You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.


4. Varieties of Enquiry

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we move on from classical theories to specific areas of enquiry, focusing on (i) the role of truth in making generalisations about a set of particular beliefs (ii) evaluating the importance of truth for enquiry (iii) methodological difficulties in discerning truth in ethics, aesthetics and religion (iv) the changes and challenges to the criteria for aesthetics and ethics throughout time causing doubt about the principle of truth (v) practical concerns with scepticism.


In this course Professor Simon Blackburn FBA (University of Cambridge) explores truth. In the first module, we consider the three main classical approaches to truth: correspondence, coherence and pragmatism. After that, in the second lecture we look at Charles’ Peirce’s methods of fixing belief, and the role of the scientific method in testing empirical claims. In the third module, we introduce deflationism and examine the utility of a deflationary account of truth as well as Frank Ramsey’s theory of redundancy. In the fourth module we examine various areas of enquiry in relation to truth, before finally in the fifth module, moving on to assess the value of truth in ethics and aesthetics.


Simon Blackburn FBA is an academic philosopher known for his many appearances in the British media such as BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze, the documentary series Closer to Truth, and his many publications spanning popular and academic philosophy. During his long career, he has taught at Oxford University, Cambridge University, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Blackburn has held several visiting appointments including the University of Melbourne University of British Columbia Oberlin College Princeton University Ohio State University and Universidad Autonomia da Mexico. For ten years he was adjunct professor at the Research School of Social Sciences Australian National University Canberra. Among his many principal works are His principal works are Spreading the Word: Groundings in the Philosophy of Language (1984); The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1996); Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (2001); Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics (2002); Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed (2005); Plato's Republic: A Biography (2006); How to Read Hume (2008); Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (2001); Mirror, Mirror: The Uses and Abuses of Self-Love (2014); and On Truth (2018)

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Blackburn, S. (2022, April 05). Truth - Varieties of Enquiry [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Blackburn, Simon. "Truth – Varieties of Enquiry." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Apr 2022,

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures