The Taming of the True poses a broad challenge to the realist views of meaning and truth that have been prominent in recent philosophy. Neil Tennant starts with a careful critical survey of the realism debate, guiding the reader through its complexities; he then presents a sustained defence of the anti-realist view that every truth is knowable in principle, and that grasp of meaning must be able to be made manifest. Sceptical arguments for the indeterminacy or non-factuality of meaning are countered; and the much-maligned notion of analyticity is reinvestigated and rehabilitated. Tennant goes on to show that an effective logical system can be based on his anti-realist view; the logical system that he advocates is justified as a body of analytic truths and inferential principles. Having laid the foundations for global semantic anti-realism, Tennant moves to the world of empirical understanding, and gives an account of the cognitive credentials of natural scientific discourse. He shows that the same canon of constructive and relevant inference suffices both for intuitionistic mathematics and for empirical science.
This is an ambitious and contentious book which aims to reform not only theory of meaning, but our deductive practices across a broad range of discourses.
Neil Tennant is Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Cognitive Science at Ohio State University. He previously held chairs at the University of Stirling, Scotland, and at the Australian National University. He has held visiting professorships or fellowships at Munich, Cambridge, Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Dartmouth College.