Three Theories of Truth

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Position Paper #1

Which of the three theories of truth—correspondence, coherence, and pragmatic—is the strongest?

LW contends that there are “three major theories of truth among philosophers: the correspondence theory, the coherence theory, and the pragmatic theory” (35). The correspondence theory of truth, according to LW, states that “a proposition is true if and only if it corresponds to the way things actually are” (36). The coherence theory of truth, according to LW, states that “a proposition is true if an only if it coheres with the set of beliefs that a person holds” (39). And the pragmatic theory of truth, according to LW, states that “a proposition is true if and only if it is useful to the believer in achieving desirable results” (42). Of the three theories of truth the strongest is the correspondence theory because it argues that “truth” is whatever corresponds to reality, unlike the other two that correspond more with only what people believe to be true, and if their truth is useful to them. When a person is trying to understand what the truth about something is they take a look at the facts. Facts are circumstances in the world whereas a belief is more of an opinion or a conviction about those circumstances. As it states in LW, “every proposition must be either true or false” (18). A fact holds true to this because it cannot be true and false, it simply one or the other because that is the way the world is. LW had a hard time defining what facts are stating “what are these things called “facts”? (38). But, facts are true because they are things that have actually happened or are known to have existed. A person that is not well educated may believe that the world is flat, and that may be their truth. But, what is fact is that the world is round and that is the truth. The coherence theory of truth deals with a person’s belief system as being the truth. This theory of truth is more closed minded than the correspondence theory. Looking at the...
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