The correspondence theory of truth states that truth is essentially correspondence to a fact or state of affairs. How does this theory handle analytic truths - that is, 'true by definition' type statements that merely involve unfolding concepts? For example, what fact corresponds to the true sentence "a bachelor is an unmarried man"? Imagine a world where everyone dies except a married couple. Then there are no bachelors - but is still (presumably) true that a bachelor is an unmarried man. Then how can it be the case that this statement is true because of correspondence to reality?

  • The solution would probably be to advert to a distinction between general and particular facts, and have analytic truths be true propositions that correspond to at least a subset of the general facts, with general states of affairs able to obtain even if particular instances of them do not. Having said that, I appreciate that it is not the most persuasive-sounding account of how this might work. Jun 22, 2021 at 1:07
  • Another option would be to convert categorical definition sentences into conditionals, such as, "If anything is a bachelor, it is an unmarried man." Jun 22, 2021 at 2:33
  • The term analytical means that it is not sense verifiable to know. We know something analytic because it is impossible to be something else. Correspondence theory is basically dependent upon us using the so called five senses. That is if my sense tell me there is an orange on the top left corner of my desk then that object is a fruit as well. Without my senses I would have no idea if something was placed or sitting on the top left corner of my desk. So you are comparing apples to oranges here. Nothing about your senses let's you know bachelors must be men --that is a language convention.
    – Logikal
    Jun 22, 2021 at 4:58
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    @Logikal It sounds like you're saying that the correspondence theory of truth isn't even meant to touch upon analytic truths. But how could a good theory of truth just not even address a sizeable chunk of the kinds of statements we take to be true?
    – Joa
    Jun 22, 2021 at 6:14
  • @logikal, I don't think the correspondence theory of truth is limited to empirical truth. Some versions of the correspondence theory of truth even have truthmakers as abstract objects, so the allow for abstract objects, and presumably for truths about those abstract objects. Jun 22, 2021 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


It's the same as asking: Were jews real in Nazi Germany if they were sure to die? They were real obviously because they were born. Dying means being born first.
It would have been different if bachelors couldn't exist in the first place. Then there could have been a word for it ( bachelor) but it wouldn't correspond to reality.

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    How does this answer the question? How does the counterfactual "it would be different if bachelors couldn't exist in the first place" help the correspondence theory of truth make sense of how and why we, in actuality, think the statement "a bachelor is an unmarried man" is true?
    – Joa
    Jun 22, 2021 at 17:25
  • @Abel If the bachelor doesnt exist in the first place there is no correspondence with it. Yet. If it cant exist at all (when they all die) then they still have to be born. But then they are not married yet. The statement "a bachelor is an unmarried man" is true by definition. Even if they are not seen in the real world (because of dying) they still can exist as non married man by changing the definition. Jun 24, 2021 at 7:09

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