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date: 19 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is concerned with a semantic (as opposed to ontological) approach to metaphysics, developed by Michael Dummett and Crispin Wright, that takes truth as fundamental, and explicates debates about realisms in terms of truth. On this approach realism is fundamentally concerned with the objectivity of truth, where objectivity does not consist in the existence of entities. The chapter shows that Dummett worked with three separable criteria for the objectivity of truth, which support a subtle and flexible framework for characterizing various degrees of realism. It argues that Dummett’s so-called “manifestation” arguments against semantic realism can handle many objections that have been brought against them. It discusses Wright’s minimalism about truth, his four semantic criteria of realism, their inter-relations, and their connections to Dummett’s criteria. It concludes with reflections on the meta-philosophical status of the semantic approach: the reasons in favor of pursuing it and its adequacy to metaphysical reflection.

Keywords: truth conditions, realism, semantics, objectivity, recognitional capacity, minimalism, deflationism, error theories

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