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David Liggins (Manchester): Truth without truths

2 June 2015, 2:00 pm4:00 pm

Abstract: I introduce a new account of truth, called ‘alethic nihilism’. Alethic nihilism is modelled on sceptical theories in other areas, such as the nominalist view that there are no abstract objects, and the moral nihilist view that nothing is objectively prescribed. The most striking part of alethic nihilism is its claim that nothing is true. So, according to alethic nihilism, it is not true that snow is white; and according to alethic nihilism, alethic nihilism is not true.

I first introduce alethic nihilism and explain why it is not self-refuting. I then explain why alethic nihilism does not spill over into a more general scepticism. Next, I show that alethic nihilism offers classical resolutions of the Liar and other paradoxes. And I point out that alethic nihilism can also explain why these paradoxes seem paradoxical—that is, why we find the paradoxical reasoning attractive. According to the alethic nihilist, this is a byproduct of a device for enhancing our expressive power.


2 June 2015
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
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LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
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