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Leave Truth Alone: On Deflationism and Contextualism



Abstract: According to deflationism, grasp of the concept of truth consists in nothing more than a disposition to accept a priori (non-paradoxical) instances of the schema:

(DS) It is true that p if and only if p.

According to contextualism, the same expression with the same meaning might, on different occasions of use, express different propositions bearing different truth-conditions (where this does not result from indexicality and the like). On this view, what is expressed in an utterance depends in a non-negligible way on the circumstances. Charles Travis claims that contextualism shows that ‘deflationism is a mistake’, that truth is a more substantive notion than deflationism allows. In this paper, I examine Travis's arguments in support of this ‘inflationary’ claim and argue that they are unsuccessful.