Truth as Internal Norm of the Statement

Robert Piłat

Strony: 103 - 119



Donald Davidson was sceptical about the possibility of having a definition of truth and useful criteria of truthfulness at the same time. Davidson’s conclusions seem right in relation to truth expressed with a single-argument predicate indicating a certain property of a sentence. In the article, I defend the view inspired by Edmund Husserl’s deliberations that ‘truth’ is best expressed with a two-argument predicate, as it belongs to the internal structure of a judgment. I understand a ‘judgment’, in Husserl’s spirit, as a relation between thought and the object it is captured by. I argue that this way of understanding truthfulness is the best one to reveal its prescriptive aspect. I present truthfulness as an internal standard of judgments. I assert that truth in this meaning can be reconciled with the disproportion of criteria for establishing truthfulness in various areas of knowledge. Truth as a standard is applicable to ordered pairs of cognitive states – the ordering expresses the fact that the occurrence of the first state produces a peculiar cognitive obligation to accept the other one. It does not seem that the notion of truth as a standard might be constructed in this way for sentences. The problem is that our practices of turning from untrue sentences to true sentences are incommensurable – they are not subject to any one principle which would allow the construction of a set that might be recognized as an extension of the notion of truth. However, it seems that such a principle may be sought for judgments. A certain line of critique by Alfred Tarski of the semantic definition of a true sentence, presented for instance by Ernst Tugendhat, indicates the assumption regarding the truthfulness of judgments embedded in the definition. I am looking for such a description of judgments that would allow me to verify the intuition that the essence of a judgment consists in its being subject to the standard of truthfulness and that the material content of the standard is shared by all types of judgment. Based on Edmund Husserl’s views presented in his Logische Untersuchungen, Formale und transcendentale Logik and Erfahrung und Urteil, I formulate a hypothesis that the pair and the phenomenological notion of truth in the context of a full presentation of an object is applicable to all types of judgment and carries the standard of truthfulness regulating cognitive activities. In Erfahrung und Urteil, Husserl compares such activity to the satisfaction of desire, namely, the desire to possess an object in its self-presentation more and more fully. I think that the comparison may be given a less metaphorical sense by a retentive-and-protentive analysis of the structure of acts of judgment.