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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 1, 1975

Richard E. Olson
Pages 109-123
DOI: 10.5840/pra197517

On Truth by Convention

In his early essay, "Truth by Convention," W.V.O. Quine scraps a programme for a conventionalistic account of logic on finding that the very logic which he wishes to stipulate by conventional truth assignments is presupposed in the stipulation of his conventions. Recently, however, Carlo Giannoni has offered us a variant of the Quine programme which, he maintains, avoids Quine's initial pitfall by shifting the emphasis from truth assignment to the conventional stipulation of inference rules. In the following essay I argue that Quine and, hence, also Giannoni have misconceived the problem of conventionalism in their accounts and that the Giannoni reconstruction is consequently to no avail. The alternative account of Quine's initial difficulties which I offer is both incompatible with a classical conventionalism and Quine's own Duhemian conventionalism, while explaining these difficulties far more adequately than his account of them does.

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