its own rules? How could a logic obey the validities it contains? And mainly, which is the best explanation for the logical principles to deal with semantic paradoxes? I will argue that, if the answers to these questions are provided from an anti-exceptionalist perspective, ST-metainferential logics in general are the best available options.

You can register for this event at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocu-prj4iGdY0NwHUWjPYWLvywnGfLeku

Following this link will generate a unique zoom link to you, that you can then use to access any of the Centrally Organized talks coming up at VICTR through May. You can also register by emailing VICTRgroup@gmail.com

VICTR Presents: Romy Jaster

April 8, 2021

Bullshit and the Norms of Assertion

Romy Jaster (Humboldt-University, Berlin) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research on April 12, 10:00am EDT / 14:00 UTC.

Abstract: With his seminal “On Bullshit”, Frankfurt drew attention to the fact that lies are not the only form of untruthful assertions: there is also bullshit – assertions which are characterized by a specific attitude of indifference on the bullshitter’s part. In the literature, Frankfurt is usually read as characterizing bullshit via two conditions: (1) the bullshitter is indifferent to the truth and (2) the bullshitter tries to deceive her audience about the fact that she is indifferent to the truth. In the talk, I argue that neither of the two conditions is necessary. In contrast to (1), I propose that the bullshitter’s characteristic indifference is directed, not at truth itself, but at the norms of assertion. Against (2), I draw attention to the fact that recent political communication exhibits a form of bullshit that is ostentative in the sense that the bullshitter displays her indifference toward the norms of assertion quite openly. Accepting (2) obscures this phenomenon.

You can register for the talk at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocu-prj4iGdY0NwHUWjPYWLvywnGfLeku