Truthmakers: A tale of two explanatory projects

Synthese 181 (3):413-431 (2011)
Truthmakers are supposed to explain the truth of propositions, but it is unclear what kind of explanation truthmakers can provide. In this paper, I argue that ‘truthmaker explanations’ conflate two different explanatory projects. The first project is essentially concerned with truth, while the second project is concerned with reductive explanation. It is the latter project, I maintain, which is really central to truthmaking theory. On this basis, a general account of truthmaking can be formulated, which, when combined with a specific theory of reduction (the ‘conceptual entailment approach’), yields a new analysis of truthmaking. This analysis is intuitively appealing and avoids the problem of necessary truths, which poses a serious obstacle for standard accounts.
Keywords Truthmakers  Explanation  Ontology  Truth  Reduction
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-010-9716-4
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