New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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7o
PROBLEMS IN MEANING
no means compulsory, therefore, but on the whole preferable, in my opinion, would be a verbal distinction between scientific truth as "truth" and intuitive truth as "belief." 132
The linguistic problem we have been considering, however, can never be definitively settled because of its dependence upon irreducible philosophical convictions: one's notion of truth will largely depend upon one's ideas about cognition and reality. This being so, I am aware that my preference regarding the terminology of explanation is not an impartial one, but is influenced by my general philosophical system of acceptances which might be roughly labeled "empirical nominalism." According to other differing systems of acceptances, the word ''belief," which unlike "truth" is not weighted with positive values and which may even be weighted with negative ones, lies below the level of these acceptances and is therefore an inadequate index of them. In these systems, therefore, two quite contrasting senses of "truth," even though muddling and misleading in discussion, will probably be inevitable; or else, perhaps, these systems will not apply the term "truth" at all to scientific fact.
(2) Emotive and Referential Discourse
An analogous approach to the problem of truth as artistic insight is suggested by I. A. Richards' much-discussed and already mentioned distinction between referential and emotive discourse. The former stands for scientific facts or "verifiable
132. Of course the word "belief" is as much of an abstraction and as difficult to analyze as is the word "truth." For example, a broad distinction is frequently made between rational or conceptual beliefs, and intuitive or impulsive ones. Usage seems to indicate, however, that truths are more permanent, fixed, and stable than are beliefs. A "belief" seems to me well defined as " (1) entertainment of a proposition p, and (2) a disposition to act as if p were true" (R. B. Braithwaite, quoted by D. G. James, Scepticism and Poetry, p. 67).