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Summary Many metaphysicians have argued that there exist facts, or states of affairs, such as the fact that Bertie is a beagle. Such facts are not linguistic entities, like sentences or propositions, but rather substantial parts of concrete reality. On some views, the fact that Bertie is a beagle involves Bertie himself and the property of being a beagle. Facts have played a prominent role in metaphysical theories, including in Russell's and Wittgenstein's logical atomism. According to many metaphysicians, facts play a crucial role in grounding truths. It is the existence of the fact that Bertie is adorable that makes the corresponding sentence or proposition true. Neither Bertie on his own nor Bertie plus property is a sufficient truthmaker, since Bertie might not have been adorable.
Key works Wittgenstein et al 1922 and Russell 1940 put facts front-and-center in their logical atomist metaphysics, but disagreed about their nature. Skyrms 1981 develops Wittgenstein’s approach to facts. Armstrong 1996 is a key recent work on facts (which Armstrong calls ‘states of affairs’) and their role in metaphysics. Neale 2001 is an extended argument against the existence of facts, based on the slingshot argument; Restall 2004 is a response to Neale’s argument. Zalta 1993 gives an account of facts based on his theory of abstract objects.
Introductions Textor forthcoming is an encyclopaedia-length article on states of affairs. Chapter 8 of Armstrong 1996 is more partisan but clearly conveys the metaphysical importance of states of affairs.
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  1. added 2020-05-18
    A Problem for Immanent Universals in States of Affairs.Michael J. Raven - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper raises a problem for the pair of views that universals are immanent in their instantiations and that these instantiations, or states of affairs, are somehow constructed from the instantiated universals. It is argued that the pair is inconsistent. The first view implies that universals are prior to states of affairs, whereas the second view implies that states of affairs are prior to universals. This paper does not attempt to solve this problem, but rather to formulate it precisely. That (...)
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  2. added 2020-03-13
    On ‘Facts Revisited’.Jennifer Hornsby - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):406-412.
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  3. added 2020-02-11
    Facing Facts.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2003 - Mind 112 (448):780-786.
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  4. added 2020-01-19
    A Description Logic Based Knowledge Representation Model for Concept Understanding.Farshad Badie - 2017 - In Jasper van den Herik, A. Rocha & J. Filipe (eds.), Agents and Artificial Intelligence. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    This research employs Description Logics in order to focus on logical description and analysis of the phenomenon of ‘concept understanding’. The article will deal with a formal-semantic model for figuring out the underlying logical assumptions of ‘concept understanding’ in knowledge representation systems. In other words, it attempts to describe a theoretical model for concept understanding and to reflect the phenomenon of ‘concept understanding’ in terminological knowledge representation systems. Finally, it will design an ontology that schemes the structure of concept understanding (...)
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  5. added 2020-01-06
    Physical Processes, Their Life and Their History.Gilles Kassel - 2020 - Applied Ontology 15 (2):109-133.
    Here, I lay the foundations of a high-level ontology of particulars whose structuring principles differ radically from the 'continuant' vs. 'occurrent' distinction traditionally adopted in applied ontology. These principles are derived from a new analysis of the ontology of “occurring” or “happening” entities. Firstly, my analysis integrates recent work on the ontology of processes, which brings them closer to objects in their mode of existence and persistence by assimilating them to continuant particulars. Secondly, my analysis distinguishes clearly between processes and (...)
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  6. added 2020-01-06
    A Historical Survey and Conceptual Account of States of Affairs.Matthew E. Roberts - 2006 - Dissertation, University of Colorado
    States of affairs are entities like snow’s being white. This dissertation encompasses two projects. First, I provide a historical survey of the concept of state of affairs as it has been used in the history of ontology. Second, I provide a novel conceptual account of states of affairs.
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  7. added 2019-12-07
    Contemporary Concepts of Time in Western Science and Philosophy.Peter J. Riggs - 2015 - In A. McGrath & M. A. Jebb (ed.), Long History, Deep Time. Canberra, Australia: ANU Press. pp. 47-66.
    The perplexing nature of time has been more contemplated, speculated, written, and debated about over the ages than virtually any other subject, with the possible exception of religion. Yet time seems more elusive than the vast majority of other metaphysical concepts. Time remains mysterious, for we lack an understanding of time at a basic physical level. Concepts of time in theories of modern physics and time as found in contemporary western analytic philosophy are discussed.
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  8. added 2019-09-23
    Why Is There Something, Rather Than Nothing?Sean M. Carroll - forthcoming - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics.
    It seems natural to ask why the universe exists at all. Modern physics suggests that the universe can exist all by itself as a self-contained system, without anything external to create or sustain it. But there might not be an absolute answer to why it exists. I argue that any attempt to account for the existence of something rather than nothing must ultimately bottom out in a set of brute facts; the universe simply is, without ultimate cause or explanation.
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  9. added 2019-09-05
    Engineering a Development Platform for Ontology-Enhanced Knowledge Applications.Gary H. Merrill - 2006 - In Raj Sharman, Rajiv Kishore & Ram Ramesh (eds.), Ontologies: A Handbook of Principles, Concepts and Applications in Information Systems. Springer.
    Babylon Knowledge Explorer (BKE) is an integrated suite of tools and information sources developed in GlaxoSmithKline's Analysis, Applications, and Research Technologies Department to support the prototyping and implementation of ontology-driven information systems and ontology-enhanced knowledge applications. In this paper we describe the current state of BKE development and focus on some of its distinctive or novel approaches, highlighting -/- * How BKE makes use of multiple large pre-existing ontologies in support of text and data mining. * The methodology employed for (...)
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  10. added 2019-08-30
    Moments as Truth Makers.Peter Simons - 1982 - In Werner Leinfellner (ed.), Language and Ontology. Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky. pp. 159-161.
    Russell wrote in 1918 in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism: -/- When I speak of a fact ... I mean the kind of thing that makes a proposition true or false. If I say 'It is raining', what I say is true in a certain condition of weather and is false in other conditions of the weather. The condition of weather that makes my state­ment true (or false as the case may be), is what I should call a 'fact'. If (...)
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  11. added 2019-06-27
    O fundamentach dla metafizycznego fundowania.Karol Lenart - 2019 - Analiza I Egzystencja 45 (2019):5-24.
    In this article I defend a view according to which facts that express metaphysical grounding are grounded in essences of properties involved into a given grounding relationship. To justify this view, first, I present some reasons for a claim that metaphysical grounding is grounded. In the next step I discuss two theories that explain what are the grounds for grounding: a theory that involves a notion of a superinternal relation and a theory that uses a notion of essences of properties. (...)
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  12. added 2019-06-18
    Introduction to the Ontology of Knowledge Iss. 20200403.Jean-Louis Boucon - 2020
    This text aims to introduce Ontology of Knowledge (OK) as an ontological model. According to OK these are not the world and its forms that make themselves intelligible to the subject but a principle of knowledge: the Logos, which gives meaning, which gives forms to a Reality that is otherwise formless, unspeakable. The Spirit, as a logical system, thus plays the central role; it creates forms, gives existence to the objects it represents, animates the representation it has of itself and (...)
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    Composed Objects, Internal Relations, and Purely Intentional Negativity. Ingarden’s Theory of States of Affairs.Arkadiusz Chrudzimski - 2010 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):63-80.
    Ingarden’s official ontology of states of affairs is by no means reductionist. According to him there are states of affairs, but they are ontologically dependent onother entities. There are certain classical arguments for the introduction of states of affairs as extra entities over and above the nominal objects, that can be labelled “the problem of composition,” “the problem of relation” and “the problem of negation.” To the first two Ingarden proposes rather traditional solutions, while his treatment of negation proves to (...)
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    A World of States of Affairs. [REVIEW]Mary Kate Mcgowan - 1999 - Dialogue 38 (3):662-663.
    Evidently, David Armstrong is not one for misleading titles. In his A World of States of Affairs, he argues for the claim that the world is entirely composed of states of affairs. Much of the book is spent on the deeply worthwhile enterprise of arguing that this states-of-affairs ontology is sufficient to provide truthmakers for all contingent, all necessary, and all modal truths. This is a formidable task for a minimalist factualist ontology. The ontology is factualist since only states of (...)
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    The Simplicity of the Tractatus.Elizabeth Anscombe - 1989 - Critica 21 (63):3-16.
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  16. added 2019-05-19
    States of Affairs.Maria Elisabeth Reicher (ed.) - 2009 - Heusenstamm: Ontos.
    States of affairs raise, among others, the following questions: What kind of entity are they (if there are any)? Are they contingent, causally efficacious, spatio-temporal and perceivable entities, or are they abstract objects? What are their constituents and their identity conditions? What are the functions that states of affairs are able to fulfil in a viable theory, and which problems and prima facie counterintuitive consequences arise out of an ontological commitment to them? Are there merely possible (non-actual, non-obtaining) states of (...)
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  17. added 2019-05-07
    Estructura.Axel Barceló - 2018 - Enciclopedia de Filosofía SEFA.
    1. La estructura como problema filosófico 2. Teorías metafísicas de la estructura 2.1. La concepción intrínseca de la estructura 2.2. Como parte sui-generis 2.3. La concepción extrínseca de la estructura 3. Conclusiones Referencias.
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  18. added 2019-04-03
    Kilka uwag o "postulowanej ontologii" teorii naukowych.Grzegorz Bugajak - 2004 - Studia Philosophiae Christianae 40 (2):315-322.
    The notion of so-called "postulated ontology" appears in the context of a well- -known thesis of the underdetermination of scientific theories by empirical data. It is argued in the paper, that the conviction of the existence of some kind of relation between a given theory and ontological ideas can be derived from this thesis, regardless of its particular form. Therefore, certain solutions to classical philosophical questions can be obtained, in principle, by careful inspection of scientific achievements. However, if the thesis (...)
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  19. added 2019-03-15
    On the Explanatory Demands of the Special Composition Question.Joshua Spencer - forthcoming - Synthese:1-14.
    The Special Composition Question may be formulated as follows: for any xs whatsoever, what are the metaphysically necessary and jointly sufficient conditions in virtue of which there is a y such that those xs compose y? But what is the scope of the sought after explanation? Should an answer merely explain compositional facts, or should it explain certain ontological facts as well? On one natural reading, the question seeks an explanation of both the compositional facts and the ontological; the question (...)
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  20. added 2019-03-03
    Searle’s Contradictory Theory of Social Reality.Danny Frederick - manuscript
    John Searle, in several articles and books, has contended that institutions incorporating status functions with deontic powers are created by collective acceptance that is not analysable into individual acceptance. I point out three self-contradictions in Searle’s exposition.
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  21. added 2019-03-03
    Are Institutions Created by Collective Acceptance?Danny Frederick - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-13.
    John Searle, in several articles and books, has contended that institutions incorporating status functions with deontic powers are created by collective acceptance. I argue that collective acceptance can create new status functions with deontic powers only if other status functions with deontic powers already exist, so that collective acceptance can create new institutions only if other institutions are presupposed. So, the claim that institutions depend upon collective acceptance involves a vicious infinite regress. I provide an example to show how an (...)
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  22. added 2019-02-01
    Grounding and Anchoring: On the Structure of Epstein’s Social Ontology.Mari Mikkola - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (2):198-216.
    ABSTRACTBrian Epstein’s The Ant Trap is a praiseworthy addition to literature on social ontology and the philosophy of social sciences. Its central aim is to challenge received views about the social world – views with which social scientists and philosophers have aimed to answer questions about the nature of social science and about those things that social sciences aim to model and explain, like social facts, objects and phenomena. The received views that Epstein critiques deal with these issues in an (...)
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  23. added 2018-11-12
    Satz Und Sachverhalt.Artur Rojszczak & Barry Smith - 2001 - Academia Verlag.
    The dominant theory of judgment in 1870 was one or other variety of combination theory: the act of judgment is an act of combining concepts or ideas in the mind of the judging subject. In the decades to follow a succession of alternative theories arose to address defects in the combination theory, starting with Bolzano’s theory of propositions in themselves, Brentano’s theory of judgment as affirmation or denial of existence, theories distinguishing judgment act from judgment content advanced by Brentano’s students (...)
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  24. added 2018-11-10
    Dalla psicologia del giudizio all'ontologia dello stato di cose.Barry Smith - 1997 - Discipline Filosofiche 7 (2):7--28.
    Logic is often conceived as a science of propositions, or of relations between propositions. There is an alternative view, however, defended by Meinong, Pfänder, Reinach and others, which sees logic as a science of “Sachverhalte” or states of affairs. A consideration of this view, which was defended especially by thinkers within the tradition of Brentano, throws new light on the problems of intentionality and of mental content. It throws light also on the development of logic in Poland. Here the influence (...)
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  25. added 2018-10-10
    Facts and Questions.Joseph Sen - 1998 - Philosophy Now 22:16-16.
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  26. added 2018-10-10
    Two Fallacious Objections to Adams' Soft/Hard Fact Distinction.David Widerker - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 57 (1):103 - 107.
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  27. added 2018-10-10
    An Explanatory Note on the Elements of Facts.John Wisdom - 1934 - Analysis 1 (2):32 -.
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  28. added 2018-10-09
    A Fragmented World.Martin A. Lipman - 2015 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    Objects often manifest themselves in incompatible ways across perspectives that are on a par. Phenomena of this kind have been responsible for crucial revisions to our conception of the world, both philosophical and scientific. The standard response to them is to deny that the way things appear from different perspectives are ways things really are out there, a response that is based on an implicit metaphysical assumption that the world is a unified whole. This dissertation explores the possibility that this (...)
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  29. added 2018-10-09
    I. The Nature of Facts.John Mackie - 1952 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):116 – 123.
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  30. added 2018-10-08
    Comment on Lowe's" Structural Model"[with Rejoinder].Gerhard Colm & Adolph Lowe - forthcoming - Social Research.
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  31. added 2018-10-08
    How Fine-Grained is Reality?Peter Fritz - 2017 - Filosofisk Supplement 13 (2):52-57.
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  32. added 2018-10-08
    Statements of Fact: Whose? Where? When?Lorraine Code - 2000 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 30 (sup1):175-208.
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  33. added 2018-10-08
    More on Brute Facts.Neil Feit - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (4):625 – 630.
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  34. added 2018-10-08
    A Matter of Fact.Lawrence E. Johnson - 1977 - Review of Metaphysics 30 (3):508 - 518.
    In some part, the ideas presented here are anticipated in a paper by Frank Tillman, through I present a broader theory intended to have utility in connection with the theory of truth.
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  35. added 2018-10-08
    Fact and Theory.R. H. K. - 1970 - Review of Metaphysics 23 (4):746-746.
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  36. added 2018-10-08
    On Brute Facts.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Analysis 18 (3):69 - 72.
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  37. added 2018-10-08
    The Place of Value in a World of Facts.H. A. L. & Wolfgang Kohler - 1939 - Journal of Philosophy 36 (4):107.
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  38. added 2018-09-13
    The Interplay Between Models and Observations.Claudio Masolo, Alessander Botti Benevides & Daniele Porello - 2018 - Applied Ontology 13 (1):41-71.
    We propose a formal framework to examine the relationship between models and observations. To make our analysis precise,models are reduced to first-order theories that represent both terminological knowledge – e.g., the laws that are supposed to regulate the domain under analysis and that allow for explanations, predictions, and simulations – and assertional knowledge – e.g., information about specific entities in the domain of interest. Observations are introduced into the domain of quantification of a distinct first-order theory that describes their nature (...)
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  39. added 2018-09-06
    Agglomerative Algebras.Jeremy Goodman - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 48 (4):631-648.
    This paper investigates a generalization of Boolean algebras which I call agglomerative algebras. It also outlines two conceptions of propositions according to which they form an agglomerative algebra but not a Boolean algebra with respect to conjunction and negation.
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  40. added 2018-09-06
    The Facts in Logical Space By Jason Turner. [REVIEW]Luca Incurvati - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):367-371.
    This is a review of 'The Facts in Logical Space' by Jason Turner.
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  41. added 2018-08-16
    Are There States of Affairs? Yes.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Elizabeth Barnes (ed.), Current Controversies in Metaphysics. New York: Routledge Press. pp. 81-91.
    This paper makes a case that we should believe in the existence of worldly states of affairs.
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  42. added 2018-08-16
    Subjective Facts.Tim Crane - 2003 - In Hallvard Lillehammer & Gonzalo Rodriguez Pereyra (eds.), Real Metaphysics. London: Routledge. pp. 68-83.
    An important theme running through D.H. Mellor’s work is his realism, or as I shall call it, his objectivism: the idea that reality as such is how it is, regardless of the way we represent it, and that philosophical error often arises from confusing aspects of our subjective representation of the world with aspects of the world itself. Thus central to Mellor’s work on time has been the claim that the temporal A-series (previously called ‘tense’) is unreal while the B-series (...)
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  43. added 2018-08-13
    Review - Bare Facts And Naked Truths. [REVIEW]Bo R. Meinertsen - 2006 - Metapsychology Online Reviews 10.
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  44. added 2018-07-29
    Metaphysics of States of Affairs: Truthmaking, Universals, and a Farewell to Bradley’s Regress.Bo R. Meinertsen - 2018 - Springer Singapore.
    This book addresses the metaphysics of Armstrongian states of affairs, i.e. instantiations of naturalist universals by particulars. The author argues that states of affairs are the best candidate for truthmakers and, in the spirit of logical atomism, that we need no molecular truthmakers for positive truths. In the book's context, this has the pleasing result that there are no molecular states of affairs. Following this account of truthmaking, the author first shows that the particulars in (first-order) states of affairs are (...)
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  45. added 2018-06-27
    Fact Fusion, Fact Fission, and the Slingshot.Justin Robert Clarke - 2018 - Philosophical Forum 49 (2):261-277.
    If certain versions of the correspondence theory of truth are correct, then truth can be informatively defined as correspondence to facts; facts would be truth-makers, and we could explain truth in terms of truth-bearers, correspondence, and truth-makers. I explain how slingshot arguments work generally, as collapsing arguments (regardless of their targets). Working through the slingshots of Davidson, and Gödel, I claim that Davidson’s slingshot involves dubitable premises, but that Gödel’s slingshot is terminal to certain versions of the correspondence theory, as (...)
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  46. added 2018-06-15
    Reasons and Beliefs.Attila Tanyi & Matteo Morganti - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Research 44:179-196.
    The present paper identifies a challenge for a certain view of practical reasons, according to which practical reasons (both normative and motivating) are states of affairs. The problem is that those who endorse such a view seem forced to maintain both a) that the contents of beliefs are states of affairs and b) that the conception according to which the contents of beliefs are states of affairs is outlandish. The suggestion is put forward that, by distinguishing the content of a (...)
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  47. added 2018-06-01
    The Facts in Logical Space. [REVIEW]Alessandro Torza - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (2):273-277.
  48. added 2018-05-08
    What Truth Is.Mark Jago - 2018 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Mark Jago presents and defends a novel theory of what truth is, in terms of the metaphysical notion of truthmaking. This is the relation which holds between a truth and some entity in the world, in virtue of which that truth is true. By coming to an understanding of this relation, he argues, we gain better insight into the metaphysics of truth. The first part of the book discusses the property being true, and how we should understand it in terms (...)
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  49. added 2018-03-30
    Urteilstheorien Und Sachverhalte.Artur Rojszczak & Barry Smith - 2001 - In Satz Und Sachverhalt. Academia Verlag. pp. 9-72.
    The dominant theory of judgment in 1870 was one or other variety of combination theory: the act of judgment is an act of combining concepts or ideas in the mind of the judging subject. In the decades to follow a succession of alternative theories arose to address defects in the combination theory, starting with Bolzano’s theory of propositions in themselves, Brentano’s theory of judgment as affirmation or denial of existence, theories distinguishing judgment act from judgment content advanced by Brentano’s students (...)
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  50. added 2018-02-27
    Molnar on Truthmakers for Negative Truths.Nils Kürbis - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (2):251-257.
    Molnar argues that the problem of truthmakers for negative truths arises because we tend to accept four metaphysical principles that entail that all negative truths have positive truthmakers. This conclusion, however, already follows from only three of Molnar´s metaphysical principles. One purpose of this note is to set the record straight. I provide an alternative reading of two of Molnar´s principles on which they are all needed to derive the desired conclusion. Furthermore, according to Molnar, the four principles may be (...)
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