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Truth and the Imperfection of Language

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Frege subscribed neither to a correspondence theory of truth nor, as is now frequently argued, to a simple redundancy theory of truth. He did not believe, in other words, that the word "true" can be dropped from the language without loss. He argues, instead, that in a perfect language we would not require the term "true" but that we are far from possessing such a language. A perfect language would be one that is fully adequate in the sense that it would allow us to state truths and truth-connections without ambiguities and contradictions. Ordinary language and the calculi we can construct on its basis are, on the other hand, always imperfect. In seeing these imperfections, Frege takes up an important line of late nineteenth century philosophical thinking which can be illustrated also by Nietzsche's reflections on language. Frege and Nietzsche draw, however, diametrically opposed conclusions from the thought that our language proves imperfect.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007


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