Super-Truth & Direct Reference

  • 1 Department of Philosophy, Washington University in Saint Louis, Campus Box 1073, 1 Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA
John Gabriel


Proponents of supervaluationism claim super-truth, i. e., truth on every admissible precisification, is identical to truth or, at least, is a suitable truth proxy. I object that super-truth is neither identical to nor a suitable proxy for truth. I argue that to claim a statement is super-true is simply to maintain that a certain counterfactual holds, and that a claim is true, counterfactually, is no reason to treat it as true. I further argue that, with super-truth undermined, Roy Sorensen’s objection that supervaluationism cannot accommodate vague directly referential terms presents supervaluationism’s defenders with a significant challenge.

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  • Fine, K. 1997. “Vagueness, Truth and Logic.” In Vagueness: A Reader, edited by R. Keefe and P. Smith. Cambridge, 119–50. MA: MIT Press.

  • Fodor, J., and E. Lepore. 1996. “What Cannot Be Evaluated Cannot Be Evaluated and It Cannot Be Supervalued Either.” Journal of Philosophy 93:516–35.

  • Lewis, D. 1973. Counterfactuals. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Lewis, D. 1986. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Lewis, D. 1988. “Vague Identity: Evan’s Misunderstood.” Analysis 48:128–30.

  • Sorensen, R. 2000. “Direct Reference and Vague Identity.” Philosophical Topics 28:177–94.

  • Weatherson, B. 2003. “Many Many Problems.” Philosophical Quarterly 53:481–501.

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Metaphysica provides an international forum of ontology and metaphysics for readers all over the world. The journal is published biannually.