By Robin Barrow, Patricia White
Philosophers and educationalists of foreign reputation have a good time the pro occupation of Paul Hirst, masking topics starting from the character of fine educating to Wittgensteinian aesthetics.
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Additional info for Beyond Liberal Education: Essays in Honour of Paul H. Hirst
But rival accounts of what? What is a conception of truth trying to achieve? The aim is not that of defining ‘true’, if by that is meant providing a gloss or paraphrase. People sometimes think that a correspondence account can be the only acceptable one, since ‘“P” is true’ is paraphrasable by ‘“P” corresponds to the facts’, but not by ‘“P” works’ or ‘“P” coheres well with other sentences held true’. A correspondence theory of truth, however, does not consist in a banal paraphrase. 3 It is perfectly possible to accept (as one surely 32 TRUTH AND LIBERAL EDUCATION must) the paraphrase of ‘true’ by ‘corresponds to the facts’ whilst rejecting any such analysis of it.
But since a belief must be true to count as knowledge, one would expect that a given conception of truth would shape a person’s view of what counts as knowledge, and so of what should be taught. Someone whose conception includes the possibility of moral truth, for example, will deny that there can be moral knowledge, and perhaps that there should be such a thing as moral education. A second consideration arises from the educational concern to foster ‘autonomy’ and ‘authenticity’. These involve a capacity for self-conscious, critical reflection on the body of one’s beliefs.
Not by providing evidence that the world, independently of how it is encountered and experienced, matches the assertion. That would be the answer of correspondence theorists: one which, by allowing for the logical possibility that assertions never truly fit reality, would make truth useless as a determinant of meaning. The alternative answer must, it seems, be this. I am warranted in asserting ‘P’ under such-and-such ascertainable conditions in virtue of an agreement among speakers of my language on the application of terms—an agreement which entails that, under these conditions, ‘P’ constitutes a proper application.