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39.2.Thorp

Most of Aristotle's texts dealing with truth are unexceptionable: truth belongs only to sentences or beliefs, and it does so in virtue of a correspondence between those sentences or beliefs and the things in the world that they are about. Single words cannot be true, and the things in the world, whether single or compound, cannot be true either. There is however one text, Chapter 10 of Book Theta of the Metaphysics, that breaks with these familiar and comfortable views; it allows that single words or thoughts can be true, and also that things in the world, whether single or compound, can be true as well. This paper reviews a number of attempts to make sense of the truth of things – Brentano, Aquinas, Heidegger – and finds them all wanting. It then goes on to make a new proposal, exploring that part of the semantic terrain of alêthîes and its cognates that has to do with genuineness, with realness, and so, ultimately, with existence.

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