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Truthmakers

Edited by Jamin Asay (University of Hong Kong)
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Summary Truthmakers are the things in the world in virtue of which truth bearers are true. For example, any individual human makes it true that humans exist. What's more controversial is what the truthmakers are for counterfactuals, and claims involving the past, modality, ethics, mathematics, and many others. Truthmaker theory explores the relationship between what is true and what exists. Central questions for truthmaker theory include whether or not all truths have truthmakers, what the nature of the truthmaking relation is, and what sorts of objects are needed to serve as truthmakers. The notion of truthmaking has been used to argue for particular kinds of ontologies (such as the existence of states of affairs or tropes), argue against certain metaphysical views (such as presentism and nominalism), and elucidate issues about the nature of truth (such as how truthmaker theory is related to correspondence theory).
Key works Contemporary truthmaker theory draws historical inspiration from Russell 1985. Classic papers on truthmaker theory include Mulligan et al 1984 and Fox 1987. David Armstrong has long advocated the idea of truthmaking, and Armstrong 2004 presents his most fully developed theory of truthmaking. Merricks 2007 is the most comprehensive critique of truthmaker theory. Classic papers concerned with the question of whether all truths require truthmakers include Molnar 2000 and Lewis 2001Restall 1996 discusses the nature of the truthmaking relation.
Introductions Rodriguez-Pereyra 2006 is an excellent general introduction to truthmaker theory. Another accessible resource that covers a number of contemporary issues in truthmaker theory is Fraser MacBride's Stanford Encyclopedia article (MacBride 2013). Caplan & Sanson 2011 introduces the consequences of truthmaking for presentism. Lowe & Rami 2009 collects a number of classic papers on the subject.
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  1. Takeshi Akiba (2011). Why Should the Truthmaker Principle Be Restricted? Kagaku Tetsugaku 44 (2):115-134.
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  2. Peter Alward (2004). Review of D. M. Armstrong, Truth and Truthmakers. [REVIEW] Disputatio 1 (17):74-78.
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  3. Staffan Angere (forthcoming). The Logical Structure of Truthmaking. Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-24.
    This paper is an investigation in the use of truthmaker theory for exploring the relation of logic to world, and as a tool for metaphysics. A variant of truthmaker theory, which we call the simple theory, is defined and defended against objections. It is characterized formally, and its central features are derived. As part of this project, we give a formal metaphysics based on nondeterministic necessitation relations among possible entities. In what is called the fundamental theorem of truthmaking, it is (...)
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  4. Elizabeth Anscombe (2000). 'Making True'. In Roger Teichmann (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press. 1-.
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  5. Chrudzimski Arkadiusz (2002). Two Concepts of Trope. Grazer Philosophische Studien 64 (1):137-155.
    The concept of a trope (understood as an individual property and not as a figure of speech) plays an important role in contemporary analytical metaphysics. It is, however, often far from clear what the logic of this concept really is. Indeed, there are two equally important intuitions underlying the concept of trope, two intuitions that generate two quite different conceptual frameworks. According to the first intuition, a trope is a particularised property – a property taken as an individual aspect of (...)
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  6. Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge (2010). Truthmakers, Paradox and Plausibility. Analysis 70 (1):11-23.
    In a series of articles, Dan Lopez De Sa and Elia Zardini argue that several theorists have recently employed instances of paradoxical reasoning, while failing to see its problematic nature because it does not immediately (or obviously) yield inconsistency. In contrast, Lopez De Sa and Zardini claim that resultant inconsistency is not a necessary condition for paradoxicality. It is our contention that, even given their broader understanding of paradox, their arguments fail to undermine the instances of reasoning they attack, either (...)
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  7. D. M. Armstrong (2010). Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    David Armstrong sets out his metaphysical system in a set of concise and lively chapters each dealing with one aspect of the world.
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  8. D. M. Armstrong (2007). Truthmakers for Negative Truths, and for Truths of Mere Possibility. In Jean-Maurice Monnoyer (ed.), Metaphysics and Truthmakers. Ontos Verlag. 99.
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  9. D. M. Armstrong (2007). Reply to Keller. In Jean-Maurice Monnoyer (ed.), Metaphysics and Truthmakers. Ontos Verlag. 18--157.
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  10. D. M. Armstrong (2006). Reply to Cheyne and Pigden. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):267 – 268.
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  11. D. M. Armstrong (2006). Reply to Efird and Stoneham. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):281 – 283.
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  12. D. M. Armstrong (2006). Reply to Heil. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):245 – 247.
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  13. D. M. Armstrong (2006). Reply to Rissler. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):211 – 212.
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  14. D. M. Armstrong (2004). Truth and Truthmakers. Cambridge University Press.
    Truths are determined not by what we believe, but by the way the world is. Or so realists about truth believe. Philosophers call such theories correspondence theories of truth. Truthmaking theory, which now has many adherents among contemporary philosophers, is the most recent development of a realist theory of truth, and in this book D. M. Armstrong offers the first full-length study of this theory. He examines its applications to different sorts of truth, including contingent truths, modal truths, truths about (...)
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  15. D. M. Armstrong (2000). Difficult Cases in the Theory of Truthmaking. The Monist 83 (1):150-160.
    Analyzes difficult case in the theory of truthmaking. Account on the notion of a truthmaker by philosopher Bertrand Russell; Context of the correspondence theory of truth; Requisites of a truthmaker; Discussion on negative truths, universally quantified truths and modal truths.
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  16. 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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  17. D. M. Armstrong (1993). A World of States of Affairs. Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.
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  18. David Armstrong (2005). Reply to Simons and Mumford. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):271 – 276.
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  19. David Armstrong (2003). Truthmakers for Modal Truths. In Hallvard Lillehammer Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (ed.), Real Metaphysics: Essays in Honour of D. H. Mellor. Routledge. 12-24.
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  20. David M. Armstrong (2002). Vérifacteurs pour des vérités modales. Revue de Métaphysique Et de Morale (2):491-507.
    Revenant sur la question des vérifacteurs, D. Armstrong demande ici d'abord comment concilier le maximalisme (toute vérité a un vérifacteur) et la relation de nécessitation (toute vérité contingente peut servir de vérifacteur pour une vérité nécessaire quelconque). L'A. examine quel sens métaphysique donner à la notion d'implication, et s'il y a un sens à admettre une contingence de re. Il traite à ce niveau des possibilités pures, examine le cas des aliens chez <span class='Hi'>David</span> Lewis, puis pose la question de (...)
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  21. Jamin Asay (2014). Against Truth. Erkenntnis 79 (1):147-164.
    I argue that there is no metaphysically substantive property of truth. Although many take this thesis to be central to deflationism about truth, it is sometimes left unclear what a metaphysically substantive property of truth is supposed to be. I offer a precise account by relying on the distinction between the property and concept of truth. Metaphysical substantivism is the view that the property of truth is a sparse (non-abundant) property, regardless of how one understands the nature of sparse properties (...)
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  22. Jamin Asay (2013). Truthmaking, Metaethics, and Creeping Minimalism. Philosophical Studies 163 (1):213-232.
    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 (...)
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  23. Jamin Asay (2013). Three Paradigms of Scientific Realism: A Truthmaking Account. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):1-21.
    This paper investigates the nature of scientific realism. I begin by considering the anomalous fact that Bas van Fraassen’s account of scientific realism is strikingly similar to Arthur Fine’s account of scientific non-realism. To resolve this puzzle, I demonstrate how the two theorists understand the nature of truth and its connection to ontology, and how that informs their conception of the realism debate. I then argue that the debate is much better captured by the theory of truthmaking, and not by (...)
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  24. Jamin Asay (2013). Truthmaking for Modal Skeptics. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):303-312.
    Standard truthmaker theory has generally assumed a realist account of de re modality and essences. But there are reasons to be skeptical about such a view, and for considering antirealist alternatives. Can truthmaker theory survive in the face of such skepticism? I argue that it can, but that only certain antirealist perspectives on de re modality are acceptable for truthmaker theory. In particular, either a quasi-realist or conventionalist account of de re modality is needed to provide the best account of (...)
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  25. Jamin Asay (2012). A Truthmaking Account of Realism and Anti-Realism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):373-394.
    Realism and anti-realism about a domain of thought are metaphysical theses that involve the natures of the truthmakers in that domain and the truthmaking relation that is operant in the domain. Truthmaker theory is not exclusive territory for realists: anti-realist views are also best understood in terms of how they understand truthmakers and truthmaking. In particular, I explore the possibility of projectivist truthmaking, and show how it makes sense of quasi-realism. In addition to critically examining some extant accounts of the (...)
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  26. 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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  27. Jamin Asay & Sam Baron (2014). The Hard Road to Presentism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1).
    It is a common criticism of presentism – the view according to which only the present exists – that it errs against truthmaker theory. Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection against presentism proceed by restricting truthmaker maximalism (the view that all truths have truthmakers), maintaining that propositions concerning the past are not made true by anything, but are true nonetheless. Support for this view is typically garnered from the case for negative existential propositions, which some philosophers contend are exceptions (...)
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  28. Jamin Asay & Sam Baron (2012). Unstable Truthmaking. Thought 1 (3):230-238.
    Recent discussion of the problem of negative existentials for truthmaker theory suggests a modest solution to the problem: fully general negative truths like do not require truthmakers, whereas partially general negative truths like do. This modest solution provides a third alternative to the two standard solutions to the problem of negative existentials: the endorsement of truthmaker gaps, and the appeal to contentious ontological posits. We argue that this modest, middle-ground position is inconsistent with certain plausible general principles for truthmaking. The (...)
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  29. Christopher J. Austin (2014). The Truthmaking Argument Against Dispositionalism. Ratio 27 (3).
    According to dispositionalism, de re modality is grounded in the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties. Those properties are able to serve as the ground of de re modal truths, it is said, because they bear a special relation to counterfactual conditionals, one of truthmaking. However, because dispositionalism purports to ground de re modality only on the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties, it had better be the case that they do not play that truthmaking role merely in virtue of their being (...)
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  30. J. L. Austin (1961). Unfair to Facts. In J. O. Urmson & G. J. Warnock (eds.), Philosophical Papers. Clarendon Press.
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  31. Murat Baç (2003). The Ontological Status of Truthmakers: An Alternative to Tractarianism and Metaphysical Anti-Realism. Metaphysica 4 (2):5-28.
    This paper aims to describe and defend a Pluralistic Kantian, as opposed to a Tractarian, version of realism vis-à-vis the ontological basis of truthmaking relations. One underlying assumption of my position is that propositional truth is a robust property and, consequently, is normatively distinct from epistemic justification. Still, it does not follow from this realist contention that truth is generated ontologically, viz., independently of cognitive and intensional contributions of human agents. This point brings my view notably close to H. Putnam’s (...)
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  32. Murat Baç & Renée Elio (2004). Scheme-Based Alethic Realism: Agency, the Environment, and Truthmaking. Minds and Machines 14 (2):173-196.
    This paper presents a position called Scheme-based Alethic Realism, which reconciles a realist position on the nature of truth with a pluralistic Kantian perspective that allows for multiple environments in which truthmaking relationships are established. We argue that truthmaking functions are constrained by a stable phenomenal world and a stable cognitive architecture. This account takes truth as normatively distinct from epistemic justification while relativizing the truth conditions of our statements to what we call Frameworks. The pluralistic aspect allows that these (...)
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  33. Alex Baia (2012). Presentism and the Grounding of Truth. Philosophical Studies 159 (3):341-356.
    Many philosophers believe that truth is grounded: True propositions depend for their truth on the world. Some philosophers believe that truth’s grounding has implications for our ontology of time. If truth is grounded, then truth supervenes on being. But if truth supervenes on being, then presentism is false since, on presentism, e.g., that there were dinosaurs fails to supervene on the whole of being plus the instantiation pattern of properties and relations. Call this the grounding argument against presentism. Many presentists (...)
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  34. 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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  35. Stephen Barker (2014). Semantic Paradox and Alethic Undecidability. Analysis 74 (2):201-209.
    I use the principle of truth-maker maximalism to provide a new solution to the semantic paradoxes. According to the solution, AUS, its undecidable whether paradoxical sentences are grounded or ungrounded. From this it follows that their alethic status is undecidable. We cannot assert, in principle, whether paradoxical sentences are true, false, either true or false, neither true nor false, both true and false, and so on. AUS involves no ad hoc modification of logic, denial of the T-schema's validity, or obvious (...)
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  36. Stephen Barker (2012). Expressivism About Making and Truth-Making. In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. 272.
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  37. Stephen Barker (2012). Truth-Making and the Alethic Undecidability of the Liar. Discusiones Filosóficas 13 (21):13 - 31.
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  38. Sam Baron (2013). Presentism, Truth and Supervenience. Ratio 26 (1):3-18.
    Truthmaker theory is commonly thought to pose a challenge for presentism. Presentism seems to lack the ontological and ideological resources required to adequately underwrite the truth of propositions concerning the past. That is because if presentism is true, then the past does not exist. According to the standard response to this challenge, the truth of propositions concerning the past supervenes on surrogate entities that ‘stand proxy’ for past things. I argue that in order for the standard response to the truthmaker (...)
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  39. Sam Baron (2013). Talking About the Past. Erkenntnis 78 (3):547-560.
    In this paper I consider the aboutness objection against standard truth-preserving presentism (STP). According to STP: (1) past-directed propositions (propositions that seem to be about the past) like , are sometimes true (2) truth supervenes on being and (3) the truth of past-directed propositions does not supervene on how things were, in the past. According to the aboutness objection (3) is implausible, given (1) and (2): for any proposition, P, P ought to be true in virtue of what P is (...)
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  40. Sam Baron (2013). Tensed Supervenience: A No‐Go for Presentism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (3):383-401.
    Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection to presentism employ a fundamentally tensed account of the relationship between truth and being. On this view, the truth of a proposition concerning the past supervenes on how things are, in the present, along with how things were, in the past. This tensed approach to truthmaking arises in response to pressure placed on presentists to abandon the standard response to the truthmaker objection, whereby one invokes presently existing entities as the supervenience base for (...)
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  41. Sam Baron (2013). A Truthmaker Indispensability Argument. Synthese 190 (12):2413-2427.
    Recently, nominalists have made a case against the Quine–Putnam indispensability argument for mathematical Platonism by taking issue with Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment. In this paper I propose and defend an indispensability argument founded on an alternative criterion of ontological commitment: that advocated by David Armstrong. By defending such an argument I place the burden back onto the nominalist to defend her favourite criterion of ontological commitment and, furthermore, show that criterion cannot be used to formulate a plausible form of (...)
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  42. Sam Baron, Kristie Miller & James Norton (2014). Groundless Truth. Inquiry 57 (2):175-195.
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  43. JC Beall (2000). On Truthmakers for Negative Truths. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (2):264 – 268.
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  44. Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (2005). Introduction. In Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.), Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon.
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  45. 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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  46. Karen Bennett (2011). Truthmaking and Case-Making. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):187-195.
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  47. Michael Bergmann & Jeffrey E. Brower (2006). A Theistic Argument Against Platonism (and in Support of Truthmakers and Divine Simplicity). Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 2:357-386.
    Predication is an indisputable part of our linguistic behavior. By contrast, the metaphysics of predication has been a matter of dispute ever since antiquity. According to Plato—or at least Platonism, the view that goes by Plato’s name in contemporary philosophy—the truths expressed by predications such as “Socrates is wise” are true because there is a subject of predication (e.g., Socrates), there is an abstract property or universal (e.g., wisdom), and the subject exemplifies the property.1 This view is supposed to be (...)
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  48. Scott Berman (2013). A Platonic Theory of Truthmaking. Metaphysica 14 (1):109-125.
    A Platonic explanation of non-modal and modal truths is explained and defended using non-spatiotemporal entities as their truthmakers. It is argued, further, that this theory is parsimonious, naturalistic, and ontologically serious. These features should commend the view to a wide swath of philosophers.
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  49. Sven Bernecker (2011). Keeping Track of the Gettier Problem. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (2):127-152.
    This paper argues that for someone to know proposition p inferentially it is not enough that his belief in p and his justification for believing p covary with the truth of p through a sphere of possibilities. A further condition on inferential knowledge is that p's truth-maker is identical with, or causally related to, the state of affairs the justification is grounded in. This position is dubbed ‘identificationism.’.
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  50. John Bigelow (1996). Presentism and Properties. Philosophical Perspectives 10 (Metaphysics):35-52.
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