Tag: Truth


Davidsonian Pragmatism

Donald Davidson didn’t like being called a pragmatist. He associated pragmatism with William James’s definition of truth as that what works (or something similar), which he rejected for a number of reasons. Davidson’s understanding of pragmatism and how it contrasts with his own view is probably most clearly expressed in a passage from “Truth Rehabilitated”: Truth is not a value, so the ‘pursuit of truth’ is an empty enterprise unless it means only that it is often worthwhile to increase our confidence in our beliefs, by collecting further evidence or checking our calculations. From the fact that we will never...

Atrekic Buddhism

To be clear, atrekic Buddhism is not a variety of Buddhism. It’s not un-Buddhist either, I think, but we’ll get to that later. The term “atrekic Buddhism” works in a similar way as “methodological anarchism” (famously proposed by Feyerabend) or “metaphilosophical anarchism”. The latter is a – more or less – anarchist approach to doing philosophy. It isn’t anarchism per sé (i.e., anarchism as political ideology), but can be thought of as something like anarchism about philosophy. That said, it could be argued that (political) anarchists should also be metaphilosophical anarchists (but not necessarily the other way around), which doesn’t...

Some Remarks on Truth and Justification

The notion of truth is probably one of the most central notions in science and philosophy, if not in humanity’s engagement with the world in general, but it is also a somewhat problematic notion that is prone to confusion. And consequently, not all talk about “truth” is really about truth. A couple of years ago, I wrote a paper titled “Recognizing ‘Truth’ in Chinese Philosophy” on the difficulty of recognizing concepts of “truth” and philosophical theories about truth in non-Western philosophy, focusing on ancient Chinese philosophy. I argued there and elsewhere that the ancient Chinese didn’t have theories of truth,...