Pragmatic Theory Of Truth • 3

Re: Peirce List DiscussionVal Daniel

I propose that we complete the customary (incomplete/dyadic) theories of truth, viz., by consensus and by correspondence, by adding, Truth by “concordance” (what you, Jon, call “triple correspondence”).

Proposal accepted!  Actually, I feel like I’ve been working along these lines ever since I first met up with Peirce.  I’m currently fighting some emotional resistance — it makes me a little sad to look on those old wiki-scraps — the dreams we dreamed about what Wikipedia could be!  a true community of learning and inquiry!  but it was neither designed nor destined to become that.

At any rate, I would begin by poring over the relics I saved and trying to see what sense we could make of them.  By way of secondary literature, I remember Susan Haack’s Evidence and Inquiry and Cheryl Misak’s Truth and the End of Inquiry helping to frame the issues.  The papers Susan Awbrey and I wrote in the 90s and 00s attempted to tackle pieces of the puzzle, namely, how to integrate the object-facing and inter-sign aspects of semiosis, the first implied by correspondence theories and the second implied by consensus theories of truth.


  • Awbrey, S.M., and Awbrey, J.L. (2001), “Conceptual Barriers to Creating Integrative Universities”, Organization : The Interdisciplinary Journal of Organization, Theory, and Society 8(2), Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 269–284.  Abstract.
  • Awbrey, S.M., and Awbrey, J.L. (1999), “Organizations of Learning or Learning Organizations : The Challenge of Creating Integrative Universities for the Next Century”, Second International Conference of the Journal ‘Organization’, Re-Organizing Knowledge, Trans-Forming Institutions : Knowing, Knowledge, and the University in the 21st Century, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.  Online.
  • Haack, Susan (1993), Evidence and Inquiry : Towards Reconstruction in Epistemology, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK.
  • Misak, Cheryl J. (1991), Truth and the End of Inquiry : A Peircean Account of Truth, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.


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3 Responses to Pragmatic Theory Of Truth • 3

  1. tgollier says:


    How are things going?

    I dug around your references, but I can’t find where you called truth by “concordance” a “triple correspondence”.  I know what I would have in mind as a “triple correspondence” theory of truth, but what did you have in mind?


    • Jon Awbrey says:


      Doing pretty good, if a bit slow, but all in all that is not of necessity bad in itself.

      I use triple correspondence as nothing more than a synonym for triadic relation, in this case a triadic sign relation.  So all I’m saying is that any account of “the truth in signs” that assumes a pragmatic semiotic setting is an account that calls on a notion of triple correspondence.  I have a dim memory of Peirce using the phrase at least once that way, but I’ll have to run down whether it’s dimly true or dimly false.

      It was Val Daniel who proposed the equation between concordance and triple correspondence but on third thought I think that is probably apt.

      • tgollier says:


        Thanks for the quick response.  I think I’m coming around to something similar by way of Toulmin’s method.  That is, when it comes to the truth or falsity of the warrant or general principle used in making an argument, it would seem to turn on three questions:

        1. Is this the kind of things to which this warrant can be applied.
        2. What kind of backing — a consistent theory of which it is a part or some other argument for it — do we have for the warrant.
        3. Do these kinds of consequences follow from it in general.

        Seems like it’s close to saying the same thing?


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