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Volume 46 • Number 2

April 2009



Explaining the Value of Truth

by Allen Coates

William James claimed that truth is "good in the way of belief" (1975, p. 42), and it is widely held that beliefs aim at truth. The basic idea is that a belief is good (or successful, or correct) just in case it is true. But if beliefs are good just in case they have a certain property, one may well infer that they are good because they have that property. So it is tempting to conclude that truth is a good-making property for beliefs. This paper will argue that we should resist this temptation and deny that truth is a good-making property. This is not to deny that truth is a value, however, since one can reject the idea that truth is a good-making property while retaining the idea that a belief is good just in case it is true.

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ISSN: 2152-1123