Volume 12, 2001
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.