A defense of truth monism

Xingming Hu, Fordham University


My dissertation explores the following questions at the intersection of epistemology and value theory: What makes some truths (e.g. the last digit of my cellphone number is even) trivial and others (e.g. oxygen is necessary for combustion) significant? Is it epistemically better to have rational false beliefs than to have irrational true beliefs? Is knowing that p epistemically better than merely believing that p? And how is understanding valuable from an epistemic point of view? In addressing these questions, I defend truth monism, the controversial idea that only true beliefs are of basic epistemic value. I contend that other mental states such as rationality, knowledge, understanding, etc. are epistemically valuable, but their epistemic value can be fully explained in terms of the epistemic value of true belief. I argue that although truth monism entails that irrational true beliefs by themselves are epistemically better than rational false beliefs, the truth monist can deny that one should believe a proposition irrationally. I also show that truth monism can offer a plausible explanation of why some truths are more significant than others.

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Recommended Citation

Hu, Xingming, "A defense of truth monism" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3719380.