Volume 7, Issue 3, 2016
Recognizing ‘Truth’ in Chinese Philosophy
The debate about truth in Chinese philosophy raises the methodological question How to recognize ‘truth’ in some non-Western tradition of thought? In case of Chinese philosophy it is commonly assumed that the dispute concerns a single question, but a distinction needs to be made between the property of truth, the concept of TRUTH, and the word ·truth·. The property of truth is what makes something true; the concept of TRUTH is our understanding of truth; and ·truth· is the word we use to express that understanding. Almost all human beings over the age of 2 have the concept of TRUTH, and therefore, the question whether some tradition has the concept of TRUTH is moot, but that doesn’t imply that every language has a (single) word for ·truth·. Furthermore, recognizing ·truth· is complicated by the conceptual neighbors of TRUTH. What distinguishes ·truth· from its neighbors is disquotationality. Theories of truth similarly need to be distinguished from theories about adjacent notions. If a theory is more plausibly interpreted as a theory of justification, then it is not a theory of truth.