Ideas of Cheryl Misak, by Theme

[Canadian, fl. 2009, Professor at the University of Toronto.]

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2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 5. Objectivity
Modern pragmatism sees objectivity as possible, despite its gradual evolution
     Full Idea: One of the pillars of the new pragmatism is the thought that the standards of objectivity come into being and evolve over time, but that being historically situated in this way does not detract from their objectivity.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Introduction to 'New Pragmatists' [2007], p.2)
     A reaction: This looks to me like pragmatism finally coming to its senses. I would say that being any sort of 'social construct' (beloved of cultural relativists) in no way detracts from its capacity for objectivity and truth.
3. Truth / E. Pragmatic Truth / 1. Pragmatic Truth
Truth is proper assertion, but that has varying standards
     Full Idea: The pragmatist will say that truth is proper assertion, but different discourses have different standards for proper assertion.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 4)
     A reaction: This remark shows that there is a pragmatic attitude towards truth behind most attempts to analyse the concept of assertion. When and why is assertion legitimate, and what motivates it?
For pragmatists the loftiest idea of truth is just a feature of what remains forever assertible
     Full Idea: For pragmatists there is an unseverable connection between making an assertion and claiming that it is true. ...Were we to get to a belief that is forever assertible...then we would have a true belief. There is nothing higher or better we could ask of it.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 1)
     A reaction: She is particularly drawing on Peirce. She says his 'ideal end of enquiry' idea is a small aspect of his view of truth, which is mainly given here. I had taken the pragmatic view of truth to be silly, but I may rethink.
Truth isn't a grand elusive property, if it is just the aim of our assertions and inquiries
     Full Idea: If truth is what satisfies our aims in first-order assertion and inquiry (as the pragmatist says), then there is no search for an elusive property, or a metaphysical property, or a property which we cannot grasp.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 3)
     A reaction: This pragmatic approach is much more persuasive than the usual caricature of pragmatic truth (Idea 19097), but I'm beginning to wonder how you distinguish an 'inquiry' (or 'assertion') from other modes of thought. Do I smell a circularity?
Truth makes disagreements matter, or worth settling
     Full Idea: The role of truth is to make disagreements matter, or to make sense of wanting to resolve disagreements.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 2)
     A reaction: [She cites Huw Price 2003] This suggests that the most important use of 'truth' is forensic. It is hard to make any sense of a law court without a robust sense of truth. Trial by jury, rather than some great personage, shows this value.
'True' is used for emphasis, clarity, assertion, comparison, objectivity, meaning, negation, consequence...
     Full Idea: 'P is true' is used to emphasise p, and avoid logic problems. The pragmatists says there are plenty of other uses: the aim of assertion or deliberation, the improvement of our views, distinguishing objectivity, explaining meaning, negation, consequence...
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 2)
     A reaction: Pragmatism seems to break 'true' down into its many uses, rather than having a specific theory of truth. This might be where ordinary language philosophy (how is the word 'true' used) meets pragmatism (how is the concept [true] used).
'That's true' doesn't just refer back to a sentence, but implies sustained evidence for it
     Full Idea: The pragmatist says 'That's so' or 'that's true' are not just 'pro-sentential', but carry with them the thought that evidence does currently speak in favour of the statement asserted, and the prediction that it will continue to speak in favour.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 3)
     A reaction: This is a very nice point made by a pragmatist against the flimsy view of truth held by various deflationary views. You ought to believe what is true, and stand by what you hold to be true.
3. Truth / F. Semantic Truth / 1. Tarski's Truth / a. Tarski's truth definition
Disquotation is bivalent
     Full Idea: The disquotational schema entails bivalence.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 2 n10)
     A reaction: A simple but interesting observation. Critics of Tarski observe that he depends on a bivalent logic.
Disquotationalism resembles a telephone directory
     Full Idea: Disquotationalism is more like a telephone directory than a theory.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 2 n7)
     A reaction: [She cites Wilfred Sellars 1962:33] The idea is that there is a schema - 'p' is true iff p - and that all the acceptable sentences of a language can be expressed in this way, making a vast but finite list. It seems to replace 'theories'.
Disquotations says truth is assertion, and assertion proclaims truth - but what is 'assertion'?
     Full Idea: The point of the disquotational schema is that to say that a sentence is true is to assert it, and to assert a sentence is to say that it is true. We must then ask what it is to assert or endorse a proposition.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 4)
     A reaction: [She is referring to the views of Crispin Wright] Most people would say that we assert something because we think it is true, and truth is obviously prior. Clearly if it has been asserted, that was because someone thought it was true.
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 2. Deflationary Truth
Deflating the correspondence theory doesn't entail deflating all the other theories
     Full Idea: We must not move seamlessly from the thought that the correspondence theory must be deflated to the thought that any theory of truth must be deflated.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 2)
     A reaction: This rather good essay offers the idea that Peircean pragmatic approaches to truth can meet the deflationary desires of the opponents of correspondence, without jettisoning all the crucial naturalistic connections with reality. Interesting.
Deflationism isn't a theory of truth, but an account of its role in natural language
     Full Idea: Deflationist theories are not theories of truth, or theories of what truth is. ...They are theories which try to explain the role that 'true' plays in natural languages.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 3)
     A reaction: [She cites Dorothy Grover 2001,2002] If so, then the modern axiomatic theory of truth sounds appealing, because it tries to give a fuller and more precise account than a mere list is disquotations could possibly give.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 4. Anti-realism
The anti-realism debate concerns whether indefeasibility is a plausible aim of inquiry
     Full Idea: If indefeasibility turns out to be something we can't sensibly aim at in a kind of inquiry, then the judgements that arise from that kind of 'inquiry' are not truth-apt. It is here that the realism/anti-realism debate resides.
     From: Cheryl Misak (Pragmatism and Deflationism [2007], 4)
     A reaction: A very interesting way of presenting the issue, one that makes the debate sound (to me) considerably more interesting than hitherto. I may start using the word 'indefeasible' rather a lot, in my chats with the anti-realist philosophical multitude.