Truth by Ascent



This paper offers a lighthearted presentation of some of the chief ideas about truth that are shared by theories similar to those of Kripke, Herzberger, and Gupta. The problem is to explain the concept of truth for a language that contains its own truth predicate. The proposal of these theories is that one can unwind the tangles that threaten by invoking a transfinite series of stages of semantic reflection as one ascends the ordinals. The presentation emphasizes how each stage begins, to the extent that it can, with the fruits of semantic reflection at earlier stages. Special attention is given to clarifying how these theories about truth treat the three chief kinds of ordinal numbers: the initial ordinal, successor ordinals, and limit ordinals.