AKBAR AND JEFF’S GUIDE TO WRIGHT’S THEORY OF TRUTH
 
Crispin Wright has done more to motivate and develop contemporary discussions of anti-realism than perhaps any living philosopher. One way to wrap our heads around current debates is to engage in “rational reconstruction” of the main themes in his masterful Truth and Objectivity. In doing this, I will sometimes put things in ways different from Wright and sometimes giving reasons that Wright doesn’t give. This will help us tease out the deep points at the center of Wright’s deep reformulation of this old debate.
 
1. Cartoon of Landscape Prior to Wright
1.1.Moral Realism
1.2.Three Arguments Against Moral Realism
1.3. Traditional Varieties of Anti-Realism About Ethics
1.3.1. Non-Cognitivism
1.3.2 Error Theory
1.3.3 Relativism
1.4. The Deflationist’s Challenge to the Whole Debate
2. Wright’s Response
2.1. Against Deflationism
2.2. A Minimalist Theory of Truth
2.3. Three Ways to Enrich Minimalism
2.3.1 Superassertibility and the Euthyphronic Dimension
2.3.2 Enriching the Correspondence Platitude
2.3.2.1 Cognitive Command
2.3.2.2 Wide Cosmological Role
 
1. Cartoon of Landscape Prior to Wright
We can’t understand Wright’s hope to inaugurate a new realism/anti-realism debate unless we understand previous ones. Here’s a cartoon version of bits of this debates as applied to moral discourse.

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1.1. Moral Realism
Part of what it is to be human is to engage in conversation about what ought to be the case.  When not debating about what ought to be done by others and ourselves, we often engage in both praise and recrimination. Also, many institutions constitutively provide rewards and punishment in an attempt to regulate the behavior of others (most notably the state, schools, and the family).  Well, what’s going on?
One way to figure out what's going on is to examine the language used in typical ethical debates.  We can start by look at some pieces of vocabulary characteristic of ethical debates.  Consider the following kinds of sentences.  Where x stands for the description of an act, people often say things like.
 
You ought to do x.
People should always do x.
People should never do x.
X is morally obligatory.
X is morally permissible.
X is morally impermissible.
X is morally right.
X is morally wrong.
X is morally good.
X is morally bad.
X is neither right nor wrong.
 
Some of the broadest kinds of questions we can ask about these sentences are: Are these sentences genuine assertions capable of being true or false?  Are these sentences ever really true?  Are any of these kinds of sentences true for everyone at all times?  If you answer yes to all of these questions then you are a moral realist.  We can actually give this as a definition.
 
Moral realism is the position that:
(a) Ethical sentences are genuine assertions capable of being true or false,
(b) Many ethical sentences are true, and
(c) The truth of ethical sentences are in some sense independent of people.
 
For the moral realist, explanatory life is easy in certain ways.  Namely, if ethical sentences have the above properties, then we are not largely deluded when we argue with one another about what ought to be the case.  A conversation about what ought to be the case could then, presumably, be explained just like any other kind of conversation concerning what is true.  If moral realism is false, though, it seems that we are somewhat deluded when we try to discover how we and others ought to live our lives.

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1.2. Three Arguments Against Moral Realism
The following three arguments provide evidence for the claim that moral realism is incorrect. After presenting the two arguments we will consider various ways which one could deny moral realism.
 
The argument from disagreement and undecidability.
(1) There is widespread disagreement among people about ethical issues.
(2) In the sciences there are clear procedures followed such that if two people disagree about a scientific claim, the disagreement can be rationally adjudicated.
(3) However, there does not seem to be any such procedures for ethical claims.
(4) A good explanation for this disagreement and apparent undecidability of ethical claims is that moral realism is false.
 
The argument from queerness.
(1) When sentences are true, they are true because of what they mean and the way the world is.
(2) Therefore, if an ethical claim such as “X is morally obligatory” were true, then something in world would have to make it true (given what the claim means).
(3) But, given the meaning of “obligatory,” “X is morally obligatory” entails that “X ought to be done in normal situations.”
(4) But then something in the world is making, “X ought to be done in normal situations” true.
(5) Our best theory of what exists in the world comes from the natural sciences.
(6) But nothing in the world described by the natural sciences makes sentences that tell us what we ought to do true.
(7)  Therefore, whatever in the world could make “X is morally obligatory” true would have to be very weird, a fact totally at odds with what we study in the sciences.
(8) This is evidence for the claim that such facts don’t actually exist.
 
2.3 The argument from ideology (from Nietzsche and Marx)
(1) If one studies history then one sees that very often ethical beliefs are used to regulate the behavior of others in a way inimical to their own interests.
(2) For example, exploited workers are taught that it is immoral to rebel against their oppressors.
(3) Positing that all ethical beliefs function this way (as a way to regulate the behavior of the weak) is a good explanation of why people hold the moral beliefs they do.
(4) But if all ethical beliefs' sole function is to operate ideologically in this manner, there is no reason to think that moral realism is true.
 
Each of these arguments provide evidence for the claim that moral realism is false, but none of them tell us which of the three planks in the definition of moral realism above should be given up.  Thus, at this point we merely know that the moral realist needs to say something in reaction to these three arguments.  As we study various ethical positions (consequentialism, deontological theories, and virtue theory) we will need to keep in mind how and to what extent each position answers these arguments.

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1.3. Traditional Varieties of Anti-Realism About Ethics
In the following three sections we will consider three ways to be a moral anti-realist.

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1.3.1. Non-Cognitivism
Non-cognitivism is the position that:
(a) Ethical sentences are not genuine assertions capable of being true or false.
(b) No ethical sentences are true (since they are neither true nor false).
(c) The truth of ethical sentences are independent of people (again, because they are neither true or false).
 
Traditional non-cognitivist theories of ethics are often derisively called, “Boo/Hurrah” theories, because traditional noncognitivist like A.J. Ayer believed that ethical sentences really functioned to express emotions in such a way that the content of a sentence such as “The death penalty is morally right” was really “Hurrah for the death penalty.”
One problem non-cognitivists have is explaining moral argumentation.  If the content of ethical sentences is really just equivalent to exclamations such as Boo and Hurrah, then how in the world can ethical sentences function in arguments?  Consider the following argument.
(1) The death penalty is either morally right or it is not the case that the death penalty is morally right.
(2) If it is not the case that the death penalty is morally right, then it should not be legal.
(3) Therefore, either the death penalty is morally right, or the death penalty should not be legal.

 

 
Just about anyone recognizes that this argument is valid in the sense that if premises (1) and (2) are true, then the conclusion (3) has to be true.  The validity seems to be forced upon us as a matter of logic. However, non-cognitivism states that none of the above sentences are truth-apt.  But then it seems that we cannot make sense of the validity or invalidity of ethical arguments.  Again, this is because the notion of logical validity is that in a logically valid argument it cannot be the case that the premises are true and the conclusion false (strictly speaking, the way this is stated would end up having all arguments with ethical sentences in them come out as logically valid, but this is also clearly unacceptable).
 
Sophisticated non-cognitivists like Alan Gibbard (see his Wise Choices, Apt Feelings) address this issue.

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1.3.2 Error Theory
Error Theory (or moral irrealism) is the position that:
(a) Ethical sentences are genuine assertions capable of being true or false.
(b) No ethical sentences are true (thus, they are all false).
(c) The truth of ethical sentences are independent of people (again, this is because they are all false).
 
The advantage of error theory is that it seems to be able to make sense of moral argumentation better than non-cognitivism can.  An argument is logically valid if and only if it is not logically possible for the premisses to be true and the conclusion false.  The error theorist can say that it is logically possible for ethical sentences to be true, but that they just never are because no moral facts exist.   Consider the following argument.
(1) The present king of France is bald.
(2) If someone is bald then they have no hair.
(3) Therefore, the present king of France has no hair.

 

 
This is a logically valid argument even though the fact that there is no present king of France makes premise 1. false.  The falsity of the premise renders the argument not sound, but it is still valid in the sense that were all of the premises true, logic alone would force the conclusion to be true.  The error theorist has to say that no moral arguments are sound.  However, she can make sense of the validity of moral arguments in this sense.
 
One might wonder how the error theorist can say that the sentence “Abortion is wrong” is false while the sentence “Abortion is not wrong” is also false.  For the error theorist the two sentences say, respectively, “there exists a moral property wrongness, and wrongness holds of abortion,” and “there exists a moral property wrongness, and wrongness does not hold of abortion.”  Since the error theorist thinks that moral properties do not exist, the error theorist can consistently hold that both sentences are false.
 
A really readable recent defense of error theory is Richard Garner's Beyond Morality.

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1.3.3 Relativism
Moral relativism is the position that:
(a)Ethical sentences are genuine assertions capable of being true or false.
(b) Many ethical sentences are true.
(c) The truth of ethical sentences are not independent of people in the following way.  If a person believes that an ethical sentence is true, then it is true for that person.
 
Note- this form of relativism can be called “individual moral relativism.”  Many people also believe in cultural moral relativism, that holds that if enough people in a culture believe that an ethical sentence is true, then it is true for the members of that culture.  We will discuss this position below.
 
I don't think that moral relativism of this sort is coherent.  Consider the following argument.
 
(1) It is constitutive of the notion of truth that if a sentence is true, then people who believe that the sentence is false are making a mistake.
(2) It is also a fact of logic that if a claim is capable of being true, then it is either true or false.
(3) So consider the sentence, “Abortion is wrong.”  Moral relativism holds that this sentence is truth apt (by the first part of the position), so by 2. it is either true or false.
(4) Say Ralph believes that abortion is wrong and Bill believes that abortion is not wrong.
(5) From the above it follows that either Ralph or Bill is mistaken.
(6) But from moral relativism and 4. we have that “Abortion is wrong” is true for Ralph, and “Abortion is not wrong” is true for Bill.
(7) But then it doesn't follow that either Bill or Ralph is mistaken. In fact, if 6. is true, then we cannot make sense of either of them being mistaken.
(8) But 5. and 7. contradict one another.
(9) Therefore moral relativism is false.
 
The point of the above is that the whole notion of  “true for” somebody is incoherent. It is constitutive of the notion of truth that people can be mistaken.  If you hold that nobody can be mistaken about their ethical beliefs, then you can't make sense of those beliefs being true.  Rather than trying to discern a notion of truth, such that 1 or 2 doesn't hold, I think the person drawn to forms of relativism that can’t make sense of a mistake should embrace either non-cognitivism or error theory.
 
If you disagree about it being constitutive of the notion of truth that people can be mistaken, there are still other problems with moral relativism.  Consider the kind of relativism that many people believe, cultural moral relativism:
(a) Ethical sentences are genuine assertions capable of being true or false.
(b) Many ethical sentences are true.
(c) The truth of ethical sentences are not independent of people in the following way.  If the moral code of a society or culture decides that a given ethical sentence is true, then it is true for members of that culture.
 
This view has three serious problems.  The first concerns the problem of moral criticism of other societies.
 
(1) If cultural moral relativism is true, then if the moral code of a society or culture decides that a given ethical sentence is true, then it is true for members of that culture.
(2) The moral code of Nazi Germany decided that the ethical sentence “Killing Jews, Gypsies, communists, homosexuals, handicapped people, and people who oppose Hitler is morally permissible” is true.
(3) So by cultural moral relativism then “Killing Jews, Gypsies, communists, homosexuals, handicapped people, and people who oppose Hitler is morally permissible” was true for citizens of Nazi Germany.
(4) But the sentence “Killing Jews, Gypsies, communists, homosexuals, handicapped people, and people who oppose Hitler is morally permissible” is false.
(5) Therefore, cultural moral relativism is false.
(6) Of course the vast majority of people don't think that the sentence “Killing Jews, Gypsies, communists, homosexuals, handicapped people, and people who oppose Hitler is morally permissible” is true for anybody.  The falsity of this sentence is what makes most people think that World War II was a just war.
 
If one thinks that all that matters is that the sentence is false for us, then one still must confront problems about using the notion of “true for us.”  Presumably we want to be able to criticize the moral code of our own society, but cultural relativism seems to make this impossible.  Consider the following argument.
 
(1) If cultural moral relativism is true, then if the moral code of a society or culture decides that a given ethical sentence is true, then it is true for members of that culture.
(2) Thus, if we want to find out whether or not ``Cloning is morally wrong'' is true, we just need to take a poll of people in our culture to find out whether the majority of people agree or disagree with the sentence.
(3) But when I wonder whether or not cloning is morally wrong, I am not wondering about whether or not most Americans agree with cloning.
(4) So moral relativism is false.
 
Presumably when I wonder whether or not cloning is morally wrong, I accept the fact that most Americans might have a mistaken view about whether or not cloning is right, but this is just what cultural relativism precludes.
 
Third, and finally, the idea of moral progress is incoherent for the relativist.
 
(1) If cultural moral relativism is true, then if the moral code of a society or culture decides that a given ethical sentence is true, then it is true for members of that culture.
(2) Thus, if we wanted to find out whether or not “It is wrong for women to vote” was true in 1895, we just needed to take a poll of people in our culture to find out whether the majority of people agreed or disagreed with the sentence.
(3) But in 1895 most people would have agreed that the sentence was true, that it was wrong for women to vote.  So by cultural moral relativism the sentence “It is wrong for women to vote” was true in 1895.  But then the minority who thought women should have the right to vote were mistaken.
(4) But since most people today think that the sentence “It is wrong for women to vote” is false, we hold that the minority who thought women should have the right to vote were not mistaken, and by cultural moral relativism we are correct about this.
(5) Since lines 3. and 4. together entail a contradiction, moral relativism is false.
 
All of these arguments show that relativism sort of robs you of the ground to stand on when criticizing a given practice as immoral.  These four arguments should make us very hesitant to accept moral relativism.
 
However, we also need to look at any additional arguments that move people to embrace relativism in the first place.  I think that most relativists have something like the following argument in mind.
 
(1)  Everybody ought to be tolerant of others' beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures.
(2) Thus, we ought to be moral relativists, as moral relativism is the most tolerant ethical view there is.
(3) While this reasoning does seem to move a lot of people, it is not very good.  Consider the following counterargument.
(4) If moral relativism is true, then for anyone who believes that we ought not be tolerant it is true for that person that we ought not be tolerant.
(5) But premiss 1 of the above argument states that everybody ought to be tolerant.
(6) But then we have that for a person x who believes everybody ought not be tolerant, that it is both true for x that everybody ought not be tolerant, and true that everybody ought to be tolerant.  This doesn't make any sense.
(7) Therefore, if moral relativism is true, premiss 1 of the above argument is false.
 
If you believe that toleration is an extremely important virtue, then it does not follow that you should be a moral relativist.  Moreover, if you believe that toleration is an extremely important virtue, you should be intolerant of those who are intolerant.  This is not incoherent, if “toleration” is defined such that the tolerant need only tolerate tolerant behavior.
 
Thus, one can be a moral realist, and still feel that much of the moral judgments people have are wrong, because these judgments are too intolerant.
 
Another motivation for moral relativism is the putative moral disagreement mentioned in the argument from disagreement and undecidability.  We need to think more carefully about how much moral disagreement there really is in the world.  Maybe there is less than the argument from disagreement postulates.  (C.S. Lewis was one of the first to argue for this in his excellent book The Abolition of Man.  Check it out.)

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1.4. The Deflationist’s Challenge to the Whole Debate
Traditionally, deflationism was supposed to undermine debates about the nature of truth, such as the debates of the previous sessions. To see how this is supposed to work, it will help to also get a concept of what traditional truth theories tried to accomplish.  Cartoon versions of a couple of traditional theories of truth are.
 
Correspondence Theories-  A proposition is true if and only if it corresponds to the facts.
 
On this conception the philosopher needs to specify what this “correspondence” relation comes to.
For example Plato’s theory of the forms counts as such a specification.  For Plato a proposition is true if the entity named by the subject instantiates the universal named by the predicate.
 
Coherence Theories-  A proposition is true if and only if it coheres with (i.e. agrees or is not inconsistent with) the rest of the propositions which we hold true.
 
On this conception the philosopher needs to specify what this “coherence” relation comes to.   This is a difficult task, as it seems that whole groups of people can believe consistent, yet false beliefs.  For example, people used to believe that the sun orbited around the earth.  This agreed with everything else they believed, yet we now know the belief to be false.
 
Pragmatist Theories-  A proposition is true if and only if it is useful for us to believe it.
 
On this conception the philosopher needs to specify what this “usefulness” relation comes to.  This is a difficult task, as it seems as that there are useful beliefs that are false (e.g. during the Inquisition it was useful for lots of people to believe in witches, as not believing in witches could get you killed by the Inquisition), and true beliefs that are not useful (for most people, knowledge of quantum physics is not very useful).   The American philosopher Charles Pierce tried to spell out usefulness in terms of scientific method.  Thus, he said that a proposition is true if, at a certain point in the ideal evolution of science, it comes to be accepted and is never subsequently rejected.
Traditional deflationists such as A.J. Ayer (circa Language, Truth and Logic), wanted to argue that all such approaches were wrong.  In Chapter 5 of Ayer’s book, he defends a version of what is now called a “redundancy” account of truth.
 
Redundancy Thesis-  To say P is true, is merely to say that P.
 
But then one must ask, what does “is true” contribute to a language? For if the redundancy thesis is correct, any time we want to say something is true, we merely need to say that sentence. The deflationist answers this by noting that “is true” allows us to quote pro-sententially. For example, if I want to assert my agreeement with everything Aristotle wrote, I could read all of his books to someone. Or I could just say, “Everything Aristotle says is true.”
 
So on this view, the truth predicate doesn’t really contribute anything to language, other than making prosentential assertions easier.  
So a deflationist like Ayer would take the Redundancy Thesis to make unsupportable the above three projects. Since to assert that P is true is nothing more than asserting that P we don’t need a philosophically sophisticated “theory of truth.”
 
This is an extraordinarily wierd claim, for note that the deflationist would still need to ask under what conditions we are justified in asserting P.  What do we mean by “the conditions under which we are justified in asserting P?”  By our normal notion of being justified in asserting something we would take it to be the case that the following sentence is true.
 
For some sentence P, it is possible that P is true even though no one will ever be able to be justified in asserting P.
 
For example, we may never be able to tell how old the universe is.  We may never be justified in the saying “the universe is 15 billion years old,” since we may never be able to know this is true.  For all this, “the universe is 15 billion years old” may be true.  Likewise, by our normal notion of being justified in asserting something, we also take the following to be true.
 
For some sentence P, it is possible that we are justified in asserting P, even though  P is false.
 
Consider past scientific theories that were entirely justified at the time people believed in them.  Some of these theories, such as Newtonian physics, are now known to be false.   Thus, the idea of replacing the notion of truth with that of being justified, or warranted, in asserting something seems not better off than the coherence and pragmatic theories of truth.
 
This is not the end of the story though.  Assume that one (for the purpose of philosophical theorizing) one can replace the notion of truth with that of warranted assertibility (“P is warrantedly assertible” is another way to say that one would be justified if one asserted P).  Even if one thinks that one needs to theorize about when we are justified in asserting things, as opposed to theorizing about truth, one still can reformulate the earlier truth theories as theories about the nature of evidential warrant.  Consider these:
 
Correspondence Theories-  A proposition is warrantedly assertible if and only if it corresponds to the facts.
 
Coherence Theories-  A proposition is warrantedly assertible if and only if it coheres with the rest of the propositions which we hold true.
 
Pragmatist Theories-  A proposition is warrantedly assertible if and only if it is useful for us to believe it.
 
Philosophical problems associated with truth don’t disappear just because you stop talking about truth. Any debate between the classical truth theorists can simply be reformulated in terms of warranted assertibility. Clearly the same holds for realism debates.
As we shall see, Wright’s new argument against deflationism is related to these concerns.

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2. Wright’s Response
The astute reader of Truth and Objectivity will by now realize that Wright’s new take does have antecedent's. In fact both Dummett and Wright’s anti-realisms can be thought of as attempts (following Kant) to come up with more sophisticated relativistic positions. For example
Dummettian anti-realism-
(a) Sentences in discourse D are genuine assertions capable of being true or false.
(b) Many sentences in discourse D are true.
(c) The truth of sentences in discourse D not independent of people in the following way.  There are no absolutely undecidable sentences; that is, every sentence that is true or false is such that someone could realize that it is true or false.
 
[Interestingly, this kind of verificationist position is one of the central planks of “Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.” See Strawson’s book.]
Wright himself argues that this while this is an important form of anti-realism, especially in the philosophy of math, it does not do justice to ways in which we might want to be intuitive anti-realists about other discourses such as comedy. Moreover, so stated, it leaves many questions unanswered. Why are there no undecidable sentences? Is it because (anti-skeptically) our human capacities are so great that we can track the true well? Or is it because (idealistically) the universe is sort of ready made for human knowledge? Are we putting people on a pedestal, or taking the universe down a notch? Or is it just because we live in a society that demands cognitive obeisance after a certain point (this is what we will call Euthyphronic convergence below), or is it because our minds are just organized in a certain uniform way (Kant’s felt like this was the case and that it was the case by necessity, but neo-Kantians and some of Kant’s critics thought that the mind’s organization could not ground necessity properly, thus reducing what we might call idealistic Dummettian anti-realism to vulgar relativism)? So at the very least there will be many distinct forms of Dummettian anti-realism, and we need a framework from which to adjudicate them.
 
After Wright’s discussion of deflationism and two of Wiggins’marks of truth (convergence and best explanation) we will be left with three new wrinkles.
Wrightean realism-
(a) Sentences in discourse D are genuine assertions capable of being true or false.
(b) Many sentences in discourse D are true.
(c) The truth of sentences in discourse D are not independent of people in one of the following three ways: (ci) the Euthyphronic test shows superassertibility and truth (as applied to the discourse) to have expanatory, intensional, and extensional divergence, (cii) cognitive command holds for the discourse, and (ciii) wide cosmological role holds for entities postulated by the discourse.
 
Now of course there are going to be many varieties of anti-realism according to how (ci)-(ciii) fail. However, since Wright thinks that non-cognitivism and error theory are bad (for largely the reasons given above), he does not want to countenance anti-realisms where (a) and (b) fail.
 
So Wright’s master argument has quite a few steps.  Here I present it with and the chapters in which it is presented.
 
(1) Forget about non-cognitivism and error theory (affirm (a) and (b) of the realism), because non-cognitivism can’t make sense of rational argumentation involving sentences of a non-cognitivistically construed discourse, and error theory involves bad faith. (Chapter I, sections I and II)
(2)Don’t think being a global deflationist about truth frees you up from having to think philosophically about plank (c) of the traditional statement of realism.
(3) For that matter deflationism is false, as it entails that sentences are true if and only if they are warrantedly assertible, and I can show by logic that ~TP --> T~P. But clearly we don’t have ~WAP --> WA~P. So T and WA are not equivalent. (Chapter I, section III)
(4) If we adopt my (Wright’s) approach we can perhaps get at what deflationists and non-cognitivists were after by attributing to them the belief in minimalism, which merely affirms a set of platitudes about truth (given on page 34) (Chapter I, section IV; Chapter II section I)
(5) Epistemically contrained notions of truth such as Dummett’s anti-realism and Putnam’s internal realism should be: (1) committed to intuitionist logic, and (2) use superassertibility as a truth predicate. Superassertibility is also a good truth predicate for the minimalist. (Chapter II, sections II, III, IV, V, VI)
(6) Realisms are best thought of as what one gets when one beefs up minimalism. This can be done in two ways, (a) teasing apart truth from superassertibility (these views will be similar to Dummett’s versions of realism), and (b) bulking up the correspondence platitude, that is interpreting it in a way where it tells us something informative about how correspondence works. On this latter point, if we reflect on Wiggins’ convergence we will see that the status of a bulked up correspondence thesis is what properly distinguishes objective convergence from non-objective convergence (Chapter III)
(7) (6a) can be done by affirming that there are truths that are not superassertible (extensional non-equivalence), or by arguing the two have an intensional or possibly explanatory divergence. We can understand this if we reflecting on a Euthyphronic dilemma for the equation of truth and superassertibility (Appendix to Chapter III)
(8) (6b) can be done by affirming Cognitive Command (Chapter IV) as a claim about believers who represent the world, and also by affirming wide cosmological role (Chapter V) as a claim about the world so represented. Just as cognitive command does the work convergence was to do for Wiggins, wide cosmological role does the work best explanation was to do.
 
This is Wright’s program.

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2.1. Against Deflationism
Wright’s argument against deflationism is actually very simple. He notes that the deflationist’s argument to the conclusion that “is true” is not a substantial property crucially relies on the premise that “P is true” has the same normative force as “P is warrantedly assertible.” Remember, that for the deflationist, when I say “Everything Aristotle says is true” I am saying nothing more than that I would be warranted in asserting any of Aristotle’s assertions. Thus, for the deflationist asserting that something “is true” functions merely to assert that one is warranted in asserting that claim.
 
Wright agrees with the deflationist that “is true” and “is warrantedly assertible” thus coincide in normative force. But if the deflationist is correct that this normative force exhausts the meaning of “is true” then it would further follow that “is true” and “is warrantedly assertible” were extensionally equivalent as well, but they are not.
 
Consider the following proof.
1. ~TP
2. | P---------assumption for ~ introduction
3. | TP--------2, Disquotational Schema
4. | #----------1,3 absurdity introduction
5. ~P----------2-4 negation introduction
6. T~P---------5 Disquotational Schema
 

 

Thus, we have as a matter of logic, that if it is not true that P, then it is true that it is not the case that P (~TP --> T~P). Now if “is true” and “is warrantedly assertible” were the same thing, one could replace every occurrence of “is true” with an occurrence of “is warrandetly assertible” in this schema.  But such a replacement yields falsehood. It is not true to say that if there is no warrant for a claim, then there is a warrant for that claim’s negation. Some claims are such that they nor their negations are warranted. Thus, deflationism is false. “Is true” must do more than just be a way to assert.

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2.2. A Minimalist Theory of Truth
Minimalism essentially consists of the following two claims, the first which follows from Wright’s reflections and the second which follows from “the minimal platitudes.”
MINIMALIST PLATITUDES
to assert is to present as true
any truth-apt content has a significant negation which is likewise truth-apt
that to be true is to correspond to the facts
a statement may be justified without being true, and vice versa. (p. 34 in text)

 

 
He notes in the text that there are probably more platitudes “linking the truth values of differently tensed statements envisaged at appropriately different times, and maybe others.”
 
He also notes that if we make some uncontentious suppositions (given in the footnote on page 34) that the minimalist platitudes entail the Disquotational Schema (“P” is true if and only if P), the platitude about correspondence (CP: “P” is true if and only if things are as they say they are (p. 25), and the contrast between truth and warranted assertion (proof given above).

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2.3. Three Ways to Enrich Minimalism
As noted, Wright argues that Superassertibility is a good truth predicate for the minimalist. If superassertibility can work as a truth predicate, “it is open to us to think of the truth of its statements as consisting merely in their durably meeting its standards of warranted assertion.” (p 142)

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2.3.1 Superassertibility and the Euthyphronic Dimension
The first aspect is essentially Dummett's version of the anti-realism/realism debate- the worry about whether truth is recognition transcendent (i.e. if there could be true claims that are not superassertible). “But, if truth and supperassertibility can be prised apart. . . then the thought is at least strongly suggested that what confers truth on a statement is not a matter of its meeting standards internal to the language game, as it were, but its fit with external reality.” (ibid.)
 
Wright brilliantly realizes that there will really be three grades of Dummettian realism corresponding to three different ways of making Socrates’ point against Euthyphro (the below is stated clearly on p. 143; issues Euthyphronic are discussed in a very deep albeit less clear manner in the appendix to Ch. 3 pp. 108-139)
 
(1) divergence in explanatory ground
 
A sentence’s truth explains why it is superassertible (even necessarily so), and not the other way around.
 
(2) divergence in intension
 
Even though all actual truths are superassertible (and vice versa), some we can imagine a possible world where some truths are not superassertible.
 
(3) divergence in extension
 
There are actual truths that are not superassertible. This third one would be full fledged Dummettian realism.
 
To fully understand Wright’s take on this we have to understand the appendix to Chapter 3.

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2.3.2 Enriching the Correspondence Platitude
The minimalist intends CP to express nothing more than can be gotten from the minimal platitudes. To enrich our interpretation of it,
 
there are only two places to look for such additional content: we can look at what else, besides the links with the minimal constraints, conditions the interpretation of the idea of “correspondence” [cognitive command, introduced in chapter 3 to replace “convergence,” fully discussed in chapter 4]; and at what, in a particular case is the proper way of thinking about “the facts” [wide cosmological role, introduced in chapter 5 to replace “best explanation”] (143)
 
So we have a set of questions to fully understand Wright here. For cognitive command, why is cognitive command a natural test for conditioning the idea of correspondence? This involves understanding Chapter 3, where Wright argues that cognitive command is the real issue moving debates about convergence. For, wide cosmological role, we need to also see why it does a better job than “best explanation.” For this we look to chapter 5.

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2.3.2.1 Cognitive Command
Wiggins holds that a mark of realism for a discourse is that opinion about the truth or falsity of claims in that discourse tends to converge in agreement. This leaves many questions open though. Such convergence might just happen because powerful members of the speech community force others to agree with them. But such convergence says nothing about how objective or subjective the subject matter is. For this to work, convergence must be holding for the right reasons, namely because people are adequately representing the way things are. Thus, convergence must be connected with representation in the following way,
 
Convervence/Representation Platitude: If two devices each function to produce representations, then if conditions are suitable, and the function properly, they will produce divergent output if and only if presented with divergent input. (91)
 
Then Wright goes on to argue that this platitude will hold for a discourse and set of speakers because of the following.
 
Cognitive Command: A discourse exhibits Cognitive Command if, and only if, it is a priori that differences in opinion arising within it can be satisfactorily explained only in terms of “divergent input”, that is, the disputants’ working on the basis of different information (and hence guilty of ignorance or error, depending on the status of that information), or “unsuitable conditions” (resulting in attention or distraction and so in inferential error, or oversight of data and so on), or upward or downwards, or dogma, or failings in other categories already listed). (93)
 
Another way to think about this is to distinguish between Eythyphronic and Socratic convergence. Euthyphronic convergence is convergence due to political factors and Socratic convergence is convergence due to tracking the true. Then Wright's argument is something like this.
 
(1) Euthyphronic convergence is compatible with minimalism, or even non-cognitivism or error theory, so it does not work as a marker of realism.
(2) Socratic convergence is consistent with minimalism, unless we read it in a robust manner.
(3) But reading the correspondence platitude in a robust manner was what was at issue in the first place.
 
Buth then, Wright can be seen as having a suggestion for getting out of this impasse. The way to read both the correspondence platitude and Socratic convergence in as informative is to think about how they could go wrong. With Euthyphronic convergence one can go wrong (have false beliefs) just by disagreeing with the "experts" in one's society. With Socratic convergence (as intended) one goes wrong because one is tracking reality in the wrong way. So if we can make robust sense of this tracking of reality, we'll be home free. This is what the Convergence/Representation platitude gives us.
 
But again, one wonders how to state representation in a robust manner. Here Wright's insight into what goes wrong has a lot of traction. If truth and knowledge is secured by representation, then there are two possible ways to get something wrong. Something can be wrong with the thing doing the representing, or something can be wrong with the thing being represented. This is what Wright is trying to get across with Cognitive Command.

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2.3.2.2 Wide Cosmological Role
Wright states
 
Let the width of cosmological role of the subject matter of a discourse be measured by the extent to which citing the kinds of states of affairs with which it deals is potentially contributative to the explanation of things other than, or other than via, our being in attitudinal states which take such states of such affairs as object. (p. 196)
 
Then the substantive conclusion of Chapter 5 is
not whether a class of states of affairs feature in the best explanation of our beliefs about them, but of what else there is, other than our beliefs, of which the citation of such states of affairs can feature in good enough explanations. (197)

 

 
So there are two questions to answer: (1) what is the problem with the best explanation test, and (2) why does wide cosmological role do better.
 
Wright's biggest complaint about best explanation is that there is no reason to hold that the best explanation of why we hold physics true will advert to the states of affair to which the physical theories. If one thinks this is wrong because best explanation always refers to ultimate causes, then one goes to far, because the ultimate causes of a belief are often not the subject matter of that belief. For example the ultimate causes of beliefs about protons would probably be even more fundamental particles than protons themselves. So Wright concludes,
In short: if its best explanation need concern only the immediate causes of the scientist's belief, why should the proton come into it? But if explanations are best only when ultimate, isn't it to be envisaged that the best explanation will, as it were, go past the proton? Either ay, why so sure that mention of it must occur in the best explanation of the scientist's belief? (191)

 

 
Wright's insight into what was motivating best explanation is deep. When someone like Harman claims that moral facts fail best explanation, Wright thinks what is really bothering them is that moral facts don't explain anything other than moral beliefs, and that it is just such (alleged) failure that shows that moral discourse should not be realistically construed. He contrasts a moral fact with the fact that some rocks are wet. The facts that some rocks are wet explains a lot more than just my belief that the rocks are wet (p. 197). In this manner, the fact has a life of it's own as it were. It is independent of us. Here again we see how Wright has modified and clarified the original anti-relativist realist claim that the truth or falsity of a proposition is independent of us. With Wide Cosmological Role the state of affairs making the claim true or false exists independent of us in the sense that it explains much more than just why we believe the claim. Another really incisive insight.

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