Jamin Asay Lingnan University
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  • Faculty, Lingnan University
  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2011.

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About me
I am currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I work mostly in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science. My current research focuses on defending the primitivist theory of truth; my book "The Primitivist Theory of Truth" was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013 as part of its Cambridge Studies in Philosophy series. In my dissertation, I developed a truthmaker-based approach to the theories of truth and realism; much of this work now also appears in my published papers. I have also published on the topics of deflationary truth, moral realism, scientific realism, Tarski, modality, theories of ontological commitment, presentism, and other matters concerning truthmaker theory. Here at PhilPapers I am the editor of "Truthmakers" and "Primitivism about Truth".
My works
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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Jamin Asay (2013). Primitive Truth. Dialectica 67 (4):503-519.
    Conceptual primitivism is the view that truth is among our most basic and fundamental concepts. It cannot be defined, analyzed, or reduced into concepts that are more fundamental. Primitivism is opposed to both traditional attempts at defining truth (in terms of correspondence, coherence, or utility) and deflationary theories that argue that the notion of truth is exhausted by means of the truth schema. Though primitivism might be thought of as a view of last resort, I believe that the view is (...)
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  4. Jamin Asay (2013). Tarski and Primitivism About Truth. Philosophers' Imprint 13 (17):1-18.
    Tarski’s pioneering work on truth has been thought by some to motivate a robust, correspondence-style theory of truth, and by others to motivate a deflationary attitude toward truth. I argue that Tarski’s work suggests neither; if it motivates any contemporary theory of truth, it motivates conceptual primitivism, the view that truth is a fundamental, indefinable concept. After outlining conceptual primitivism and Tarski’s theory of truth, I show how the two approaches to truth share much in common. While Tarski does not (...)
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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Jamin Asay (2013). The Primitivist Theory of Truth. Cambridge University Press.
    Jamin Asay's book offers a fresh and daring perspective on the age-old question 'What is truth?', with a comprehensive articulation and defence of primitivism, the view that truth is a fundamental and indefinable concept. Often associated with Frege and the early Russell and Moore, primitivism has been largely absent from the larger conversation surrounding the nature of truth. Asay defends primitivism by drawing on a range of arguments from metaphysics, philosophy of language and philosophy of logic, and navigates between correspondence (...)
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  9. 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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  10. Jamin Asay (2012). Review of Truth, Reference and Realism. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (3):345-348.
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 26, Issue 3, Page 345-348, September 2012.
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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. Jamin Asay (2010). How to Express Ontological Commitment in the Vernacular. Philosophia Mathematica 18 (3):293-310.
    According to the familiar Quinean understanding of ontological commitment, (1) one undertakes ontological commitments only via theoretical regimentations, and (2) ontological commitments are to be identified with the domain of a theory’s quantifiers. Jody Azzouni accepts (1), but rejects (2). Azzouni accepts (1) because he believes that no vernacular expression carries ontological commitments. He rejects (2) by locating a theory’s commitments with the extension of an existence predicate. I argue that Azzouni’s two theses undermine each other. If ontological commitments follow (...)
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  14. Jamin Asay (2009). Constructive Empiricism and Deflationary Truth. Philosophy of Science 76 (4):423-443.
    Constructive empiricists claim to offer a reconstruction of the aim and practice of science without adopting all the metaphysical commitments of scientific realism. Deflationists about truth boast of the ability to offer a full account of the nature of truth without adopting the metaphysical commitments accompanying substantive accounts. Though the two views would form an attractive package, I argue that the pairing is not possible: constructive empiricism requires a substantive account of truth. I articulate what sort of account of truth (...)
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