Scholars' Association News
Issue 41
February 2017

05/05


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Theories of Truth in the Philosophy of Language
Donald Davidson, Truth and Predication, Athens: Ekkremes Press, 2016, 310 pages ISBN: 978-6185076153

The Greek translation of Donald Davidson's work "Truth and Predication" was released in early November by Ekkremes Press. The translation team consists of scholar Stelios Giamarelos, along with Fotis Kotsalidis, Alkis Plithas and Eleni Manolakaki, Asst. Prof. of the Philosophy of Language at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, who edited the publication.

Work to translate the book commenced in 2011 during a seminar on truth and predication taught by Eleni Manolakaki on the postgraduate degree in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at Athens University, which Stelios Giamarelos attended as an Onassis Foundation scholar. The US philosopher Donald Davidson (1917-2003) was one of the leading philosophical lights of the second half of the 20th century. His works on philosophy in practice, on the philosophy of the mind, and the philosophy of language are milestones in

analytical philosophy. Utilising a uniform, cohesive philosophical viewpoint, Davidson shed light on issues relating to the ability to know the external world and another's mind, scepticism, relativism, the concept of proof and experience, as well as the conditions under which language and cognition take place. Richard Rorty's comparison of Davidson to Wittgenstein is perhaps no exaggeration, nor is his prediction that in a few short centuries from now, the historians of philosophy will write of the changes Davidson wrought to man's image of himself.

In "Truth and Predication", published in a form of a monograph in 2005 after Davidson's death, the author turns to the concept of truth in order to re-explore the old problem of predication. The most important theories of truth –the correspondence theory of truth, the coherence theory of truth, pragmatic theory of truth, and the deflationary

theory of truth– all parade through the pages of the book. The problems with them are singled out, and compared to the concept of truth as Davidson conceives it. The book also presents the most important theories of predication, the Platonic theory of ideas or forms, Aristotelian theory, as well as the theories of Frege, Russell and Strawson.

Those theories are checked and judged against their ability to answer a single problem alone: the issue of the unity of sentences, as posited in Plato's "Sophist". Davidson's "Truth and Predication" demonstrated once again the immense range and scope of his philosophical views. A Tarskian theory of truth, yet one applicable to natural languages and empirically verifiable from the linguistic behaviour of speakers, is also a theory of predication which can rightly address the problem raised by Plato's "Sophist".


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