Without Mirrors

HuwpriceRichard Marshall interviews Huw Price in 3AM Magazine:

Huw Price is an ice cool pragmatist philosopher with global expressivist deflationary thoughts that he writes about in his many books. He thinks about time and causation and truth but isn’t a metaphysician. He doesn’t think there’s a time’s arrow. He thinks Stephen Hawking gets things wrong. He thinks Bertrand Russell is an armchair anarchist. He is indubitably a groovy jive.

3:AM: What made you become a philosopher? Was it always something you felt drawn to or was it a surprise?

Huw Price: A surprise. In my first year as an undergraduate at ANU I added philosophy after signing up for the maths and physics courses I thought I needed. Later, when I wanted to drop physics and concentrate on pure maths, I had to make up another major, so I did a couple more philosophy courses. That’s when I started to get drawn into it (though it was a couple more years before I made the switch – my first year at graduate school was in maths).

3:AM: You argue in ‘Facts and the Function of Truth’ that usual ways of making a distinction between factual truths and non-factual truths fail. Before looking at your own position, can you outline the main difficulties with the alternatives?

HP: At this distance it’s hard not to be anachronistic, but what I was criticising was the common view that there is a ‘bifurcation’ in language between those declarative utterances that are genuinely ‘descriptive’, or ‘fact-stating’, and those that have some other function. Traditional non-cognitivists employed this distinction, arguing say that moral claims lie on the latter side of the line, not the former (and hence that there is no metaphysical issue about the nature of moral facts). I was (and am) sympathetic to that anti-metaphysical move, but I think the bifurcation thesis turns out to be unnecessary to it, confusing, and ungrounded.