My dissertation engages some with all three of these, but is focused on theories of truth. In particular, it deals with the debate between those who advocate a robust, correspondence account -- truth is correspondence to reality -- and those who urge a weak, deflationary one -- "truth" isn't a property at all, but merely a logical device. I trace the development of these two extremes, revealing the underlying points of contention, and arguing for a robust theory. A central move in my argument is the articulation of a new correspondence theory, one that overcomes traditional objections. It does so by taking scientific uses as paradigmatic, and giving indirect, context-sensitive accounts of language-world relationships, thus turning away from the heavy metaphysics of familiar correspondence theories. I call this the "physical correspondence theory" of truth. I then argue that recent deflationist responses to objections can be read in two ways, giving two brands of deflationism. The first reading yields a "physical deflationism," which is just the physical correspondence theory with some different labeling; on the basis of these small differences, I plump for the latter. The second reading yields a "discourse deflationism." I show that on this reading, the deflationary responses are not quite sufficient. Thus, I distinguish two types of deflationism and conclude that the physical correspondence theory is preferable to both.
This project grew out of an interest in mathematical truth, though this is not treated specifically in the dissertation. I hope to explore next what the implications are for mathematics of adopting the physical correspondence theory.
Finally, my work in ethics began with a paper on moral dilemmas (see below); I am now interested in finding out what metaethical viewpoint is suggested by those views.
B.A. Mathematics Wesleyan University
M.S. Mathematics Tulane University
M.A. Mathematics SUNY at Buffalo
Moral Dilemmas, Collective Responsibility, and Moral Progress, Philosophical Studies, forthcoming.