The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 12, 2001

Intercultural Philosophy

Arindam Chakrabarti
Pages 41-59

Truth, Recognition of Truth, and Thoughtless Realism
Nyāya Without Fregean Fetters

Witnessing the fate of the various definitions of truth, Donald Davidson has recently called the very drive to define truth a “folly.” Before him, Kant and Frege had given independent arguments why a general definition of truth is impossible. After a quick summary of their arguments, I recount several reasons that Gangeśa gave for not counting truth as a genuine natural universal. I argue that in spite of defining truth as a feature of personal and ephemeral awareness episodes, the Nyāya ya realists such as Gangeśa could maintain that truth is independent of recognition of truth. In the course of my argument, I also show that Roy Perrett’s alleged proof against realism does not succeed. I conclude that realism does not need nonmental atemporal truth-bearers (propositions) which are eternally wholly true (or wholly false), and that knowledge-independence from truths and things can be shown without admitting the existence of unknowable things or truths.