Forum Philosophicum

Volume 28, Issue 2, Autumn 2023

Jan WawrzyniakOrcid-ID
Pages 319-353

Elucidating the Role of Truth-Expressions
Some Wittgensteinian Grammatical Investigations

The aim of this text is to elucidate certain aspects of the use of expressions such as “is true” and “it is true that” (henceforth “truth-expressions”) and, through this, some features of the concept of truth. It focuses on addressing the question of whether truth-expressions play the role of a predicate or an operator. The investigations pursued are intended to be grammatical—in Wittgenstein’s sense of the term. I begin with a short presentation of a widely held view about the role played by truth-expressions. I then contrast the Wittgensteinian concep­tion of grammar with that of linguistics. I sketch Frege’s, Wittgenstein’s, Prior’s and Brandom’s central ideas regarding the issue under consideration. As a further step, I investigate the role of truth-expressions by examining several sentences in which they occur, and discuss objections to the proposed analysis. On my approach, truth expressions play the role of a predicate only when applied to sentences, and in all other cases function as operators. One advantage of such a position is that it enables a dissolution of the problem of truth-bearers: where truth-expressions are operators, the issue simply does not arise, and where they are predicates, it is sentences that are the truth-bearers.