The Truth About Truth: Introducing Professor Huw Price

1. Introducing Professor Huw Price

Huw Price is a philosopher and the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He is also the Director of the Centre for Time at the University of Sydney. In his book, Truth Matters: Knowledge, Politics, and Integrity, Professor Price offers a critical examination of some of the main theories and conceptualizations of truth.

2. What is Truth?

In order to understand Professor Price's perspective of truth, it is first important to explore what he feels are the weaknesses of some of the theories and conceptualizations of truth.

2. 1 Correspondence, Coherence, and Pragmatism

According to Professor Price, there are three main ways of thinking about truth: correspondence, coherence, and pragmatism.

The correspondence theory of truth holds that a proposition is true if it corresponds to reality. In other words, a proposition is true if it accurately describes the way things actually are. This theory has been espoused by thinkers such as Aristotle and Aquinas.

The coherence theory of truth holds that a proposition is true if it coheres with other propositions that are considered to be true. In other words, a proposition is true if it fits in with all of the other beliefs that we have. This theory has been espoused by thinkers such as Kant and Hegel.

The pragmatist theory of truth holds that a proposition is true if it is useful or practical. In other words, a proposition is true if it helps us to achieve our goals. This theory has been espoused by thinkers such as James and Dewey.

2. 2 Theories and Conceptualizations of Truth

Professor Price critically examines each of these three theories of truth and identifies what he feels are their weaknesses.

With regard to the correspondence theory of truth, Professor Price points out that it relies on the assumption that we have access to an objective reality that we can compare our propositions to in order to determine whether or not they correspond. However, he argues that this assumption is dubious because it is not clear that we have such access to an objective reality.

With regard to the coherence theory of truth, Professor Price points out that it relies on the assumption that our beliefs form a consistent system. However, he argues that this assumption is also dubious because it is not clear that our beliefs always form a consistent system.

With regard to the pragmatist theory of truth, Professor Price points out that it relies on the assumption that we always know what our goals are and that we always act in accordance with them. However, he argues that this assumption is also dubious because it is not clear that we always know what our goals are or that we always act in accordance with them.

3. Weaknesses in Theories of Truth

Professor Price argues that the weaknesses in the correspondence, coherence, and pragmatist theories of truth show that there is a need for a new conceptualization of truth. He offers two examples to illustrate his point.

3. 1 The Obama Example

Consider the following proposition: "Barack Obama was born in the United States." According to the correspondence theory of truth, this proposition is true if it corresponds to reality, which it does. However, according to Professor Price, the correspondence theory of truth is not able to explain why this proposition is true. In other words, it does not tell us anything about what makes this proposition true.

The coherence theory of truth holds that a proposition is true if it coheres with other propositions that are considered to be true. However, in order for this theory to be applicable in this case, we would need to know what other propositions are considered to be true. In other words, we would need to know what beliefs we should take into account when determining whether or not the proposition "Barack Obama was born in the United States" is true. This is something that the coherence theory of truth does not tell us.

The pragmatist theory of truth holds that a proposition is true if it is useful or practical. However, it is not clear how this proposition is useful or practical. In other words, it is not clear what our goals are and how this proposition helps us to achieve them.

3. 2 The Country Example

Consider the following proposition: "The country is in a state of economic decline." According to the correspondence theory of truth, this proposition is true if it corresponds to reality, which it does. However, according to Professor Price, the correspondence theory of truth is not able to explain why this proposition is true. In other words, it does not tell us anything about what makes this proposition true.

The coherence theory of truth holds that a proposition is true if it coheres with other propositions that are considered to be true. However, in order for this theory to be applicable in this case, we would need to know what other propositions are considered to be true. In other words, we would need to know what beliefs we should take into account when determining whether or not the proposition "The country is in a state of economic decline" is true. This is something that the coherence theory of truth does not tell us.

The pragmatist theory of truth holds that a proposition is true if it is useful or practical. However, it is not clear how this proposition is useful or practical. In other words, it is not clear what our goals are and how this proposition helps us to achieve them.

4. Conclusion

If theories of truth cannot adequately explain why certain propositions are true, then there must be something wrong with our understanding of truth itself. Professor Huw Price believes that we need a new conceptualization of truth that can take into account the weaknesses of the existing theories and provide us with a better understanding of what truth actually is.

FAQ

According to Huw Price, the difference between truth and understanding is that truth is a property of beliefs, while understanding is a property of persons.

Price argues that we can never really know the truth about anything because our beliefs are always subject to change in light of new evidence.

The implications of this for our search for knowledge are that we should never stop questioning our beliefs and looking for new evidence, as it may lead us to a better understanding of the world around us.