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The Value of Truth

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posted on 2021-11-15, 09:27 authored by Holden, Josef

People often want truth, and it often seems worth wanting. This has led many to claim that truth is valuable (VT). This essay argues that there are good reasons to reject VT.  After dealing with preliminary issues, Chapter 1 discusses the instrumental value of truth. I argue that, though some instrumentally valuable beliefs are true, there is little reason to think that these beliefs are valuable because they are true. Chapter 2 and 3 are concerned with the claim that truth is intrinsically valuable (CVT). Chapter 2 examines a serious difficult facing CVT. This is the problem of trivial truths. Though this problem is often discussed, its power is rarely appreciated. I argue that the two most prominent responses to the problem fail. Chapter 3 poses a different question: Do people in fact consider truth to be valuable? A few notable exceptions aside, it is generally accepted that they do. Further, a number of arguments for CVT rest on this assumption. I argue it is very doubtful that people value truth intrinsically. If this is correct, the arguments for CVT that rest on this claim collapse.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Brock, Stuart