Deflationism without Truth

Min OuYang
Department of Philosophy, National Chung Cheng University

Sismondo proposes that deflationary pluralism about truth offers the possibility fora more comprehensive philosophy of science. I disagree. I hold that we either need to abandon deflationary approaches of philosophy of science or need to have deflationism without the conception of truth. I shall elaborate these two possibilities in this small article.

In the articles “For realism, and anti-realism” (2007) and “Deflationary Metaphysics” (2014), Sismondo criticizes deflationary realisms as unstable. In doing so, he intends to show the value of some very down-to-earth metaphysical interpretations rejected by deflationary philosophy of science. Still, he expresses that he expects more of deflationism by saying that “while their starting points are good ones, deflationary approaches should help us to understand the sciences in simultaneously realist, instrumentalist, and constructivist terms.” In an earlier paper, he also makes a similar claim that deflationism can and should be pushed further (2001: S38). He thinks that what is called for is deflationary metaphysics (ibid.: S48), although this expression sounds paradoxically like “inflationary deflationism.” However, he seems to believe that deflationary approaches could be on the right track for understanding scientific representations, but still insists “deflationism should lead us away from any overarching realist (or anti-realist) stance and toward a down-to-earth pluralism about truth (Sismondo, 2007: 1)”. What he anticipates seems to be reconciliation between realism and anti-realism under the umbrella of the deflationary philosophy of science. Nonetheless, I believe that deflationism cannot be a right approach to take since it commits to minimal realism and is not as metaphysics-free as Fine asserts (Fine, 1986: 159; 1996: 9-10)....