This paper introduces a new framework, based on the notion of compatibility space, obtained by adding a primitive incompatibility relation to a state space in the sense of Fine. The key idea inspiring the framework is to modify Fine's truthmaker semantics by taking the notion of incompatibility as primitive, and use it to define other notions. We discuss some interesting features of the framework and explore its advantages over the standard framework of state spaces. We review some applications of the (...) framework, including proofs of soundness and completeness theorems for a number of logics, one way to use compatibility states to mirror Kripke frames, and an exploration of a way to use the new framework to provide truthmaking clauses for modal formulas. (shrink)
Consider a certain red rose. The proposition that the rose is red is true because the rose is red. One might say as well that the proposition that the rose is red is made true by the rose’s being red. This, it has been thought, does not commit one to a truthmaker of the proposition that the rose is red. For there is no entity that makes the proposition true. What makes it true is how the rose is, and how (...) the rose is is not an entity over and above the rose. It is against this view that I shall argue in this paper. I shall argue that a signiﬁcant class of true propositions, including inessential predications like the proposition that the rose is red, are made true by entities. "No truthmaking without truthmakers" is my slogan. Although I have my view about what kinds of entities are truthmakers, I shall not argue for or presuppose that view here. All I shall argue for here is that if a proposition is made true by something, it is made true by some thing, but my argument will leave it open what kind of thing that thing is: it could be a fact or state of affairs, a trope, or any other sort of entity. (shrink)
To what extent do true predications correspond to truthmakers in virtue of which those predications are true? One sort of predicate which is often thought to not be susceptible to an ontological treatment is a predicate for instantiation, or some corresponding predication (trope-similarity or set-membership, for example). This paper discusses this question, and argues that an "ontological" approach is possible here too: where this ontological approach goes beyond merely finding a truthmaker for claims about instantiation. Along the way a version (...) of the problem of the regress of instantiation is posed and solved. (shrink)
According to one tradition in realist philosophy, 'truthmaking' amounts to necessitation. That is, an object x is a truthmaker for the claim A if x exists, and the existence of x necessitates the truth of A. I argued in my paper "Truthmakers, Entailment and Necessity" , that if we wish to use this account of truthmaking, we ought understand the entailment connective "=>" in such a claim as a relevant entailment, in the tradition of Anderson and Belnap and (...) their co-workers [1, 2, 8, 11]. Furthermore, I proposed a number of theses about truthmaking as necessitation. The most controversial of these is the disjunction thesis: x makes a disjunction A v B true if and only if it makes one of the disjuncts (A or B) true. That paper left one important task unfinished. I did not explain how the theses about truthmaking could be true together. In this paper I give a consistency proof, by providing a model for the theses of truthmaking in my earlier paper. This result does two things. First, it shows that the theses of truthmaking are jointly consistent. Second, it provides an independently philosophically motivated formal model for relevant logics in the 'possible worlds' tradition of Routley and Meyer [8, 16, 17]. (shrink)
I develop and defend a truthmaker semantics for the relevant logic R. The approach begins with a simple philosophical idea and develops it in various directions, so as to build a technically adequate relevant semantics. The central philosophical idea is that truths are true in virtue of specific states. Developing the idea formally results in a semantics on which truthmakers are relevant to what they make true. A very natural notion of conditionality is added, giving us relevant implication. I then (...) investigate ways to add conjunction, disjunction, and negation; and I discuss how to justify contraposition and excluded middle within a truthmaker semantics. (shrink)
A minimal truthmaker for a given proposition is the smallest portion of reality which makes this proposition true. Minimal truthmakers are frequently mentioned in the literature, but there has been no systematic account of what they are or of their importance. In this article we shall clarify the notion of a minimal truthmaker and argue that there is reason to think that at least some propositions have minimal truthmakers. We shall then argue that the notion can play a useful role (...) in truthmaker theory, by helping to explain the truth of certain propositions as precisely as possible. (shrink)
On the truthmaker view of ontological commitment [Heil (From an ontological point of view, 2003); Armstrong (Truth and truthmakers, 2004); Cameron (Philosophical Studies, 2008)], a theory is committed to the entities needed in the world for the theory to be made true. I argue that this view puts truthmaking to the wrong task. None of the leading accounts of truthmaking—via necessitation, supervenience, or grounding—can provide a viable measure of ontological commitment. But the grounding account does provide a needed (...) constraint on what is fundamental. So I conclude that truthmaker commitments are not a rival to quantifier commitments, but a needed complement. The quantifier commitments are what a theory says exists, while the truthmaker commitments are what a theory says is fundamental. (shrink)
According to the Truthmaker Principle: every truth has a truthmaker. Attempts to come to grips with the Truthmaker Principle played a prominent role in Lewis’s metaphysical writings over the last fifteen years of his career. Although Lewis agreed that the truth of propositions must somehow be ontologically grounded, the Truthmaker Principle was too strong: it conflicted with two of Lewis’s most fundamental metaphysical assumptions, the uniqueness of composition and the Humean denial of necessary connections. Lewis endorsed instead a weaker principle: (...) Truth Supervenes on Being. But towards the end of his career, he changed course, noting that his critique of the Truthmaker Principle rested on essentialist assumptions that he, as a counterpart theorist, does not accept. Once freed from those assumptions, a counterpart theorist can accept the Truthmaker Principle after all without buying into unmereological composition and mysterious necessary connections. (shrink)
I propose an account truthmaking that provides truthmakers for negative truths. The account replaces Truthmaker Necessitarianism with a "Duplication Principle", according to which a suitable entity T is a truthmaker for a proposition P just in case the existence of an appropriate counterpart of T entails the truth of P, where the counterpart relation is cashed out in terms of qualitative duplication. My account captures an intuitive notion of truthmakers as "things the way they are", validates two appealing principles (...) about entailment and containment proposed by David Armstrong, and invalidates the controversial Disjunction Thesis. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the relation between two important metaphysical notions, ‘truthmaking’ and ‘grounding’. I begin by considering various ways in which truthmaking could be explicated in terms of grounding, noting both strengths and weaknesses of these analyses. I go on to articulate a problem for any attempt to analyze truthmaking in terms of a generic and primitive notion of grounding based on differences we find among examples of grounding. Finally, I outline a more complex view (...) of how truthmaking and grounding could relate. On the view explored, truthmaking is a species of grounding differentiated from other species of grounding by the unique form of dependence it involves. (shrink)
A line of argument, presented by David Lewis, to show that the correspondence theory of truth is not a real alternative to deflationism is developed. It is shown that truthmakers, construed as concrete events or states of affairs, are unsatisfactory entities, since we do not know how to individuate them or how to identify their essential qualities. Furthermore, the real work is usually done by supervenience relations, which have little to do with truth. It is argued that the Equivalence Schema (...) is quite sufficient to yield a unitary property of being true, and that this generates a weak, but non-trivial, version of the correspondence theory of truth. (shrink)
This paper attempts to locate, within an actualist ontology, truthmakers for modal truths: truths of the form or . In Sect. 1 I motivate the demand for substantial truthmakers for modal truths. In Sect. 21 criticise Armstrong's account of truthmakers for modal truths. In Sect. 31 examine essentialism and defend an account of what makes essentialist attributions true, but I argue that this does not solve the problem of modal truth in general. In Sect. 41 discuss, and dismiss, a theistic (...) account of the source of modal truth proposed by Alexander Pruss. In Sect. 5 I offer a means of (dis)solving the problem. (shrink)
Truthmaker theory promises to do some useful philosophical work: equipping us to argue against phenomenalism and Rylean behaviourism, for instance, and helping us decide what exists (Lewis 1999, 207; Armstrong 1997, 113-119). But it has proved hard to formulate a truthmaker theory that is both useful and believable. I want to suggest that a neglected approach to truthmakers – that of Ian McFetridge – can surmount some of the problems that make other theories of truthmaking unattractive. To begin with, (...) I’ll outline some of the most prominent accounts of truthmaking in the current literature. Then the second part of the paper will explain McFetridge’s theory and argue for its superiority over these accounts. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the objection to truthmaker theory, forcibly made by David Lewis and endorsed by many, that it violates the Humean denial of necessary connections between distinct existences. In Sect. 1 I present the argument that acceptance of truthmakers commits us to necessary connections. In Sect. 2 I examine Lewis’ ‘Things-qua-truthmakers’ theory which attempts to give truthmakers without such a commitment, and find it wanting. In Sects. 3–5 I discuss various formulations of the denial of necessary connections (...) and argue that each of them is either false or compatible with truthmaker theory. In Sect. 6 I show how the truthmaker theorist can resist the charge that they are committed to necessary exclusions between possible existents. I conclude that there is no good objection to truthmaker theory on the grounds that it violates the Humean dictum. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to communicate - as a proposal - a general method of assigning a 'truthmaker' to any 1st order sentence in each of its models. The respective construct is derived from the standard model theoretic (recursive) satisfaction definition for 1st order languages and is a conservative extension thereof. The heuristics of the proposal (which has been somewhat idiosyncratic from the current point of view) and some more technical detail of the construction may be found in (...) my article on part I of Spinoza's 'ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata', which is the context within which I elaborated the assignment. But this context need not be repeated here, the presentation of the truthmaker assignment will be comprehensible to anybody with solid basic knowledge in 1st order model theory, anything used is standard and no advanced techniques are required. (shrink)
Truthmakers are supposed to explain the truth of propositions, but it is unclear what kind of explanation truthmakers can provide. In this paper, I argue that ‘truthmaker explanations’ conflate two different explanatory projects. The first project is essentially concerned with truth, while the second project is concerned with reductive explanation. It is the latter project, I maintain, which is really central to truthmaking theory. On this basis, a general account of truthmaking can be formulated, which, when combined with (...) a specific theory of reduction (the ‘conceptual entailment approach’), yields a new analysis of truthmaking. This analysis is intuitively appealing and avoids the problem of necessary truths, which poses a serious obstacle for standard accounts. (shrink)
In this paper I undermine the Entailment Principle according to which if an entity is a truthmaker for a certain proposition and this proposition entails another, then the entity in question is a truthmaker for the latter proposition. I argue that the two most promising versions of the principle entail the popular but false Conjunction Thesis, namely that a truthmaker for a conjunction is a truthmaker for its conjuncts. One promising version of the principle understands entailment as strict implication but (...) restricts the field of application of the principle to purely contingent truths (i.e. those that contain no necessary proposition at any level of analysis). But a conjunction of purely contingent truths strictly implies its conjuncts. So this version of the principle is committed to the Conjunction Thesis. The same is true of the version of the principle where entailment is understood in the sense of systems T, R, and E of relevant logic, since in these systems conjunctions entail their conjuncts. I argue that the Conjunction Thesis is false because a truthmaker is that in virtue of what a certain proposition is true and it is false that, for example, what the proposition that Peter is a man is true in virtue of is the conjunctive fact that Peter is man and Saturn is a planet (or the facts that Peter is a man and that Saturn is a planet taken together). I also argue against other versions of the principle. (shrink)
Amongst those who feel the pull of the truthmaker principle (that truths require for their truth a truthmaker to exist), there is disagreement as to whether it applies to all truths or merely to some distinguished subset. Those in the latter camp, the non-maximalists, argue that there are no ducks in my bath is true not because of something’s existence, but because of the lack of ducks in my bath. Maximalists, by contrast, insist that truths are made true by something’s (...) existence, and so appear to be committed to strange ‘negative’ entities in their ontology. As a consequence, non-maximalists appear to have a more common-sense ontology than maximalists. But things are not so straightforward. I will argue that if maximalism is committed to strange entities then so is non-maximalism; and if non-maximalism can do without strange entities, then so can maximalism. Either way, the non-maximalist has no ontological advantage over the maximalist. (shrink)
This article for the Stanford Encyclopedia for Philosophy provides a state of the art survey and assessment of the contemporary debate about truth-makers, covering both the case for and against truth-makers. It explores 4 interrelated questions about truth-makers, (1) What is it to be a truth-maker? (2) Which range, or ranges, of truths are eligible to be made true (if any are)? (3) What kinds of entities are truth-makers? (4) What is the motivation for adopting a theory of truth-makers? And (...) adds that there's another question to often put aside by metaphysicians but has critical consequences for truth-makers: (5) What are the truth-bearers? (shrink)
Beginning with Zagzebski (The Philosophical Quarterly 44:65–73, 1994), some philosophers have argued that there can be no solution to the Gettier counterexamples within the framework of a fallibilist theory of knowledge. If true, this would be devastating, since it is believed on good grounds that infallibilism leads to scepticism. But I argue here that these purported proofs are mistaken and that the truthmaker solution to the Gettier problems is both cogent and fallibilist in nature. To show this I develop the (...) notion of evidence of a state of affairs, a crucial concept in the truthmaker theory. I also argue that a common principle of the transmission of evidence through entailment is false, and the cause of much of the trouble. (shrink)
This chapter explains the basic framework of truthmaker or 'exact' semantics, an approach to semantics that has recently received a growing amount of interest, and discusses a number of different applications within philosophy and linguistics. The idea of truthmaking is the idea of something on the side of the world ‐ a fact, perhaps, or a state of affairs ‐ verifying, or making true, something on the side of language or thought ‐ a statement, perhaps, or a proposition. The (...) chapter focuses on the ultimate truthmakers, on what in the world ultimately makes something true, and the question of how the truthmakers make the statements of our language true is of no great concern. It also focuses on the immediate truthmakers, and the question of how they make the statements of the language true will be of greatest concern. (shrink)
This paper gives an outline of truthmaker semantics for natural language against the background of standard possible-worlds semantics. It develops a truthmaker semantics for attitude reports and deontic modals based on an ontology of attitudinal and modal objects and on a semantic function of clauses as predicates of such objects. It also présents new motivations for 'object-based truthmaker semantics' from intensional transitive verbs such as ‘need’, ‘look for’, ‘own’, and ‘buy’ and gives an outline of their semantics. This paper is (...) a commissioned 'target' article, with commentaries by W. Davis, B. Arsenijevic, K. Moulton, K. Liefke, M. Kaufmann, R. Matthews, P. Portner and A. Rubinstein, P. Elliott, G. Ramchand and my reply. (shrink)
Truthmaker theorists hold that there is a metaphysically explanatory relation that holds between true claims and what exists. While some critics try to provide counterexamples to truthmaker theory, that response quickly leads to a dialectical standoff. The aim of this paper is to move beyond that standoff by attempting to undermine some standard arguments for truthmaker theory. Using realism about truth and a more pragmatic account of explanation, I show how some of those arguments can be undermined.
Peter Milne has tried to refure Truthmaker Maximalism. the thesis that every truth has a truthmaker, by producing a simple and direct counterexample to it, the sentence M: This sentence has no truthmaker. I argue that, contrary to what Milne argues, on Truthmaker Maximalism M is equivalent to the Liar, which gives the truthmaker maximalist a way to defend his position from Milne's counterexample: to argue that M expresses no proposition.
In this paper, I distinguish between two varieties of actualism—hardcore actualism and softcore actualism—and I critically discuss Ross Cameron’s recent arguments for preferring a softcore actualist account of the truthmakers for modal truths over hardcore actualist ones. In the process, I offer some arguments for preferring the hardcore actualist account of modal truthmakers over the softcore actualist one.
This paper considers the extent to which the notion of truthmaking can play a substantive role in defining physicalism. While a truthmaking-based approach to physicalism is prima facie attractive, there is some reason to doubt that truthmaking can do much work when it comes to understanding physicalism, and perhaps austere metaphysical frameworks in general. First, despite promising to dispense with higher-level properties and states, truthmaking appears to make little progress on issues concerning higher-level items and how (...) they are related to how things are physically. Second, it seems that truthmaking-based approaches to physicalism will have a difficult time addressing the status of truthmaking itself without, in effect, appealing to the resources of alternative ways of conceptualizing physicalism. (shrink)
The truthmaker literature has recently come to the consensus that the logic of truthmaking is distinct from classical propositional logic. This development has huge implications for the free will literature. Since free will and moral responsibility are primarily ontological concerns (and not semantic concerns) the logic of truthmaking ought to be central to the free will debate. I shall demonstrate that counterexamples to transfer principles employed in the direct argument occur precisely where a plausible logic of truthmaking (...) diverges from classical logic. Further, restricted transfer principles (like the ones employed by McKenna, Stump, and Warfield) are as problematic as the original formulation of the direct argument. (shrink)
What are the ontological commitments of a sentence? In this paper I offer an answer from the perspective of the truthmaker theorist that contrasts with the familiar Quinean criterion. I detail some of the benefits of thinking of things this way: they include making the composition debate tractable without appealing to a neo-Carnapian metaontology, making sense of neo-Fregeanism, and dispensing with some otherwise recalcitrant necessary connections.
Presentism faces a serious challenge from truthmaker theory. Standard solutions to the truthmaker objection against presentism proceed in one of two ways. Easy road presentists invoke new entities to satisfy the requirements of truthmaker theory. Hard road presentists, by contrast, flatly refuse to give in to truthmaker demands. Recently, a third way has been proposed. This response seeks to address the truthmaking problem by tensing our truthmaker principles. These views, though intuitive, are under-developed. In this paper, I get serious (...) about a fundamentally tensed approach to truthmaking by sketching out the underlying ontological picture needed to make sense of tensed truthmaker theory. (shrink)
Truthmaker theory begins with the idea that truth depends upon reality. When a truth-bearer is true, that is because something or other in the world makes it true. My dissertation offers a theory of truthmakers that shows how we should flesh out this thought while avoiding the contentious metaphysical commitments that are built into other truthmaker theories. Because of these commitments, many philosophers have come to view truthmaker theory as being essentially tied to correspondence theories of truth, and to metaphysical (...) realism. I argue that, quite to the contrary, truthmaker theory is distinct from correspondence theory, and that the former actually undermines the motivation for the latter. In fact, truthmaker theory can be used to argue for a particular kind of deflationism about truth. I also argue that debates about realism and anti-realism are best viewed through the lens of truthmaker theory, which is not—contrary to what many have thought—an essentially realist approach to metaphysics. Anti-realists of various stripes can also make use of truthmakers. The anti-realism of such views depends upon either the nature of the truthmakers they use, or the nature of the truthmaking relation itself. (shrink)
Truthmaking is the relationship that holds between truths and the objects in the world in virtue of which those truths are true. Truthmaker theorists deploy the idea of truthmaking in order to advance arguments for the existence of various kinds of ontological posits, critique metaphysical positions, and better articulate accounts of truth, realism and other topics.
In this note we shall argue that Milne’s new effort does not refute Truthmaker Maximalism. According to Truthmaker Maximalism, every truth has a truthmaker. Milne has attempted to refute it using the following self-referential sentence M: This sentence has no truthmaker. Essential to his refutation is that M is like the Gödel sentence and unlike the Liar, and one way in which Milne supports this assimilation is through the claim that his proof is essentially object-level and not semantic. In Section (...) 2, we shall argue that Milne is still begging the question against Truthmaker Maximalism. In Section 3, we shall argue that even assimilating M to the Liar does not force the truthmaker maximalist to maintain the ‘dull option’ that M does not express a proposition. There are other options open and, though they imply revising the logic in Milne’s reasoning, this is not one of the possible revisions he considers. In Section 4, we shall suggest that Milne’s proof requires an implicit appeal to semantic principles and notions. In Section 5, we shall point out that there are two important dissimilarities between M and the Gödel sentence. Section 6 is a brief summary and conclusion. (shrink)
In this paper I examine two principles of orthodox truthmaker theory: truthmaker maximalism - the doctrine that every (contingent) truth has a truthmaker, and truthmaker necessitarianism - the doctrine that the existence of a truthmaker necessitates the truth of any proposition which it in fact makes true. I argue that maximalism should be rejected and that once it is we only have reason to hold a restricted form of necessitarianism.
Truthmakers, truth conditions, and analyses are closely related, but distinct in rather important ways. A failure to properly appreciate their differences has led to some confusion regarding the role that possible worlds ought to play with respect to modality. Those philosophers who initially proposed the existence of possible worlds were understood as providing an analysis of modality. More recently, many have interpreted them as providing modal truthmakers. But, possible worlds are only suited to serve as truth conditions for modal truths. (...) My goals are as follows: First, to dispel this confusion by detailing the differences between these three concepts. Second, to apply the lesson learned to the famous Humphrey objection against possible worlds. While this objection, if successful, does undermine Lewisian modal realism, it only partially undermines ersatzism, and leaves available a route by which ersatzers may avoid the objection altogether. (shrink)
Truthmaker theory is the branch of metaphysics that explores the relationships between what is true and what exists. Discussions of truthmakers and truthmaking typically start with the idea that truth depends on being, and not vice versa. For example, if the sentence ‘Kangaroos live in Australia’ is true, then there are kangaroos living in Australia. And if there are kangaroos living in Australia, then the sentence ‘Kangaroos live in Australia’ is true. But we can ask whether the sentence is (...) true because of the way the world is, or whether the world is the way it is because the sentence is true. Truthmaker theorists make the former claim that the sentence is true because of what exists in the world; it is not the case that the world is the way it is because of which sentences are true. Truthmaker theorists use this fundamental idea as a starting point for clarifying the nature of truth and its relationship to ontology, and to advance various views in metaphysics concerning the nature of the past and future, counterfactual conditionals, modality, and many others. Because truthmaker theorists end up with differing views concerning all these matters, what ultimately unites them is not any single thesis but rather a commitment to thinking that the idea of truthmaking is a useful one for pursuing metaphysical inquiry. Others might conceive of ‘truthmaker theory’ more strictly (such as by requiring a commitment to all truths having truthmakers, or all truthmakers being of a particular ontological variety), though defining the enterprise in this way will inevitably fail to capture all those earnestly pursuing investigation into truthmaking. (shrink)
Recent work in the truthmakers literature demonstrates that the logic of truthmaking is distinct from classical logic. Since free will is an ontological issue, and not merely a semantic issue, arguments about free will ought to be sensitive to these developments. In Truthmakers and the Direct Argument, Hermes argues that one of the main arguments for incompatibiilsm fails precisely where the truthmakers literature would predict. Here, I argue that similar problems make the Consequence Argument untenable.
This paper argues for a rearticulation of the theory of truthmaking within pragmatism. The concept of truthmaking has usually been employed by metaphysical realists, but it can be reinterpreted in a pragmatist manner, following both classical and more recent pragmatists’ ideas on the “making of truth” as a process within human experience and world-categorization. Thus, a pragmatist criticism of metaphysical realism can be extended to the core areas of realist metaphysics, including the truthmaking theory.
Consider the idea that some entities are more fundamental than others, some entities ‘ground’ other, less fundamental, entities. What is it for something to be more fundamental than another, or for something to ‘ground’ something else? This paper urges the rejection of conceptions of grounding and fundamentality according to which reality has a hierarchical structure in which higher-level entities are taken to be distinct from but metaphysically dependent on more fundamental lower-level entities. Truthmaking is offered as an apt replacement (...) for at least some of the many applications of grounding. (shrink)
Truthmaker theory has become immensely popular in recent years. So, it is not surprising that we are beginning to see it put to work in other areas of philosophy. Recently, several philosophers have proposed that truthmaker theory is the key to solving the Gettier problem. Edmund Gettier demonstrated that the traditional analysis of knowledge (as justified, true belief) was unsatisfactory. The truthmaker solution proposes that knowledge is a justified, true belief, where the source of one's justification is either identical to, (...) or else causally related to, the state of affairs which makes the believed proposition true. This amendment of the traditional analysis of knowledge purportedly escapes the problems identified by Gettier cases. In this paper, I will examine two particular recent endorsements of this solution – those from Sven Bernecker and Adrian Heathcote – and argue that truthmaker theory is not the key to solving the Gettier problem. (shrink)
The paper criticizes the truthmaker principle that every truth is made true by something. If we interpret ‘something’ as quantifying into sentence position, we can interpret the principle as a harmless logical truth, but that is not what advocates of the principle intend. They interpret ‘something’ as quantifying into name position, and the principle as requiring the existence of truthmaking individuals. The paper argues that we have no reason to believe the principle on this interpretation. Moreover, the converse Barcan (...) formula is inconsistent with the existence of truthmaking individuals for contingent truths. Considerations about our ability to count possible truthmaking individuals are used to argue that we should prefer the converse Barcan formula. (shrink)
It is argued that the part-whole account of the relation between evidence and the larger state of affairs the evidence is evidence of—an account that was elucidated in the paper ‘Truthmaking, Evidence of, and Impossibility Proofs’ —provides a better basis for epistemology than causal relations between events. I apply this to a well-known phenomenon in physics which suggests that causal connectedness is not necessary for knowledge.
This is a reply to the commentaries on my paper 'Truthmaker Semantics for Natural Language: Attitude Verbs, Modals, and Intensional Transitive Verbs'. The paper is a commissioned 'target' article, with commentaries by W. Davis, B. Arsenijevic, K. Moulton, K. Liefke, M. Kaufman, R. Matthews, P. Portner and A. Rubinstein, P. Elliott, and G. Ramchand.
Truthmaking is the metaphysical exploration of the idea that what is true depends upon what exists. Truthmaker theorists argue about what the truthmaking relation involves, which truths require truthmakers, and what those truthmakers are. This Element covers the dominant views on these core issues in truthmaking. It also explores some key metaphysical topics and debates that are usefully approached by employing the tools of truthmaker theory: the debate between presentists and eternalists over the existence of entities from (...) the past, and the debate between actualists and possibilists over merely possible states of affairs. In the final section, the Element explores how to think about truthmakers for truths involving social constructions. (shrink)
Creeping minimalism threatens to cloud the distinction between realist and anti-realist metaethical views. When anti-realist views equip themselves with minimalist theories of truth and other semantic notions, they are able to take on more and more of the doctrines of realism (such as the existence of moral truths, facts, and beliefs). But then they start to look suspiciously like realist views. I suggest that creeping minimalism is a problem only if moral realism is understood primarily as a semantic doctrine. I (...) argue that moral realism is better understood instead as a metaphysical doctrine. As a result, we can usefully regiment the metaethical debate into one about moral truthmakers: in virtue of what are moral judgments true? I show how the notion of truthmaking has been simmering just below the surface of the metaethical debate, and how it reveals one metaethical view (quasi-realism) to be a stronger contender than the others. (shrink)
Truthmaker theorists claim that for every truth, there is something in virtue of which it is true—or, more cautiously, that for every truth in some specified class of truths, there is something in virtue of which it is true. I argue that it is hard to see how the thought that truth is grounded in reality lends any support to truthmaker theory.
Jago and Loss have recently used variations on Fitch's paradox to argue that every truth has a truthmaker, and that every fact is grounded. In this paper, I show that Fitch's paradox can also be adapted to prove the exact opposite conclusions: no truth has a truthmaker, and no fact is grounded. All of these arguments are as dialectically effective as each other, and so they are all in bad company.