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 Exemplar

Included in

Philosophy Commons



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