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In philosophy, to say that a statement is truth-apt is to say that it could be uttered in some context (without its meaning being altered) and would then express a true or false proposition. [1]

Truth-apt sentences are capable of being true or false, unlike questions or commands. Whether paradoxical sentences, prescriptions (especially moral claims), or attitudes are truth-apt is debated.

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Cognitivism may refer to:

In philosophy and logic, the classical liar paradox or liar's paradox or antinomy of the liar is the statement of a liar that he or she is lying: for instance, declaring that "I am lying". If the liar is indeed lying, then the liar is telling the truth, which means the liar just lied. In "this sentence is a lie" the paradox is strengthened in order to make it amenable to more rigorous logical analysis. It is still generally called the "liar paradox" although abstraction is made precisely from the liar making the statement. Trying to assign to this statement, the strengthened liar, a classical binary truth value leads to a contradiction.

Meta-ethics Branch of ethics seeking to understand ethical properties

In metaphilosophy and ethics, meta-ethics is the study of the nature, scope, and meaning of moral judgment. It is one of the three branches of ethics generally studied by philosophers, the others being normative ethics and applied ethics.

Non-cognitivism is the meta-ethical view that ethical sentences do not express propositions and thus cannot be true or false. A noncognitivist denies the cognitivist claim that "moral judgments are capable of being objectively true, because they describe some feature of the world". If moral statements cannot be true, and if one cannot know something that is not true, noncognitivism implies that moral knowledge is impossible.

Truth A term meaning "in accord with fact or reality"

Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality. In everyday language, truth is typically ascribed to things that aim to represent reality or otherwise correspond to it, such as beliefs, propositions, and declarative sentences.

Moral realism is the position that ethical sentences express propositions that refer to objective features of the world, some of which may be true to the extent that they report those features accurately. This makes moral realism a non-nihilist form of ethical cognitivism with an ontological orientation, standing in opposition to all forms of moral anti-realism and moral skepticism, including ethical subjectivism, error theory ; and non-cognitivism. Within moral realism, the two main subdivisions are ethical naturalism and ethical non-naturalism.

Moral skepticism is a class of metaethical theories all members of which entail that no one has any moral knowledge. Many moral skeptics also make the stronger, modal claim that moral knowledge is impossible. Moral skepticism is particularly opposed to moral realism: the view that there are knowable and objective moral truths.

Emotivism is a meta-ethical view that claims that ethical sentences do not express propositions but emotional attitudes. Hence, it is colloquially known as the hurrah/boo theory. Influenced by the growth of analytic philosophy and logical positivism in the 20th century, the theory was stated vividly by A. J. Ayer in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic, but its development owes more to C. L. Stevenson.

Cognitivism is the meta-ethical view that ethical sentences express propositions and can therefore be true or false, which noncognitivists deny. Cognitivism is so broad a thesis that it encompasses moral realism, ethical subjectivism, and error theory.

Truthmaker theory is "the branch of metaphysics that explores the relationships between what is true and what exists."

Ethical subjectivism is the meta-ethical view which claims that:

  1. Ethical sentences express propositions.
  2. Some such propositions are true.
  3. The truth or falsity of such propositions is ineliminably dependent on the attitudes of people.

In metaphysics and philosophy of language, the correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes that world.

In philosophy and logic, a deflationary theory of truth is one of a family of theories that all have in common the claim that assertions of predicate truth of a statement do not attribute a property called "truth" to such a statement.

Universal prescriptivism is the meta-ethical view which claims that, rather than expressing propositions, ethical sentences function similarly to imperatives which are universalizable—whoever makes a moral judgment is committed to the same judgment in any situation where the same relevant facts obtain.

Moral nihilism

Moral nihilism is the meta-ethical view that nothing is morally right or wrong.

Norms are concepts (sentences) of practical import, oriented to effecting an action, rather than conceptual abstractions that describe, explain, and express. Normative sentences imply "ought-to" types of statements and assertions, in distinction to sentences that provide "is" types of statements and assertions. Common normative sentences include commands, permissions, and prohibitions; common normative abstract concepts include sincerity, justification, and honesty. A popular account of norms describes them as reasons to take action, to believe, and to feel.

In meta-ethics, expressivism is a theory about the meaning of moral language. According to expressivism, sentences that employ moral terms – for example, "It is wrong to torture an innocent human being" – are not descriptive or fact-stating; moral terms such as "wrong", "good", or "just" do not refer to real, in-the-world properties. The primary function of moral sentences, according to expressivism, is not to assert any matter of fact, but rather to express an evaluative attitude toward an object of evaluation. Because the function of moral language is non-descriptive, moral sentences do not have any truth conditions. Hence, expressivists either do not allow that moral sentences have truth value, or rely on a notion of truth that does not appeal to any descriptive truth conditions being met for moral sentences.

A truth-bearer is an entity that is said to be either true or false and nothing else. The thesis that some things are true while others are false has led to different theories about the nature of these entities. Since there is divergence of opinion on the matter, the term truth-bearer is used to be neutral among the various theories. Truth-bearer candidates include propositions, sentences, sentence-tokens, statements, beliefs, thoughts, intuitions, utterances, and judgements but different authors exclude one or more of these, deny their existence, argue that they are true only in a derivative sense, assert or assume that the terms are synonymous, or seek to avoid addressing their distinction or do not clarify it.

Ideal observer theory is the meta-ethical view which claims that ethical sentences express truth-apt propositions about the attitudes of a hypothetical ideal observer. In other words, ideal observer theory states that ethical judgments should be interpreted as statements about the judgments that a neutral and fully informed observer would make; "x is good" means "an ideal observer would approve of x".

The main idea [of the ideal observer theory] is that ethical terms should be defined after the pattern of the following example: "x is better than y" means "If anyone were, in respect of x and y, fully informed and vividly imaginative, impartial, in a calm frame of mind and otherwise normal, he would prefer x to y.

Many early Islamic philosophers and logicians discussed the liar paradox. Their work on the subject began in the 10th century and continued to Athīr al-Dīn al-Abharī and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi of the middle 13th century and beyond. Although the Liar paradox has been well known in Greek and Latin traditions, the works of Arabic scholars have only recently been translated into English.


  1. Simon Blackburn. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (2 rev. ed.) Oxford University Press.