Truth, Revenge, and Internalizability

Kevin Scharp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although there has been a recent swell of interest in theories of truth that attempt solutions to the liar paradox and the other paradoxes affecting our concept of truth, many of these theories have been criticized for generating new paradoxes, called revenge paradoxes. The criticism is that the theories of truth in question are inadequate because they only work for languages lacking in the resources to generate revenge paradoxes. Theorists facing these objections offer a range of replies, and the matter seems now to be at a standoff. I aim, first, to bolster the revenge objections by considering a relation, internalizability, between languages and theories of truth. A theory of truth is internalizable for a language iff there is an extension of that language in which the theory is expressible and for which the theory provides an accurate and complete assignment of semantic values. There are good reasons to think that acceptable theories of truth are internalizable for any language. With this internalizability requirement in hand, I argue that properly formulated revenge objections are decisive and that the replies to them are inadequate. Second, I show that the internalizability requirement can be met by a certain theory of truth. The central claim of this theory is that truth is an inconsistent concept and should be replaced with a pair of consistent concepts that can then be used to provide a semantics for our truth predicates. This theory is compatible with classical logic, does not give rise to revenge paradoxes of any kind, and satisfies the internalizability requirement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-645
Number of pages49
Issue numberS3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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