Volume 58, Issue 2, June 2018
Aquinas and Contemporary Epistemology
The Case of the Truth-Norm
Whether and how truth is a norm of belief is a contentious issue in contemporary epistemology. In this paper I retrieve Aquinas’s conception of truth in order to advance a new answer to the question of what grounds the truth-norm. I begin by contrasting the two dominant contemporary accounts of this grounding, showing ways in which each succeeds and fails. Unlike the currently dominant accounts, my account seeks to ground the truth-norm in the nature of truth, as opposed to the nature of belief. Ultimately I argue that Aquinas’s conception of truth furnishes us with an account of the grounding of the truth-norm that satisfies three conditions of adequacy. Such an account (1) grounds the truth-norm in the nature of truth, (2) captures the breadth of epistemic evaluation, and (3) makes sense of the fact that truth is a norm specifically for the human person.