Talk: “The Semantic Switching Theory of Truth” by Michael Mi (9 Nov 2010)

Philosophy Seminar Series: 9 November 2010, 2-3:45pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: Michael Mi, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Soochow University in Taiwan; Moderator: Dr. Tang Weng Hong

Abstract: My starting assumption is that truth is a semantic concept. Semantics is a linguistic discipline that deals with certain relations between expressions of a language and the objects represented by those expressions. Based on this characterization, it is natural to think that truth is the main focal point at which our language and the world meet, because most of us would take our language to be about the world we live. By acquiring true expressions in our language, we seem to gain access to the world, or more precisely, to have access to the objects in the world. By virtue of true expressions, the world is said to be mirrored or represented by our language. So, if someone is attempting to construct a semantic theory for the concept of truth, she would feel obligatory to provide some metaphysical perspective with respect to what the world is like. When she further introduces entities like objects, facts, or states of affairs to define the concept of truth or to explain why expressions of a language are true, the debate between realism and antirealism can easily arise. (Full abstract available here.)

2pella-miAbout the Speaker: Michael Mi is Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Soochow University in Taiwan. He obtained his PhD (on Quine and Davidson on Meaning and Holism) with the University of Iowa in 1998.

More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here. A list of past talks in the series can be found here.