The property of truth is typically understood to apply to assertions that state what is actually the case. In Aristotle's classic definition, 'to say of what is, that it is and of what is not, that it is not, is true' (1928: IV.7). Among the standard candidates for being truth-bearers are propositions, sentences and thoughts. The truth-maker is that (if anything) in virtue of which the putative truth-bearer is true. While one common description of the relationship between the truth-bearer and truth-maker is correspondence, some query how something like the sentence 'the sun is setting' can correspond to something as different as the event of the sun's setting. One response is to introduce a new metaphysical entity, a 'fact', as the truth-maker, but one can then ask what facts are and how they relate to the world. Some also object that the correspondence theory reifies truth into an opaque relation (we cannot confirm correspondence) that terminates in scepticism (we cannot know that any of our beliefs is true). The coherence theory of truth focuses on human thought by viewing truth as the property of coherence of one's beliefs. But while coherence is a partial guide to identify truth (for example, an incoherent belief cannot be true), it does not seem that truth can be reduced to coherence. For one thing, insofar as there can be two fully coherent belief systems - one in which p is true and the other in which not-p is true - relativism about truth follows. Pragmatism about truth looks to human action and sees truth as whatever produces results, but this appears to confuse the implications of truth with the actual property of truth. Some Christian theologians argue that truth-bearers must transcend propositions since Jesus claims to be 'the truth' (John 14: 6). It is not clear, however, whether the admittedly broader use of the word 'truth' in the Bible (emeth, aletheia) is pre-theoretical, or whether it actually has metaphysical implications.
   Further reading: Alston 1996; Aristotle 1928; Horwich 1998; Kirkham 1992; Marshall 2000; Wright 1987

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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