David J. Buller
Department of Philosophy
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115


Office: Zulauf 902
Hours: by appointment

Topics in Philosophy of Logic: Truth

PHIL 602, Section 1
Spring 2014
MW 2:00-3:15
Founders Memorial Library 352

Course Description Required Texts Course Requirements
Academic Integrity Statement Accessibility Statement Course Schedule
Presentation Schedule Presentation Rubric Essay Rubric

Course Description

A survey of debates regarding the nature and value of truth.

Required Texts

Paul Horwich, Truth, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Michael P. Lynch, ed., The Nature of Truth: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001)

Additional Articles and Book Chapters

Course Requirements

  1. The reading requirement: Each student is required to complete each reading assignment prior to the class period for which it is assigned and to come to class prepared to discuss it. Evidence of failure to fulfill this requirement (including unexcused absences from class) will adversely affect the final grade.
  2. The presentation requirement: Each student will be responsible for presenting the material for two class sessions. As part of the preparation for a presentation, each student will meet with me for approximately one hour several days prior to the scheduled presentation. Presentations will constitute 50% of the final grade, with the highest presentation grade constituting 30% and the lowest presentation grade constituting 20% of the final grade.
  3. The essay requirement: Each student is required to submit a 3500-word term paper, on a topic to be mutually agreed to by the student and instructor. This paper is due, by email, no later than Monday, May 5, at 4:00 p.m. The term paper will constitute 50% of the final grade.

Academic Integrity Statement

"Good academic work must be based on honesty. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university."

Northern Illinois University Graduate Catalog

Accessibility Statement

Northern Illinois University and I are committed to providing an accessible educational environment in collaboration with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Any student requiring an academic accommodation due to a disability should let me know as soon as possible. Students who need academic accommodations based on the impact of a disability will need to contact the DRC if they have not done so already. The DRC is located on the 4th floor of the Health Services Building, and can be reached at 815-753-1303 (V) or drc@niu.edu.

Course Schedule

(Download a printable schedule.)

Assigned readings are to be completed for the date indicated.

M 1-13 Introduction and Organizational Meeting
W 1-15 Charles Sanders Peirce, "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" (in Lynch)
W 1-22 William James, "Pragmatism's Conception of Truth" (in Lynch)
W 1-29 Bertrand Russell, "Truth and Falsehood" (in Lynch)
M 2-3 F.P. Ramsey, "The Nature of Truth" (in Lynch)
W 2-5
Alfred Tarski, "The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of
Semantics" (in Lynch)
M 2-10 P.F. Strawson, "Truth," Analysis 9 (1949): 83-97
W 2-12 Michael Dummett, "Truth" (in Lynch)
W 2-19 W.V. Quine, "Truth" (in Lynch)
W 2-19
M 2-24
Dorothy Grover, "The Prosentential Theory: Further Reflections on Trying to
Locate Our Interest in Truth" (in Lynch)
W 2-26
W 2-26
M 3-3
W 3-5
Hilary Putnam, "Two Philosophical Perspectives" (in Lynch)
M 3-17 Paul Horwich, Truth, chap. 1, §§ 1-2, and Postscript, § 1
W 3-19 Paul Horwich, Truth, §§ 3-10, and Postscript, §§ 2 and 5
M 3-24 Paul Horwich, Truth, §§ 11-14, 18, 23, 26, 30, and 31
W 3-26 Donald Davidson, "The Folly of Trying to Define Truth" (in Lynch)
Paul Horwich, "A Defense of Minimalism," Objection 2 (pp. 563-565 in Lynch)
M 3-31 William P. Alston, "A Realist Conception of Truth" (in Lynch)
W 4-2
Crispin Wright, "Minimalism, Deflationism, Pragmatism, Pluralism," §§ 1-2
(in Lynch)
M 4-7 Crispin Wright, "Minimalism, Deflationism, Pragmatism, Pluralism," § 3 (in Lynch)
W 4-9
Crispin Wright, "Minimalism, Deflationism, Pragmatism, Pluralism," §§ 4-5
(in Lynch)
M 4-14
Richard Rorty, "Is Truth a Goal of Inquiry? Donald Davidson Versus Crispin Wright"
(in Lynch)
W 4-16
M 4-21 Paul Horwich, Truth, Postscript §§ 6-8
Paul Horwich, "The Value of Truth," Nous 40 (2006): 347-360
W 4-23
M 4-28 Paul Horwich, Truth, § 29
W 4-30