Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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Deflationism, one of the influential philosophical doctrines of truth, holds that there is no property of truth, and that overt uses of the predicate “true” are redundant. However, the hypothetical examples used by theorists to exemplify deflationism are isolated sentences, offering little to examine what the predicate adds to meaning within context. We oppose the theory not on philosophical but on empirical grounds. We collect 7,610 occurrences of “it is true that” from 10 influential periodicals published in the United States. We classify and annotate these with respect to the positions of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions that they contain. This way we investigate the contextual relationships between the proposition following “it is true that” with its surroundings. Overall, 34 different syntactical patterns are encountered. In some occurrences of “true”, the predicate acts in the same manner as a performative verb does. These occurrences, having been observed in linguistically reliable media, constitute pragmatic counter-examples to deflationism.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): context; corpora; deflationism; pragmatics; semantics; truth
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