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Relativism about truth


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Davson-Galle, Peter 1996 , 'Relativism about truth', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Broadly put, the thesis is an investigation of the possibility of articulating a coherent thesis of truth relativism within first, a host correspondence theory of truth and second, a host coherence theory of truth. The type of relativism addressed in the thesis is what is sometimes called 'framework relativism', that where truth is relativised to a framework of belief, conceptual scheme or something of that sort. A further restraint is that it is a global relativistic thesis which is sought, one that is relativistic about all truths. The thesis does not set itself the task of defending relativism but just that of seeking a coherent articulation of it.
The work is in two sections. In the first, the host theory is the correspondence theory of truth. The result of that section's analysis is that, although what Chris Swoyer calls 'strong truth relativism' is not able to be given coherent articulation, what he calls 'weak truth relativism' is. The conception of weak correspondence relative truth that is explicated here is a three place relation of proposition, world (without "joints at which to carve") and categorial repertoire (of a type suggested by Jack Meiland). A global thesis in its terms proves coherently articulable and does not suffer from problems of self-inclusion.
In the second section, the host theory is the coherence theory. Promising looking host though it seems, neither propositional nor doxastic web versions of the coherence theory prove to be able to permit either weak or strong global truth relativistic theses to be coherently articulated. The most promising looking coherence relativist candidate of those examined is a strong doxastic thesis developed by James Young. Like other coherence relativisms examined, Young's succumbs to the reflexitivity demands of a global thesis. Strong coherence theses also prove to have difficulty in having the same proposition true relative to one propositional/doxastic web and false relative to
another. Weak variants have difficulty explicating the "appropriate alternativeness" of the categorial repertoire in terms of which some target proposition is to be ineffable.
The results of investigation are contrary to conventional wisdom concerning relativism in that it proves to be the correspondence theory, not the coherence theory, within which it is easier to articulate global (though only weak) framework truth relativism.
I wish to acknowledge the advice given to me by my supervisors, Dr. Edgar Sleinis and Prof. Bill Joske, and the helpful correspondence and conversations concerning various parts of the work that I have had with Jack Meiland, Jim Young, Steve Rappaport, Steve Edwards, Jack Smart, Howard Sankey, Henry Krips, Brian Ellis, Kathy Bohsted, Frank White and Harvey Siegel.
I also wish to acknowledge the emotional support and forbearance of my spouse Chrissy and my daughters Jenny and Kathleen.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Davson-Galle, Peter
Keywords: Truth, Relativity
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 1996 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1997. Includes bibliographical references

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