This thesis attempts to answer the question; what is the value of a realist notion of truth in democratic discourse? It is divided into 4 main chapters, along with an introduction and some short concluding remarks.

In my introduction I attempt to give some preliminary reasons I became interested in this question in the first place. I also clarify some terms that I will use for the rest of the paper.

The first chapter is devoted to delineating a realist notion of truth. I focus on defining features of the theory, consider other competing theories of truth, defend a realist notion from objections, and refine some of the features to leave us with a clear understanding of the framework the rest of the paper works within.

The second chapter explores the value of expressing and believing truly. I consider both the instrumental and non-instrumental value of truthfulness using a realist notion of truth. The third chapter delves into the role truthfulness plays within democratic discourse and action. I work to show that truthfulness is not only a functioning principle of democracy but is also necessary for successful democratic action.

The last chapter focuses on the univocity of the truth predicate. I attempt to demonstrate how ‘is true’ means the same thing for scientific claims as it does for political claims, which I hope works to clear up the confusion amidst political opinions parading as claims to truthfulness.

To close the paper, I attempt to succinctly bring these thoughts together and make salient their connection. Additionally, I recognize where this project ends and what is still left to discuss.


Thomson, Garrett





Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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