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Summary Many metaphysicians have argued that there exist facts, or states of affairs, such as the fact that Bertie is a beagle. Such facts are not linguistic entities, like sentences or propositions, but rather substantial parts of concrete reality. On some views, the fact that Bertie is a beagle involves Bertie himself and the property of being a beagle. Facts have played a prominent role in metaphysical theories, including in Russell's and Wittgenstein's logical atomism. According to many metaphysicians, facts play a crucial role in grounding truths. It is the existence of the fact that Bertie is adorable that makes the corresponding sentence or proposition true. Neither Bertie on his own nor Bertie plus property is a sufficient truthmaker, since Bertie might not have been adorable.
Key works Wittgenstein 1922 and Russell 1985 put facts front-and-center in their logical atomist metaphysics, but disagreed about their nature. Skyrms 1981 develops Wittgenstein’s approach to facts. Armstrong 1997 is a key recent work on facts (which Armstrong calls ‘states of affairs’) and their role in metaphysics. Neale 2001 is an extended argument against the existence of facts, based on the slingshot argument; Restall 2004 is a response to Neale’s argument. Zalta 1993 gives an account of facts based on his theory of abstract objects.
Introductions Textor forthcoming is an encyclopaedia-length article on states of affairs. Chapter 8 of Armstrong 1997 is more partisan but clearly conveys the metaphysical importance of states of affairs.
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  1. Elizabeth Anscombe (1989). The Simplicity of the Tractatus. Critica 21 (63):3 - 16.
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  2. Richard E. Aquila (1983). States of Affairs and Identity of Attributes in Spinoza. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 8 (1):161-179.
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  3. D. M. Armstrong (1997). A World of States of Affairs. Cambridge University Press.
    Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the "logical atomism" of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts (or states of affairs, as the author calls them) the ...
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  4. D. M. Armstrong (1993). A World of States of Affairs. Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.
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  5. D. M. Armstrong (1991). Classes Are States of Affairs. Mind 100 (2):189-200.
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  6. D. M. Armstrong (1991). Classes Are States of Affairs. Mind 100 (2):189 - 200.
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  7. Jamin Asay (2011). Truthmaking, Truth, and Realism: New Work for a Theory of Truthmakers. Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    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 (...)
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  8. J. L. Austin (1961). Unfair to Facts. In J. O. Urmson & G. J. Warnock (eds.), Philosophical Papers. Clarendon Press.
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  9. Stephen Barker, Expressivism About Truth-Making.
    My goal is to illuminate truth-making by way of illuminating the relation of making. My strategy is not to ask what making is, in the hope of a metaphysical theory about is nature. It's rather to look first to the language of making. The metaphor behind making refers to agency. It would be absurd to suggest that claims about making are claims about agency. It is not absurd, however, to propose that the concept of making somehow emerges from some feature (...)
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  10. Thomas P. Barron (1981). Nonobtaining States of Affairs. Southern Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):413-423.
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  11. C. A. Baylis (1948). Facts, Propositions, Exemplification and Truth. Mind 57 (228):459-479.
  12. Robert W. Beard (1969). On the Independence of States of Affairs. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):65 – 68.
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  13. Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.) (2005). Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon.
    This volume will be the starting point for future discussion and research.
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  14. Gunnar Björnsson, If You Believe in Positive Facts, You Should Believe in Negative Facts. Hommage à Wlodek. Philosophical Papers Dedicated to Wlodek Rabinowicz.
    Substantial metaphysical theory has long struggled with the question of negative facts, facts capable of making it true that Valerie isn’t vigorous. This paper argues that there is an elegant solution to these problems available to anyone who thinks that there are positive facts. Bradley’s regress and considerations of ontological parsimony show that an object’s having a property is an affair internal to the object and the property, just as numerical identity and distinctness are internal to the entities that are (...)
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  15. Robert Brandom (2000). Facts, Norms, and Normative Facts: A Reply to Habermas. European Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):356–374.
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  16. Susan Brower-Toland (2006). Facts Vs. Things: Adam Wodeham and the Later Medieval Debate About Objects of Judgment. Review of Metaphysics 60 (3):597-642.
    Commentators have long agreed that Wodeham’s account of objects of judgment is highly innovative, but they have continued to disagree about its proper interpretation. Some read him as introducing items that are merely supervenient on (and nothing in addition to) Aristotelian substances and accidents; others take him to be introducing a new type of entity in addition to substances and accidents—namely, abstract states of affairs. In this paper, I argue that both interpretations are mistaken: the entities Wodeham introduces are really (...)
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  17. William Bynoe (2011). Against the Compositional View of Facts. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (1):91-100.
    It is commonly assumed that facts would be complex entities made out of particulars and universals. This thesis, which I call Compositionalism, holds that parthood may be construed broadly enough so that the relation that holds between a fact and the entities it ‘ties’ together counts as a kind of parthood. I argue firstly that Compositionalism is incompatible with the possibility of certain kinds of fact and universal, and, secondly, that such facts and universals are possible. I conclude that Compositionalism (...)
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  18. Ross P. Cameron (2005). Truthmaker Necessitarianism and Maximalism. Logique Et Analyse 48 (189-192):43-56.
    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.
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  19. Erik Carlson (1996). The Intrinsic Value of Non-Basic States of Affairs. Philosophical Studies 85 (1):95-107.
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  20. Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi, Events. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
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  21. Gerard Casey (1991). Wittgenstein: World, Reality and States of Affairs. Philosophical Studies 33:107-111.
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  22. Colin Cheyne & Charles Pigden (2006). Negative Truths From Positive Facts. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):249 – 265.
    According to the truthmaker theory that we favour, all contingent truths are made true by existing facts or states of affairs. But if that is so, then it appears that we must accept the existence of the negative facts that are required to make negative truths (such as 'There is no hippopotamus in the room.') true. We deny the existence of negative facts, show how negative truths are made true by positive facts, point out where the (reluctant) advocates of negative (...)
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  23. Roderick M. Chisholm (1976). Person and Object: A Metaphysical Study. Open Court.
    First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  24. Roderick M. Chisholm (1975). The Intrinsic Value in Disjunctive States of Affairs. Noûs 9 (3):295-308.
  25. Roderick M. Chisholm (1971). States of Affairs Again. Noûs 5 (2):179-189.
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  26. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2012). Negative States of Affairs: Reinach Versus Ingarden. Symposium. The Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 16 (2):106-127.
    In Reinach’s works one finds a very rich ontology of states of affairs. Some of them are positive, some negative. Some of them obtain, some do not. But even the negative and non-obtaining states of affairs are absolutely independent of any mental activity. Now in spite of this claim of the “ontological equality” of positive and negative states of affairs there are, according to Reinach, massive epistemological differences in our cognitive access to them. Positive states of affairs could be directly (...)
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  27. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2010). Composed Objects, Internal Relations, and Purely Intentional Negativity. Ingarden's Theory of States of Affairs. Polish Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):63-80.
    Ingarden’s official ontology of states of affairs is by no means reductionist. According to him there are states of affairs, but they are ontologically dependent onother entities. There are certain classical arguments for the introduction of states of affairs as extra entities over and above the nominal objects, that can be labelled “the problem of composition,” “the problem of relation” and “the problem of negation.” To the first two Ingarden proposes rather traditional solutions, while his treatment of negation proves to (...)
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  28. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2003). Contentless Syntax, Ineffable Semantics and Transcendental Ontology. Reflections on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. Kriterion 17:1-6.
    Wittgenstein’s Tractatus contains some very striking theses. We read, e.g., that „in a sense” we could not be wrong in logic, and that the whole subject matter of the theory of modalities could be reconstructed on the ground of the insights in the mechanism of the linguistic reference. Yet in the light of the last sentences of Tractatus the whole semantics turns out to be principaly ineffable. In our paper we will try to clarify these matters. We show how these (...)
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  29. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2003). Wozu Brauchte Carl Stumpf Sachverhalte? Brentano Studien 10:67-82.
  30. Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (2002). Objects, Properties and States of Affairs. An Aristotelian Ontology of Truth Making. Axiomathes 13 (2):187-215.
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  31. Michael Corrado (1978). The Case for States of Affairs. Philosophia 7 (3-4):523-536.
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  32. William Lane Craig (1986). Temporal Necessity; Hard Facts/Soft Facts. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 20 (2/3):65 - 91.
    In conclusion, then, the notion of temporal necessity is certainly queer and perhaps a misnomer. It really has little to do with temporality per se and everything to do with counterfactual openness or closedness. We have seen that the future is as unalterable as the past, but that this purely logical truth is not antithetical to freedom or contingency. Moreover, we have found certain past facts are counterfactually open in that were future events or actualities to be other than they (...)
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  33. Marian David, The Correspondence Theory of Truth. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Narrowly speaking, the correspondence theory of truth is the view that truth is correspondence to a fact -- a view that was advocated by Russell and Moore early in the 20 th century. But the label is usually applied much more broadly to any view explicitly embracing the idea that truth consists in a relation to reality, i.e., that truth is a relational property involving a characteristic relation (to be specified) to some portion of reality (to be specified). During the (...)
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  34. Julian Dodd (2009). Events, Facts, and States of Affairs. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
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  35. Julian Dodd (2007). Negative Truths and Truthmaker Principles. Synthese 156 (2):383-401.
    This paper argues that a consideration of the problem of providing truthmakers for negative truths undermines truthmaker theory. Truthmaker theorists are presented with an uncomfortable dilemma. Either they must take up the challenge of providing truthmakers for negative truths, or else they must explain why negative truths are exceptions to the principle that every truth must have a truthmaker. The first horn is unattractive since the prospects of providing truthmakers for negative truths do not look good neither absences, nor totality (...)
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  36. Julian Dodd (1999). Farewell to States of Affairs. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (2):146 – 160.
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  37. C. J. Ducasse (1945). A Symposium on Meaning and Truth: Discussion, Continued: Facts, Truth, and Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 5 (3):320-332.
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  38. Santiago Echeverri (2011). McDowell's Conceptualist Therapy for Skepticism. European Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):357-386.
    Abstract: In Mind and World, McDowell conceives of the content of perceptual experiences as conceptual. This picture is supposed to provide a therapy for skepticism, by showing that empirical thinking is objectively and normatively constrained. The paper offers a reconstruction of McDowell's view and shows that the therapy fails. This claim is based on three arguments: 1) the identity conception of truth he exploits is unable to sustain the idea that perception-judgment transitions are normally truth conducing; 2) it could be (...)
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  39. G. Englebretsen (2006). Bare Facts and Truth: An Essay on the Correspondence Theory of Truth. Ashgate Publishing Company.
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  40. M. Oreste Fiocco (2014). On Simple Facts. Res Philosophica 91 (3):287-313.
    It is plausible that every true representation is made true by something in the world beyond itself. I believe that a simple fact is the truthmaker of each true proposition. Simple facts are not familiar entities. This lack of familiarity might lead many to regard them with suspicion, to think that including them in one’s ontology is an ad hoc maneuver. Although such suspicion is warranted initially, it is, I believe, ultimately unfounded. In this paper, I first present what I (...)
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  41. M. Oreste Fiocco (2013). An Absolute Principle of Truthmaking. Grazer Philosophische Studien 88:1-31.
    The purpose of this paper is to propose and defend an absolute principle of truthmaking, a maximalist one according to which every truth is made true by something in the world beyond itself. I maintain that an absolute principle must be true, that any weakened version is straightforwardly contradictory or incoherent. I criticize one principle of truthmaking (in terms of bald necessity) and articulate one in terms of the relation in virtue of. I then criticize other principles of truthmaking in (...)
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  42. A. R. J. Fisher (2013). Bennett on Parts Twice Over. Philosophia 41 (3):757-761.
    In this paper I outline the main features of Karen Bennett’s (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1–21, 2011) non-classical mereology, and identify its methodological costs. I argue that Bennett’s mereology cannot account for the composition of structural universals because it cannot explain the mereological difference between isomeric universals, such as being butane and being isobutane. I consider responses, which come at costs to the view.
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  43. John F. Fox (1987). Truthmaker. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 65 (2):188 – 207.
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  44. Hans Johann Glock (2006). Truth in the Tractatus. Synthese 148 (2):345 - 368.
    My paper takes issue both with the standard view that the Tractatus contains a correspondence theory and with recent suggestions that it features a deflationary or semantic theory. Standard correspondence interpretations are mistaken, because they treat the isomorphism between a sentence and what it depicts as a sufficient condition of truth rather than of sense. The semantic/deflationary interpretation ignores passages that suggest some kind of correspondence theory. The official theory of truth in the Tractatus is an obtainment theory – a (...)
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  45. Patrick Greenough (2008). Indeterminate Truth. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):213-241.
    In §2-4, I survey three extant ways of making sense of indeterminate truth and find each of them wanting. All the later sections of the paper are concerned with showing that the most promising way of making sense of indeterminate truth is via either a theory of truthmaker gaps or via a theory of truthmaking gaps. The first intimations of a truthmaker–truthmaking gap theory of indeterminacy are to be found in Quine (1981). In §5, we see how Quine proposes to (...)
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  46. John Heil (1999). A World of States of Affairs. Philosophical Review 108 (1):115-118.
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  47. Herbert Hochberg (1999). D. M. Armstrong, a World of States of Affairs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), XIII + 285 Pp. [REVIEW] Noûs 33 (3):473–495.
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  48. Frank Hofmann (2006). Truthmaking, Recombination, and Facts Ontology. Philosophical Studies 128 (2):409-440.
    The idea of truthmakers is important for doing serious metaphysics, since a truthmaker principle can give us important guidance in finding out what we would like to include into our ontology. Recently, David Lewis has argued against Armstrong’s argument that a plausible truthmaker principle requires us to accept facts. I would like to take a close look at the argument. I will argue in detail that the Humean principle of recombination on which Lewis relies is not plausible (independently of the (...)
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  49. Janne Hüpakka, Markku Keinänen & Anssi Korhonen (1999). A Combinatorial Theory of Modality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (4):483 – 497.
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  50. Dale Jacquette (2010). Introduction: Logic, Meaning, and Truth-Making States of Affairs in Philosophical Semantics. Topoi 29 (2):87-89.
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