The prospects of primitivism
Wyatt, J. (2020). The prospects of primitivism. Presented at the New Zealand Association of Philosophers 2020 Conference, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14084
Primitivist theories of truth date back at least to the origins of analytic philosophy, being defended by Moore, Russell, and Frege. A number of contemporary philosophers have also defended primitivist truth theories, with Davidson’s and Sosa’s defenses probably being the best known. The most extensive development of primitivism, however, has been offered by Jamin Asay, who contends that the concept TRUTH is primitive while the property truth is non-primitive yet insubstantial. In this talk, my primary aim will be to critically assess Asay’s primitivism. I’ll explain why his signature argument for primitivism is inconclusive and why his views face a pair of formidable challenges. After defending these negative claims, I’ll suggest that the way forward for inquiry about TRUTH is to move away from purely a priori investigations and towards a sort of inquiry which recognizes the critical role of empirical questions about the nature and acquisition of TRUTH.