Bill Greenberg wgreenb at gmail.com
Fri Jun 29 04:18:54 EDT 2012

In "Logical Translation"
(http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/published_works/cc/logical.pdf), Isaiah
Berlin compares and contrasts what he calls the deflationary and
inflationary methods:

"The problem of how symbols mean has now emerged in its crudest and
most uncompromising form, and to solve it two expedients have been
adopted. Each of these has for many years formed the nucleus of much
interesting speculation; nevertheless each of them turns out upon
examination to be equally desperate and futile. The first takes the
form of what we may call, for want of a better label, the Deflationary
Method. It assumes that the only genuine, fully formed proposition is
that of the favoured kind (and this will differ for the different
philosophical schools) and that all other types of proposition derive
their logical force solely from some type of traceable relationship to
it. In the case we have selected, the favoured model is affirmative,
singular, categorical, and empirical..."

"The vice of the inflationary method was the precise opposite of the
deflationary one: if the latter prohibited the saying of much that
could intelligibly be said, the former encouraged speculation and
description of much that did not exist and could not be related to the
real world because there was nothing to relate. The first method used
Occam's razor to eliminate too many necessary entities; the second set
no limit to their multiplication. The inflationary method was not a
straitjacket like its rival but it led to consequences which were more
ludicrous because it manufactured entities which grew increasingly

--Bill G.

On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 2:57 PM, John Corcoran <corcoran at buffalo.edu> wrote:
> I am looking for published and unpublished discussions of the origin of the
> word 'deflationism' [or cognates] as used in philosophy of logic.
> Who coined it and what meaning did they give it?
> Even unsubstantiated claims are of interest.
> Was it coined to replace another word used for the same view?
> Have other words been proposed for views called deflationism?
> Was there ever a view called 'inflationism'?
> John Corcoran
> Philosophy
> University of Buffalo
> Buffalo NY 14260-4150
> _______________________________________________
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> FOM at cs.nyu.edu
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