Making sense of truth-makers

Topoi 29 (2):147-151 (2010)
Abstract
This essay argues that propositions are made true by facts. A proposition is the sense expressed by a statement (sentence token used to make a truth claim). Facts are positive or negative constitutive properties of the domain of discourse (usually the actual world). The presence of horses is a positive constitutive property of the world; the absence of unicorns is a negative one. This notion of constitutive properties accords well with the Hume-Kant claim that existence is not a property of any individual said to exist. While Frege held existence to be a property of concepts and Russell held it to be a property of propositional functions, our view sees existence as a property of a domain of discourse. To say that Native Dancer exists is simply to say that the world is characterized by the presence of Native Dancer; to say that Pegasus does not exist is to say the world is characterized by the absence of Pegasus. Such properties of presence and absence are facts. Facts make true propositions true; nothing makes false propositions false (they simply fail to be made true). Facts are not items in the world; they are (constitutive) properties of the world.
Keywords Constituents  Domains  Existence  Fact  Properties  Sense  Truth
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