Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Truthlikeness

Reading the Truthlikeness entry in the SEP, which is a good summary of the common views on verisimilitude, it struck me that all of these views gloss truthlike as 'like the truth'. Thus saying P is truthlike is to say that P is like the truth T which we are, as it were, trying to get at in talking about P in the first place. But surely there's another, better way of glossing it, namely, that truthlike is 'like truth', i.e., it may or may not be true, but it is as if it were, it has characteristics making it resemble truth. This is why Academic skeptics can accept the verisimilar: to say that P is truthlike you don't have to know that it is like T in particular. (And why Augustine can reply to the Academics that saying P is truthlike is only possible if you know what features go with some truth, even if not the particular truth in question, so as to be able to say that P is like it in some way.)

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