Talk:Deflationary theory of truth

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This: "if the italicized words are taken as a sentence, then it is false, because something more is required for the whole statement to be true than merely the fact that "grass is green" is true." should be this: "if the italicized words are taken as a sentence, then it is false, because something more is required for the whole statement to be true than that grass is green." No? I can't make sense of the original formulation.Kronocide (talk) 21:18, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

A conjecture[edit]

"So, if pigs fly, if pigs do indeed fly, then it's true that pigs fly" Anyone care to add to this conjecture? Bensaccount 23:52, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The role of Ramsey[edit]

I don't know about attributing the deflationary theory to Ramsey. Certainly he is important in its development, but we could equally credit Frege or Ayer. Maybe there are good reasons to attribute it to Ramsey that I'm not aware of?

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21:29, October 5, 2005 (UTC)

So what is or are this/these theory/ies?[edit]

The deflationary theory of truth is a family of theories which all have in common the belief that statistics that count the number of words of a statement do not provide any substantive information or insight into the nature of truth. Hopefully you, reader, agree with me. I further contend that the preceding sentence does not provide any substantive information or insight into the nature of the deflationary theory (or theories) of truth. Agreed? Well, I think the same holds for the intro of the article. It tells us that these theories do not believe something. (Can a theory believe?) It does not tell us any "positive" tenet of these theories, like what is meant by "truth", or what might provide insight into its nature. If you do not already know about this/these theory/ies, you still don't know a thing after reading the intro. It does not facilitate the comprehension of the rest of the article. --LambiamTalk 20:22, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

yes, alright wise ass. The choice of term "Belief" was sloppiness and the intro is not perfect. What am I god?? The fact is that deflationary theories probably should not even be called theories. But they are so called and it's not my place to state my own opinions here and eliminate/distort the current usage in the academic and professional philosophical communities.

Anyway, if the rest of the article is clear enough you should be able to clear up the intro yourself. But instead of, for example, simply changing the word "belief" into claim or assert, we get the usual wacky wiki nonsense where someone comes along after three months and says "Oh man, I don't like that formulation. " It's pretty easy to sit back in anonymity and whine about the inadequacy of the work of others isn't it? Damnit, that house really is ugly. Why did they put the veranda over there instead of over here? What's the matter with that idiotic Ronaldo, I would've put kicked the ball over here!! Yeah, that't it!! Give us a look at your own masterpieces, for christ's sake. Let me make this clearer than clear: deflationist do not beleive that truth MEANS anything nor that is HAS a nature to be explaned. Period. It is just an occasionally (but only occasionally) useful linguistic phenomenon. If you don't like the idea, that's too bad!! Read another article. It's not my fucking fault that that's the position. --Lacatosias 17:20, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Awbrey !?[edit]

Alright, I'm not going to argue with you on this Awbrey. You're a madman. That is something I respect and applaud. Therefore, I will leave the "see also" section as is. But try getting something like this through FAC!! Take a look at this Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Hilary Putnam artcle I have barely succeeded in getting through that process. The madness that erupted was somethihng to behold. Did you know that there is now an automated bot prose style and Wiki standards verify. The bots have taken over, my friend, as you predicted way back when. What's to be done? They basically insisted that every word I wrote was too technical, textbook-like and things of that nature. Too bad you missed it.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 19:29, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Hi, F2. I know that you mean Madman in the nicest possible way, and yes we do have our way of being Prophets, too. Jon Awbrey 23:00, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Re madman. Exactly and that's in fact one of my favorite prose-poems on mj bookselves.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 07:48, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Course Notes Do not Count As WP:Reliable Sources[edit]

JA: 'Nuff said. They might be okay as external links, but they do not validate the "neologism of the week" for what are basically very ancient ideas. Jon Awbrey 06:00, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Problem 1. Correct Description[edit]

JA: Persistence of Error. The lead contains the same old mistatement of the entire issue that I thought we had eliminated some time ago. Will begin to fix it tomorrow. Jon Awbrey 06:24, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

You've truly botched the lead pretty badly. It is NOT accurate. Period. But, then, that IS the sort of thing that you and Kenosis do best. I will stay out of it, while you fellows transrom into an FA, as usual!! (;.

JA: So it was you ! All I did was reinstate the oldest lead in the history by way of beginning a review. Here is the "YOU WERE THERE — Or Not" for that date:

  • \star-Date 23:30, 16 April 2004, Bensaccount (FROM truth):

The deflationary theory of truth (also called the redundancy theory of truth) is the theory that is truth is redundant with is. In other words, to assert that a statement is true is just to assert the statement itself.

The original version of this bare-bones theory was called was due to F.P. Ramsey and Alfred Ayer, English philosophers who wrote their works in the 1920s and 1930s.

This has loose connections with the "performative theory of truth", associated with Peter Strawson.)

The redundancy theory of truth is really a special version of what is now called The Deflationary Conception of Truth, or deflationism for short. Deflationism has two major versions. A version called Minimalism, which has been developed by Paul Horwich (see Horwich 1998, Truth). And a version called Disquotationalism, which has been developed by Hartry Field (see Field 2001 Truth and the Absence of Fact). The minimalist theory takes truth bearers to be propositions and takes, as constituting the notion of truth, statements of the following form:

  • (T*) The proposition that P is true if P.

The disquotational theory in contrast takes sentences as the central truth bearers, and its basic principles take the following form:

  • (T**) The sentence "P" is true if P.

Roughly, statements of any of the forms (T), (T*) or (T**) are called "T-sentences", and deflationists take T-sentences to be central in characterizing the notion of truth.

The idea is that, instead of saying, "It is true that some dogs bark," you could, without loss of meaning, say simply, "Some dogs bark". In principle, we could always eliminate talk of truth, in favor of simply forthrightly asserting whatever it is that we say is true.

JA: It appears that FF (aka Lacatosias) came in here:

  • \star-Date 18:42, 24 March 2006, Lacatosias (started work on deflationay theories, back tomorrow), Diff.

JA: Let's see if we can get clear, one more time, about what's wrong with the change in the lead that FF made in the above edit.

  • Before

The deflationary theory of truth is really a family of theories which all have in common the claim that assertions that predicate truth of a statement do not attribute a property called truth to such a statement.

corrected version.

--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 16:04, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

  • After

The deflationary theory of truth is really a family of theories which all have in common the belief that assertions that predicate truth of a statement do not provide any substantive information or insight into the nature of truth.

JA: There is a curious inversion that has taken place here. The question was whether assertions that predicate truth of statement provide any substantive information or insight into the nature of the statement. This is a question about the nature or substance of statements, whether they have a nature or a property that can be denoted by the logical values true or false.

JA: Assertions that predicate truth of a statement were never intended to provide any substantive information or insight into the nature of truth. (There are in fact principles of duality arising in very special settings by which this can happen in the aggregate, but it is not the primary intention of the assertion.) So that was never the claim, and denying it is not a theoretical innovation, but simply a misunderstanding of the question. Jon Awbrey 15:50, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

This is valid.

Problem 2. Comparative Description[edit]

JA: It's pretty clear that all of these isms — deflation-ism, disquotation-ism, mini-mall-ism, redundant-ism, and probably- a-few-that-came-down-the-pike-this-week-isms — are nothing but the "ten-thousand-names" for a theme out of Tarski. Jon Awbrey 12:14, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you that they are all variations on the basic theme of (probably not Tarski but) Ramsey or Frege. But the fact is that there are these variations. They are discussed in influential texts (Robert Brandom, "Making It Exlicit" for example) in the Stanford Encylopedia and in acadmeic papers. In an article on truth, it may be fine to state that deflationary theory is essentially reducnay with minor varitains. But this is an article specifically on deflationary theories. As such, it should give the reader an exhaustive rendereing of the four or five variatains that have been discussed and that can be documented. Please remember that all the words in human language begin as neologisms. All that has to be assured here is that they are not MY neologisms; that is, I am not making them up and engaging in OR. I can cite places where the terms and their associated concepts are discussed in the literature. When Kant first started tossing around terms like "synthetic" , "analytic" "apriori", "practical reason" "categorial imperative" and so on, they were neologisms. Now, they are standard terms of the philosophical lexicon. Morever, the basic idea of functionalism is claimed by some people to derive from Aristole. But even if the basic idea of functionalism really did have such ancient roots, this does not mean that the term functionalism was coined by Aritostle or that it is a useless neologism. In some cases, an idea may have ancient roots, but the term for it does not. Functionalism is now part of the standard philopshical jargon. What will end up of ideas like "disquotationalism and "prosententialism"? Who knows? They may vanish by next summer or one of them might turn into a fully developed idea which lasts as long as synthetic apriori. To prejudge the issue is to engage in a bit of (not really POV-pushing) but suppression of info. Just let the info out there and let people decide if it's nonsense or not. --Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 13:45, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: That is not the problem here. I'm a pragmatist about language, and I mean that in the next-to-the-lowest possible sense of the word. If a significant proportion of the population is found to be using the word truth as a synonym for My Left Foot, and to be persisting in that practice for a significant period of time, then there's nothing for it but to document the fact. But we document the circumstance as what it is. This involves (1) indexing the usage by the population in question, (2) documenting the origin and history of the usage, and (3) describing the usage in the appropriate descriptive terminology. Not all of the appropriate descriptive terminology will be internal to the movement in question, but will come from external disciplines that are adapted to the purpose of such description. Jon Awbrey 14:24, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Never mind.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 16:09, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Quantification over Propositional Variables[edit]

This article has running all through it the mistaken notion that quantification over propositional values is an uncontroversial tool that can be used to express ideas about truth. That is NOT the case. See the Kirkham book listed in the bibliography. I'm removing all these passages.

The article is also filled with original research. I'm removing this.

Finally, it makes dubious, uncited, attributions; such as that the prosentential theory orginated with Ramsey. If a citation for these claims is not made soon, I'll return in a few days and delete them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

missing example=[edit]

The text refers twice to example (EQ), but there is no corresponding example in the current text. Can anyone restore the original example or remove the references? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:21, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

The example of eliding "is true" is unclear or confused[edit]

This paragraph is unclear to me, or perhaps confused:

This can be easily translated into the formal sentence with variables ranging over propositions For all P, if John says P, then P is true. But attempting to directly eliminate "is true" from this sentence, on the standard first-order interpretation of quantification in terms of objects, would result in the ungrammatical formulation For all P, if John says P, then P. It is ungrammatical because P must, in that case, be replaced by the name of an object and not a proposition.

Schematically, we begin with a sentence "with variables ranging over propositions", ie a sentence in some second-order theory. Then we make a syntactic change to that sentence (remove two words). Then we abruptly interpret the sentence as a first-order sentence (?!), yielding a non-well-formed first-order sentence. Then we draw a conclusion from the non-first-order-well-formedness of this latest sentence.

Note that even had we not removed the words "is true", the sentence would still not have been a well-formed first-order sentence. For even with the words "is true", as a first-order sentence it is of the form "For all objects, if John says that object...". This is also nonsense - I have never seen anyone say an apple.

The most charitable interpretation I can think up is:

This can easily be translated into a formal sentence with variables ranging over propositions (a second-order sentence): For all P, if John says P, then P is true. But attempting to naively eliminate "is true" from this sentence by means of syntactic operations alone, in the hope of yielding a first-order sentence talking about objects but not propositions, results in the ungrammatical formulation For all P, if John says P, then P. It is ungrammatical because in a first-order theory, P stands for an object and not a proposition. Thus, the attempt to convert the second-order sentence to a first-order sentence solely by means of this one simple syntactical operation fails.

This is now intelligible, but utterly uninteresting. It merely demonstrates that one cannot convert this particular second-order sentence into a first-order sentence in this particular way. It remains obscure how the fact that this dubious sequence of operations yields nonsense is relevant to anything of any interest - least of all the deflationary theory of truth. (talk) 13:28, 11 July 2011 (UTC)m@

RfC: Proposed addition to Deflationary theory of truth[edit]

It appears that there is absolutely no interest in discussing this addition to the article. Brews ohare (talk) 13:21, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

NOTE: Original RfC to recreate Deflationism with the text below is here with comments from other editors. ----Snowded TALK 18:24, 26 April 2013 (UTC)


  • As the sources and quotations in this proposal show, the term 'deflationism' has a wider meaning than simply its application to 'truth' and today is used in a sense more general than that. For that reason, an additional subsection is needed to avoid placing too narrow an interpretation upon this term. Brews ohare (talk) 17:50, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
  • There seems to be no objection to this proposal so I propose to install it in the main article. Brews ohare (talk) 02:15, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
    • The point about an RfC is to get comments so leave it for now please. I must admit I was hoping that others would deal with this but your constant RfC and multiple postings seem to be having an off putting effect on other editors. Personally I don't think this adds much and seems to be a classic use of a limited number of sources with excessive quotation ----Snowded TALK 04:24, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: It is no surprise to me that you oppose without any supporting reasoning. In this case, you yourself suggested that this material be placed in Deflationary theory of truth instead of being in its own article Deflationism, as did BrideOfKripkenstein. Bob K31416's remarks could be interpreted in this way also. Of course, the more general usage of this term that is well documented in this proposed addition, and employed in this manner by MachineElf, should be noted. Brews ohare (talk) 14:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
That's because Brews chooses to act as if 'RFC' stands for 'Request for Capitulation'. And Snowded is right on the money; Brews' strategy time and time again is to bury any opposing or questioning viewpoint under endless walls-of-text until his is the only voice left and he 'wins' by attrition. This has to stop. (talk) 16:54, 30 April 2013 (UTC) If you stopped to look at matters, you would see that you are mistaken. The reason for prolonged exchange with Snowded is very simple - he rarely addresses substantive issues but instead repeatedly makes pronouncements based upon his unsupported opinion accompanied by threats and assertions about my presumed bad behavior, like yours. My behavior consists in trying to get Snowded to actually think about issues raised, look at sources, and stop making Moses-from-the-mount pronouncements. Brews ohare (talk) 19:17, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
BTW, your comment here is all about your unconsidered opinion on my conduct and does not address the proposed insertion about 'deflationism'. Brews ohare (talk) 19:23, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm simply not prepared to engage in discussions with you that in effect invite me to engage in original research and synthesis. Every RfC you have raised has backed that position so its not just me Brews. Fair warning of Arbitration Enforcement has been made to try and get you to realise that your behaviour here and on other philosophy articles is identical to that which had you permanently topic barred from Physics articles. No one wants to loose a committed editor, but until you learn to work with other we will get no where. ----Snowded TALK 21:50, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: Ducking addressing valid points raised; such as the very, very simple point here that 'deflationism' has a broader meaning than just its application to 'truth'; cannot be excused on the basis that this is "original research". That excuse is imaginary. Period. Brews ohare (talk) 22:23, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
That's your view Brews and I respect it, but I think its wrong. Period ----Snowded TALK 22:53, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Great. So you say you think it's OR and I say it's what the sources say and as you won't discuss the sources because such a discussion would be discussion of OR (a bit circular, I'd say) there we are, eh? Brews ohare (talk) 00:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I'l discuss the OR issue if you show some evidence of a third party source. But I won't engage in a discussion of what you think should be included unless it is properly sourced. ----Snowded TALK 07:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Like I said: you propose a Catch 22. You've got a stratagem here that you don't need to engage until I intuit what will satisfy you. As the sources and quotations in this proposal show, the term 'deflationism' has a wider meaning than simply its application to 'truth' and today is used in a sense more general than that. You don't think the sources are satisfactory, and that is simply your very own opinion. Brews ohare (talk) 13:32, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Although you mention 'third party' source, I see nothing in WP policy that agrees with you. For example, we do not need an encyclopedia or dictionary reference to 'deflationism' in its broader and more recent usage. Feel free to explain exactly how you see any such policy could apply here. Brews ohare (talk) 16:54, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Then you need to read the policy again ----Snowded TALK 19:42, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I need you to identify the policy you have in mind, and what in that policy is pertinent. To my knowledge, there is nothing pertinent. Brews ohare (talk) 19:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Variously WP:RS, WP:OR & WP:SYNTH and I have explained the issue to you on many articles. Further other editors have done the same on three RfCs now. Enough ----Snowded TALK 02:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I've looked at all these policies and see nothing pertinent to the present situation at all. If you really do see something there, and are not just being off-hand about their applicability, please point out what is important in detail. Brews ohare (talk) 04:34, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I and others have done that for you over many articles Brews. Look up tendentious and try and live with the fact that you do not have agreement to your approach, as you didn't on Physics articles with the net result of a indefinite topic ban and a continuing block log. Writing essays on your talk page about why Wikipedia is wrong and you are right doesn't really help much either. ----Snowded TALK 09:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Again, Snowded, you duck all specifics and rant about my conduct. The 'only' comments on this Talk page about this proposal come from you, and not one of them is specific about content. Your last attempt to avoid any effort to help out is to say that the contribution is WP:OR (that is your unsupported and incorrect opinion) and therefore deserves none of your attention. The proposal is a simple addition to Deflationary theory of truth to point out the usage of 'deflationary' in a broader context. There is nothing WP:OR here: sources employing the broader usage are quoted to show the usage. Nothing you have said is directed at the purpose of this insertion to point out a broader meaning of 'deflationary', nothing you have said is about crafting the contribution, in fact you have said nothing for paragraphs here and never-never-never get around to specifics about the proposed insertion. Brews ohare (talk) 16:18, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Its not a rant Brews. Find a third party party source and I'll happily engage, otherwise assume you have no agreement ----Snowded TALK 10:33, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: There is no WP policy that indicates a third-party source is needed to establish this material. You have not provided any indication why you think there is. To establish the usage of a technical term like 'deflationary', it is entirely sufficient to show that it is in active use by established philosophers, as has been done here. Brews ohare (talk) 14:47, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
See previous comments by myself and others over several articles----Snowded TALK 15:27, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Your refusal, Snowded, to support your assertions in any form, referring vaguely to prior commentary by yourself 'and others' that does not exist, is simply avoidance of any sensible or constructive comment on the proposal. Brews ohare (talk) 18:42, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────There being only vague references to non-existent 'other comments', and nothing specific opposed to inclusion of this section in the main article, I propose to add it. Brews ohare (talk) 15:12, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

oppose for reasons stated. You may not agree with them Brews but I've been very clear on this.----Snowded TALK 22:00, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: I have struggled with you for days if not weeks to get a 'clear' statement of your objections. All they come down to are your assertions that (i) commentary exists somewhere unspecified (ii) you won't discuss matters because in your view they are WP:OR and not worthy of your attention. But no indication of why you call them OR. (iii) complaints about me rather than critique of content. Your actions are simply obstruction, not aimed at crafting content. Brews ohare (talk) 14:23, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
This situation can be easily corrected by reading the sources in the proposal. They make it very clear that a broader meaning for 'deflationary' and 'deflationism' is in active use by (among others) Putnam, Hirsch, Kriegel, Eklund, Thomasson, and Manley, a usage that goes beyond its application to Deflationary theory of truth. There is no "original research" involved here: just some sources and a three quotes that indicate very clearly how three of these authors are using the terminology. I simply have no idea why you wish to rant about my behavior and WP:OR regarding this straightforward proposal. Brews ohare (talk) 14:40, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Try not to be abusive Brews. In fact you struggle with anyone who disagrees with you. I realise that you are getting frustrated as you have elsewhere. The simple fact remains that you seem to want to write essays rather than reflect sources and that, as you have discovered, is generally not supported by other editors. Your attacks on those who disagree with you has been adjudged tendentious by Arbcom and you seem unwilling to learn from that.----Snowded TALK 00:40, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Again, Snowded, you avoid any commentary whatsoever related to the subject of the usage of deflationism, and focus all your attention upon my so-called 'abusive' behavior and refer to my request for substance as 'attacks'. What about the usage of deflationism in philosophical literature? What about the quoted illustrations of this usage by reputable philosophers? What about getting around to the proposal instead of character assassination, eh? Brews ohare (talk) 04:07, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
If you use abusive language Brews expect it to be commented on. Otherwise as I have told you before I am happy to talk about sourced material, but I am not prepared to engage in your desire to write speculative material based on your own studies that has nothing to do with how we work here ----Snowded TALK 04:09, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: I'm unaware of my use of abusive language. Let me take one argument you present to excuse yourself from participation in discussion of the proposal. I'll try to articulate this position as you might do yourself:
Brews, find a third party party source and I'll happily engage. A third-party source is necessary to establish the usage of 'deflationism' beyond its application to Deflationary theory of truth. I see that you have assembled quite a few philosophers that use 'deflationary' and 'deflationism' to designate philosophical views that existence debates within ontology are basically empty. The quotations make this very clear, and also make clear that there are several different grounds that are covered by these designations. However, despite there being no indication of bias, these various philosophers that use the term in this fashion cannot be taken as using the term in a disinterested fashion, and whether they intend it or not, the term is pejorative. Only a disinterested source can present this extended usage of 'deflationism' in a fair manner.
Snowded, have I caught your drift? The appearance of bias is the only reason I can see to require a third-party source.
I don't think that the term 'deflationary' is used pejoratively by any of these philosophers, but merely as a label to identify views skeptical of some of the goals of ontology. In any event, in my opinion, the label 'deflationary' or 'deflationism' is part of the language of philosophy at this point, as the quotations show, and all that is done in the proposal is to illustrate the usage. No position is taken as to whether deflationary views are valid. The treatment is intended to be entirely descriptive and nonjudgmental. If that is clear, no third-party source is necessary. If it seems to you Snowded, that bias is present, perhaps you could suggest some changes that would insure that no endorsement of deflationary views is meant. Brews ohare (talk) 15:51, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I've made some changes to emphasize the purpose is 'usage', not endorsement. Brews ohare (talk) 18:20, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Brew's, OR is not the same thing as bias. The point is that you have written (yet another) small essay based on your reading on the subject and it uses primary sources. We require third party sources, end of argument ----Snowded TALK 18:32, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: You have two objections that lead you not to engage. I addressed this one: find a third party party source and I'll happily engage. There is also this one I'm simply not prepared to engage in discussions with you that in effect invite me to engage in original research and synthesis. It appears that you will not articulate why you think either applies here, despite my best efforts to open some kind of explanation. As matters stand, I have found no reasoning of any kind from you as to why you believe these claims of yours apply to this proposal, and you aren't willing to say why. Flag-waving WP policies without explanation, of course, is not explanation. Brews ohare (talk) 21:20, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Brews I have explained this to you many times. On three RfCs other editors have explained it to you. You don't like it, you don't agree with it fine but please making false and nonsensical accusations ----Snowded TALK 00:48, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Snowded: These statements of yours are not true. Here we have a proposal and a solicitation of comments regarding this proposal. You have made not one single statement relevant to this RfC. You may think that your many conflicts with me over other matters are pertinent here. I don't agree. I think this RfC stands on its own, has its own unique content and merits, and deserves particular attention specific to its own content, not a rehash of mere attitudes of yours born elsewhere and brought in from other contexts. Brews ohare (talk) 04:52, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
  • It just occurred to me that deflationism, deflationary, etc., are general terms that simply have to do with reducing the significance of something. One could have a deflationary view of anything. In other words, these terms could be applied to the activity of deflating the value of any topic. For example, one could have a deflationary view of the most advanced mathematics if one believes that it is only a recreation for a relatively few number of people. Or one could have a deflationary view of professional sports as being just entertainment and of no consequence. Or one could have a deflationary view of ontology. So it seems that this article is about a deflationary view of truth, and a deflationary view of other topics, such as sports, math, or ontology, may not be appropriate here. --Bob K31416 (talk) 15:01, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi Bob: Nice to hear from you. You raise the question, I guess, whether 'deflationary' in ontology is just another everyday use of the word like 'deflated expectations', not worth pointing out, rather than a technical usage. Maybe so. When Machine Elf introduced it on meta-ontology I didn't make the connection. A few illustrations of its usage in ontology doesn't hurt anything.
However, in any event, Snowded doesn't want it here on Deflationary theory of truth, as expressed by his repeated pronouncements that rational discourse is wasted upon this subject and certainly won't occupy his time, better spent chastising thick-headed editors like me who just don't accept his say-so in such things. Brews ohare (talk) 19:28, 11 May 2013 (UTC).
  • Comment from uninvolved editor invited by RfC bot: in addition to being extremely poor writing, the section below cannot be added to Wikipedia because it is textbook original research. Please find reliable, secondary sources if you wish to add this information to the encyclopedia. -Nathan Johnson (talk) 14:29, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Proposed addition to Deflationary theory of truth[edit]

In ontology[edit]

As already pointed out, the adjective 'deflationary' commonly is applied to the concept of truth, as in the deflationary theory of truth.[1] However a broader usage is becoming common, applying the word 'deflationary' to certain views of ontology in general: views that there are no 'deep' philosophical issues buried in existence questions. Collectively these views of ontology are referred to as 'deflationism'. In the following, it should be understood that all that is being established is the usage of the terms 'deflationary' and 'deflationism' and there is no intent to support or oppose such positions.

As a first example of usage, we have (underscoring added):

I will focus on the deflationary conception of ontology. Specifically, I will be concerned with what form an acceptable deflationism about ontology might take. The most well-known and important form of deflationism about ontology has historically been associated with William James and Rudolf Carnap, and among its most important current proponents are Hilary Putnam and Eli Hirsch.[2]

— Matti Eklund, The Picture of Reality as an Amorphous Lump

The reference here to Carnap refers to his argument that ontological sentences are trivial within a 'framework' and meaningless outside of it.[3] Thomasson also refers to 'Carnapian deflationism' in a second example of usage (underscoring added):

"But while the easy method yields answers to existence questions, it also deflates those questions so that there is nothing particularly deep or philosophical about them: they are to be answered simply by a combination of conceptual and empirical enquiry. While the conceptual work may be difficult and controversial, it is there (and not in making discoveries about what exists) that the real philosophical work lies. The result is a sort of Carnapian deflationism about existence claims: Existence claims must be made using a language, and (if they are to be meaningful and truth-evaluable) must involve using the meaningful terms of that language with their extant application conditions. Provided we approach existence questions using well-formed meaningful terms with application conditions, they are easy (internal) questions. Beyond that, the questions that remain are those of what language we should adopt—what terms, with what application conditions—and that, it seems, must be a pragmatic issue."[4]

— Amie L. Thomasson, The Easy Approach to Ontology

Hilary Putnam and Eli Hirsch advance the view that ontological debates are merely verbal disputes.[5][6][7] Hirsch's position is called 'deflationary' by Eklund,[2] and by Kriegel.[8]

A very clear definition of 'deflationism' in its broad sense is provided by David Manley in a third example of usage (underscoring added):

"Consider and arbitrary dispute in metaphysics that gives rise to deflationary intuitions...Motivated in part by intuitions of shallowness, they argue that the dispute is merely verbal, or that the disputants are not making truth-evaluable claims at all. This approach, which I will call strong deflationism has a very impressive pedigree: versions of it have been defended by, among others, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Austin, Rorty, Ryle and Putnam....In its new forms, strong deflationism poses as serious a challenge to metaphysics as ever."[9]

— David Manley, Introduction: A guided tour of metametaphysics, p. 4


  1. ^ Stoljar, Daniel and Damnjanovic, Nic (Oct 4, 2010). Edward N. Zalta, ed, ed. "The Deflationary Theory of Truth". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 Edition). 
  2. ^ a b Matti Eklund (2008). "Chapter 9.2: The picture of reality as an amorphous lump". In Theodore Sider, ed. Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 382–396. ISBN 9781405112284.  On-line version here.
  3. ^ Carnap, Rudolf (1950.). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Bobbs-Merrill.  Check date values in: |date= (help) Reprinted as a chapter in Carnap, Rudolf (1991). "Chapter 4: Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology". In R. Boyd, Philip Gasper, J. D. Trout, eds. The Philosophy of Science (3rd ed.). MIT Press. pp. 85 ff. ISBN 0262521563.  See also this on-line version.
  4. ^ Amie L Thomasson. "The Easy Approach to Ontology". Retrieved 04-28-2013. The easy view also enables us to diagnose where others have gone wrong in thinking that there was something deeper, more difficult to do in the name of ontology.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help) To be published in Ontology after Carnap Stephan Blatti & Sandra Lapointe (eds.)}}
  5. ^ Putnam, Hilary (1987). The Many Faces of Realism; The Paul Carus Lectures Series (2nd ed.). Open Court. ISBN 0812690427. 
  6. ^ Hirsch, Eli (2011). "Chapter 9: Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes and common sense". Quantifier Variance and Realism: Essays in Metaontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 144–177. ISBN 9780199732111.  First published as “Physical-Object Ontology, Verbal Disputes, and Common Sense”
  7. ^ Hirsch, Eli (2011). "Chapter 5: Quantifier variance and realism". Quantifier Variance and Realism: Essays in Metaontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 68–95. ISBN 9780199732111.  First published as “Quantifier variance and realism”
  8. ^ Uriah Kriegel (2011). "Two defenses of common-sense ontology" (PDF). Dialectica 65 (2): 177–204. doi:10.1111/j.1746-8361.2011.01262.x. 
  9. ^ David Manley (2009). "Introduction: A guided tour of metametaphysics". In David Chalmers, David Manley, Ryan Wasserman, eds. Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology (PDF). Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0199546045. 

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"Just in case"[edit]

On behalf of the general audience, I have replaced the misleading and confusing expression "just in case", with its correct, and easily understood equivalent, "if, and only if" (also, in more technical writing, "if and only if"). The following explains the error: