HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 14 no. 1 (2013)

A Wittgensteinian Response to the Scope Problem

John Ian K. Boongaling

Discipline: Philosophy



This paper seeks to develop a Wittgensteinian response to the Scope Problem, which ensnares a theory of truth considered as inflationary. The scope problem challenges any inflationary truth theory to provide a single explanation which can account for the concept of truth given the diversity of statements that most of us are willing to accept as true. In line with Wittgenstein’s later views on language and philosophy and their corresponding functions, this paper provides a general diagnosis of the problem: similarities in syntax do not entail similarities in meaning. By employing Wittgenstein’s metaphors (i.e., “handles” and “tools”) and an analysis via concrete cases and analogies, this paper responds to the challenge presented by the Scope Problem not by providing a satisfactory definition of truth but rather, by providing its “dissolution” à la Wittgenstein.