The reality of absences

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):21 – 37 (2006)
Abstract
In this paper, I make a contribution to a naturalistically-minded theory of truthmakers by proposing a solution to the nasty problem of truthmakers for negative truths. After formulating the difficulty, I consider and reject a number of solutions to the problem, including Armstrong's states of affairs of totality, incompatibility accounts, and JC Beall's polarity view. I then defend the position that absences of truthmakers are real and are responsible for making negative truths true (and positive falsehoods false). According to the positive account of absences I offer, absences of contingent states of affairs are causally relevant mind-independent features of the physical world, located within space and time, and capable of being discovered by scientific inquiry. Recognition of the reality of absences strengthens truthmaker theory as a naturalistic metaphysics, as truth and falsity of each and every contingent proposition finds an ontological grounding in some region of the physical universe.
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References found in this work BETA
D. M. Armstrong (1997). Reply to Martin. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (2):214 – 217.
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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Citations of this work BETA
Randolph Clarke (2012). Absence of Action. Philosophical Studies 158 (2):361-376.
Joel Katzav (2013). Dispositions, Causes, Persistence As Is, and General Relativity. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):41 - 57.
Louise Richardson (2010). Seeing Empty Space. European Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):227-243.

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