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Professor Joshua Gert contributes to on-line series on the nature of truth

Strawson and Evans

Back in 1973, philosophers P. F. Strawson and Gareth Evans recorded a 16mm film of a conversation on the topic of truth for The Open University. Later discovering that film, Huw Price--now Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy and a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge—was inspired by it in several ways. He converted it to a digital format just before it was about to be destroyed by the library that owned it.

Price has made the Strawson-Evans conversation the subject of discussion for conferences and seminars, and now for an on-line series of commentaries from a set of excellent philosophers. Among the commentators is Joshua Gert, Legum Professor of Philosophy at William & Mary.


A central question in the truth debate is the question when a belief is a true belief. According to Gert, classic philosopher Frank Ramsey replied that an assertion or belief is true "just in case it is an assertion or belief that things are thus-and-so, and things are thus-and-so." Ramsey's simple suggestion is central to the Strawson-Evans dialogue, and Gert comments on the perplexing issue of determining what a belief or an assertion is. See Professor Gert's post, with an intriguing title:

Is Base-Jumping Wrong?

The full series of analyses with Price's introduction can be found here:

Flickering Shadows: Truth in 16mm

In addition to Gert, among the philosophers who have so far contributed to the project are Nikhil Krishnan (Cambridge), Christopher Peacocke (Columbia University), Mark Schroeder (Southern California), José Zalabardo (Arizona), Lionel Shapiro (Connecticut), Cheryl Misak (Toronto), Simon Blackburn (Cambridge and UNC-Chapel Hill), Paul Horwich (NYU), and Douglas Edwards (Utica College).

(Sketch at the top is from the 3:16 blog, where the commentaries appear.)