Indeterminate truth

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):213-241 (2008)
Abstract
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 solve Unger’s problem of the many via positing the possibility of groundless truth. In §6, I elaborate the truthmaker gap model of indeterminacy first sketched by Sorensen (2001, ch.11) and use it to give a reductive analysis of indeterminate truth. In §7, I briefly assess what kind of formal framework can best express the possibility of truthmaker gaps. In §8, I contrast what I dub ‘the ordinary conception of worldly indeterminacy’ with Williamson’s conception of worldly indeterminacy. In §9, I show how one can distinguish linguistic from worldly indeterminacy on a truthmaker gap conception. In §10, I briefly sketch the relationship between truthmaker gaps and ignorance. In §11, I assess whether a truthmaker gap conception of vagueness is really just a form of epistemicism. In §12, I propose that truthmaker gaps can yield a plausible model of (semantic) presupposition failure. In §13, in response to the worry that a truthmaker gap conception of indeterminacy is both parochial and controversial—since it commits us to an implausibly strong theory of truthmaking—I set forth a truthmaking gap conception of indeterminacy. In §14, I answer the worry that groundless truths, of whatever species, are just unacceptably queer. A key part of this answer is that a truthmaker–truthmaking gap model of indeterminacy turns out to be considerably less queer than any model of indeterminacy which gives up on Tarski’s T-schema for truth (and cognate schemas).
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