Truthmakers

Edited by Jamin Asay (University of Hong Kong)
About this topic
Summary Truthmakers are the things in the world in virtue of which truth bearers are true. For example, any individual human makes it true that humans exist. What's more controversial is what the truthmakers are for counterfactuals, and claims involving the past, modality, ethics, mathematics, and many others. Truthmaker theory explores the relationship between what is true and what exists. Central questions for truthmaker theory include whether or not all truths have truthmakers, what the nature of the truthmaking relation is, and what sorts of objects are needed to serve as truthmakers. The notion of truthmaking has been used to argue for particular kinds of ontologies (such as the existence of states of affairs or tropes), argue against certain metaphysical views (such as presentism and nominalism), and elucidate issues about the nature of truth (such as how truthmaker theory is related to correspondence theory).
Key works Contemporary truthmaker theory draws historical inspiration from Russell 1940. Classic papers on truthmaker theory include Mulligan et al 1984 and Fox 1987. David Armstrong has long advocated the idea of truthmaking, and Armstrong 2004 presents his most fully developed theory of truthmaking. Merricks 2007 is the most comprehensive critique of truthmaker theory. Two recent monographs that defend different approaches to truthmaking include Jago 2018 and Asay 2020. Classic papers concerned with the question of whether all truths require truthmakers include Molnar 2000 and Lewis 2001Restall 1996 discusses the nature of the truthmaking relation.
Introductions Rodriguez-Pereyra 2006 is an excellent general introduction to truthmaker theory. Two accessible on-line resources that cover a number of contemporary issues in truthmaker theory are Fraser MacBride's Stanford Encyclopedia article (MacBride 2013) and Asay 2014. Caplan & Sanson 2011 introduces the consequences of truthmaking for presentism. Lowe & Rami 2008 collects a number of classic papers on the subject. Simons 2000 presents an accessible dialogue between different philosophers discussing maximalism about truthmaking.
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  1. Truth-Maker Theory and the Stopped Clock: Why Heathcote Fails to Solve the Gettier Problem.Qilin Li - manuscript
    Adrian Heathcote has proposed a truth-making account of knowledge that combines traditional conditions of justified true belief with the truth-making condition, which would jointly provide us with the sufficient condition of knowledge, and this truth-maker account of knowledge in turn explains why a gettiered justified true belief fails to be regarded as a genuine instance of knowledge. In this paper, by the comparison of two different casual models that are illustrated by the thermometer and the clock respectively, however, it will (...)
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  2. A Quantificational Analysis of the Liar Paradox.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    It seems that the most common strategy to solve the liar paradox is to argue that liar sentences are meaningless and, consequently, truth-valueless. The other main option that has grown in recent years is the dialetheist view that treats liar sentences as meaningful, truth-apt and true. In this paper I will offer a new approach that does not belong in either camp. I hope to show that liar sentences can be interpreted as meaningful, truth-apt and false, but without engendering any (...)
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  3. The Best Thing About the Deflationary Theory of Truth.Jamin Asay - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    I argue that deflationary theories of truth reveal an important lesson for the broader theory of truth: although the notion of truthmaking has played an essential role in many traditional theories of truth, it can be separated from and survive the rejection of substantive theories of truth. I argue that many of the traditional substantive theories of truth (correspondence, coherence, pragmatic) are unified in defining truth in terms of the ontological grounds (or truthmakers) that are needed to account for truth. (...)
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  4. Much Ado About Aboutness.Sam Baron, Reginald Mary Chua, Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-29.
    Strong non-maximalism holds that some truths require no ontological ground of any sort. Strong non-maximalism allows one to accept that some propositions are true without being forced to endorse any corresponding ontological commitments. We show that there is a version of truthmaker theory available—anti-aboutness truthmaking—that enjoys the dialectical benefits of the strong non-maximalist’s position. According to anti-aboutness truthmaking, all truths require grounds, but a proposition need not be grounded in the very thing(s) that the proposition is about. We argue that (...)
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  5. On the Very Possibility of Historiography.Stephen Boulter - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
    _ Source: _Page Count 25 The familiar challenges to historiographical knowledge turn on epistemological concerns having to do with the unobservability of historical events, or with the problem of establishing a sufficiently strong inferential connection between evidence and the historiographical claim one wishes to convert from a true belief into knowledge. This paper argues that these challenges miss a deeper problem, viz., the lack of obvious truth-makers for historiographical claims. The metaphysical challenge to historiography is that reality does not appear (...)
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  6. An Invitation to Truthmaker Theory.Gustavo Cevolani - forthcoming - Metascience:1-4.
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  7. Introducción a la Metafísica.Samuele Chilovi - forthcoming - In D. Lagier & G. Lariguet (eds.), Filosofía para Juristas. Una Introducción.
  8. Fundamental Truthmakers.Javier Cumpa & Otavio Bueno (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  9. Why Truthmaker Theory Cannot Save Divine Simplicity.Dean Da Vee - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-18.
    Although the doctrine of divine simplicity has faced substantial criticism in recent years, Jeffrey Brower has recently offered a novel defense of the view by appealing to contemporary truthmaker theory. In this paper, I will argue that Brower’s defense of divine simplicity requires an implausible account of how truthmaking works for essential intrinsic predications. I will first argue that, unless Brower is willing to make an ad hoc exception for how truthmaking works in God’s case, he is committed to saying (...)
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  10. Truthmakers or truthmaking supervenience?Michael De - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    I argue that counterpart theory is incompatible with truthmaking supervenience, the thesis that truth supervenes on what there is and how things are. I further argue that David Lewis’s “qua” strategy for providing ontologically innocent and Humean-friendly truthmakers for predications faces a number of difficulties. I propose and assess various solutions to those difficulties, each of which comes at the cost of sacrificing one of the two main virtues of the qua strategy.
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  11. On Metaphysics’ Independence From Truthmaking.Aldo Filomeno - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    This paper aims to support the claim that analytic metaphysics should be more cautious regarding the constraints that truthmaking considerations impose on metaphysical theories. To this end, I reply to Briggs and Forbes (2017), who argue that certain truthmaking commitments are incurred by a Humean meta- physics and by the Growing-Block theory. First, I argue that Humean Superve- nience does not need to endorse a standard version of truthmaker maximalism. This undermines Briggs and Forbes’s conclusion that Humean Supervenience and the (...)
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  12. Verisimilitude and Truthmaking.Kit Fine - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-38.
    I provide and defend a hyper-intensional account of verisimilitude within the truthmaker framework.
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  13. Presentism, Truthmaking, and the Nature of Truth.Aaron M. Griffith - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
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  14. Seemings, Truth-Makers, and Epistemic Justification.Eilidh Harrison - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    The notion of presentational phenomenology has powerful epistemological implications. According to Elijah Chudnoff, an experience has presentational phenomenology with respect to p insofar as that experience makes it seem to you that p, and makes it seem as if you are aware of a truth-maker for p. Chudnoff argues that only experiences that have presentational phenomenology with respect to p provide immediate prima facie justification to the belief that p. That is, my visual experience of the orange provides me with (...)
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  15. Which Fitch?Mark Jago - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Jago uses a Fitch-style argument in an attempt to demonstrate that every truth has a truthmaker (maximalism). But Trueman shows there’s a parallel argument, this time to the conclusion that no truth has a truthmaker. Since we can’t accept both, we must ditch at least one Fitch. But which?
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  16. Review of The Metaphysics of Relations, Edited by Marmodoro & Yates, OUP, 2015. [REVIEW]Fraser MacBride - forthcoming - Philosophy.
    In this review I take to task the related views of E.J. Lowe, John Heil and Peter Simons according to which relations don't exist because they're dispensable qua truth-makers. I argue that this view is methodologically unstable because we also have reason to believe that relations exist because our best mathematical and scientific theories say so, i.e. quantify over them.
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  17. Truthmaker Noumenalism.Damian Melamedoff-Vosters - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    One of the core issues where interpreters of Kant disagree is with regards to Kant’s alleged Noumenalism: the claim that the objects of our experience, which are in space and time, are underpinned by entities that are not spatio-temporal, and which non-spatio-temporally cause our representations of empirical objects. Although there is much textual evidence in favour of Noumenalism, non-Noumenalists have also gathered a significant number of philosophical and exegetical challenges to such a reading of Kant. I present a novel way (...)
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  18. Truthmaking, Grounding and Fitch’s Paradox.Robert Trueman - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Jago and Loss have recently used variations on Fitch's paradox to argue that every truth has a truthmaker, and that every fact is grounded. In this paper, I show that Fitch's paradox can also be adapted to prove the exact opposite conclusions: no truth has a truthmaker, and no fact is grounded. All of these arguments are as dialectically effective as each other, and so they are all in bad company.
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  19. Presentism Without Truth-Makers.Barry Ward - forthcoming - Chronos.
    We construct a presentist semantics on which there are no truth-makers for past and future tensed statements. The semantics is not an expressivist or projectivist one, and is not susceptible to the semantical difficulties that confront such theories. We discuss how the approach handles some standard concerns with presentism.
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  20. Relevance Without Minimality.Stephen Yablo - forthcoming - In Andy Egan & Dirk Kindermann (eds.), Unstructured Content. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  21. Brute Past Presentism, Dynamic Presentism, and the Objection From Being-Supervenience.Jerzy Gołosz - 2021 - Axiomathes 31 (2):211-223.
    Presentism faces the following well-known dilemma: either the truth-value of past-tense claims depends on the non-existing past and cannot be said to supevene on being, or it supervenes on present reality and breaks our intuition which says that the true past-tense claims should not depend on any present aspect of reality. The paper shows that the solution to the dilemma offered by Kierland and Monton’s brute past presentism, the version of presentism according to which the past is supposed to be (...)
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  22. The Explanation of Logical Theorems and Reductive Truthmakers.Yannic Kappes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1267-1284.
    This paper first identifies several plausible desiderata on satisfactory explanations of logical theorems, shows that ordinary grounding explanations cannot satisfy them and argues that there is reason to believe that no alternative grounding explanations of logical theorems can be given. It then develops an alternative explanation of logical theorems based on Yablo’s idea of reductive truthmaking. The resulting proposal invokes instances of reductive truthmaking that bear an interesting structural similarity to the notion of zero-ground, in virtue of which it is (...)
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  23. There Are No Fundamental Facts.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Analysis 81 (1):32-39.
    I present an argument proving that there are no fundamental facts, which is similar to an argument recently presented by Mark Jago for truthmaker maximalism. I suggest that this argument gives us at least some prima facie, defeasible reason to believe that there are no fundamental facts.
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  24. Nefarious Presentism: A Recourse to Primitivism.Aderonke Ajiboro - 2020 - Conatus 5 (1):9.
    Presentism is one of the various views in the discourse on the existence of time and spatio-temporal reality which holds that only the present is real and also that only present things exist. Neil McKinnon characterizes presentism in some ways that are all problematic, although he claims that the most appealing of all is the statement that “only present entities exist.” This view permeates all thoughts about presentism, and it has led to problems about the formulation of presentism. The link (...)
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  25. Purely Theoretical Explanations.Giacomo Andreoletti, Jonathan Tallant & Giuliano Torrengo - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (1):133-154.
    This paper introduces a new kind of explanation that we describe as ‘purely theoretical’. We first present an example, E, of what we take to be a case of purely theoretical explanation. We then show that the explanation we have in mind does not fit neatly into any of the existing categories of explanation. We take this to give us prima facie motivation for thinking that purely theoretical explanation is a distinctive kind of explanation. We then argue that it can (...)
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  26. Truthmakers Against Correspondence.Jamin Asay - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (2):271-293.
    Many philosophers think truthmaker theory offers a correspondence theory of truth. Despite the similarities, however, this identification cannot be correct. Truthmaker theory offers no theory of truth, nor can it be employed to offer an acceptable substantive theory of truth. Instead, truthmaker theory takes truth for granted. Though truthmaker theory is not a correspondence theory, it shares with it the same motivational basis—that truth is worldly—and better accounts for what is pre-theoretically compelling about correspondence theories. As a result, those at (...)
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  27. Truth(Making) by Convention.Jamin Asay - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (2):117-128.
    A common account of the distinction between analytic and synthetic truths is that while the former are true solely in virtue of meaning, the latter are true also in virtue of the way of the world. Quine famously disputed this characterization, and his skepticism over the analytic/synthetic distinction has cast a long shadow. Against this skepticism, I argue that the common account comes close to the truth, and that truthmaker theory in particular offers the resources for providing a compelling account (...)
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  28. A Theory of Truthmaking: Metaphysics, Ontology, and Reality.Jamin Asay - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    The theory of truthmaking has long aroused skepticism from philosophers who believe it to be tangled up in contentious ontological commitments and unnecessary theoretical baggage. In this book, Jamin Asay shows why that suspicion is unfounded. Challenging the current orthodoxy that truthmaking's fundamental purpose is to be a tool for explaining why truths are true, Asay revives the conception of truthmaking as fundamentally an exercise in ontology: a means for coordinating one's beliefs about what is true and one's ontological commitments. (...)
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  29. Deflating Deflationary Truthmaking.Jamin Asay & Sam Baron - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):1-21.
    In this paper we confront a challenge to truthmaker theory that is analogous to the objections raised by deflationists against substantive theories of truth. Several critics of truthmaker theory espouse a ‘deflationary’ attitude about truthmaking, though it has not been clearly presented as such. Our goal is to articulate and then object to the underlying rationale behind deflationary truthmaking. We begin by developing the analogy between deflationary truth and deflationary truthmaking, and then show how the latter can be found in (...)
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  30. Why Truthmaking Is Not a Case of Grounding.Paul Audi - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):567-590.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  31. Truthmaker Maximalism and the Truthmaker Paradox.Elke Brendel - 2020 - Synthese 197 (4):1647-1660.
    According to truthmaker maximalism, each truth has a truthmaker. Peter Milne has attempted to refute truthmaker maximalism on mere logical grounds via the construction of a self-referential truthmaker sentence M “saying” of itself that it doesn’t have a truthmaker. Milne argues that M turns out to be a true sentence without a truthmaker and thus provides a counterexample to truthmaker maximalism. In this paper, I show that Milne’s refutation of truthmaker maximalism does not succeed. In particular, I argue that the (...)
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  32. The Ground of All Negative Existential Truths.Julio De Rizzo - 2020 - Critica 52 (154).
    A natural proposal for the grounds of negative existential truths, such as that Vulcan does not exist, states that these truths are grounded in the totality truth affirming the existence of every existent thing together with the truth that they are all. In this paper I will put forward three objections to straightforward formulations of this idea, and argue that a change in the usual grammar of grounding claims, allowing for pluralities of sentences to express not only grounds, but also (...)
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  33. Truthmakers for 1st Order Sentences - a Proposal.Friedrich Wilhelm Grafe - 2020 - Archive.Org.
    The purpose of this paper is to communicate - as a proposal - a general method of assigning a 'truthmaker' to any 1st order sentence in each of its models. The respective construct is derived from the standard model theoretic (recursive) satisfaction definition for 1st order languages and is a conservative extension thereof. The heuristics of the proposal (which has been somewhat idiosyncratic from the current point of view) and some more technical detail of the construction may be found in (...)
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  34. A Short Argument for Truthmaker Maximalism.Mark Jago - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):40-44.
    Each truth has a truthmaker: an entity in virtue of whose existence that truth is true. So say truthmaker maximalists. Arguments for maximalism are hard to find, whereas those against are legion. Most accept that maximalism comes at a significant cost, which many judge to be too high. The scales would seem to be balanced against maximalism. Yet, as I show here, maximalism can be derived from an acceptable premise which many will pre-theoretically accept.
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  35. Is Truth Made, and If So, What Do We Mean by That? Redefining Truthmaker Realism.Catherine Legg - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):587-606.
    Philosophical discussion of truthmaking has flourished in recent times, but what exactly does it mean to ‘make’ a truth-bearer true? I argue that ‘making’ is a concept with modal force, and this renders it a problematic deployment for truthmaker theorists with nominalist sympathies, which characterises most current theories. I sketch the outlines of what I argue is a more genuinely realist truthmaker theory, which is capable of answering the explanatory question: In virtue of what does each particular truthmaker make its (...)
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  36. Against Disjunctive Properties: Four Armstrongian Arguments.Bo R. Meinertsen - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (1):95-106.
    This paper defends the case against (sparse) disjunctive properties by means of four Armstrongian arguments. The first of these is a logical atomist argument from truthmaking, which is, broadly speaking, ‘Armstrongian’ (Armstrong 1997). This argument is strong – although it stands or falls with the relevant notion of truthmaking, as it were. However, three arguments, which are prima facie independent of truthmaking, can be found explicitly early in Armstrong’s middle period. Two of these early arguments face a serious objection put (...)
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  37. Truthmaker Semantics for Natural Language: Attitude Verbs, Modals, and Intensional Transitive Verbs.Friederike Moltmann - 2020 - Theoretical Linguistics 3:159-200.
    This paper gives an outline of truthmaker semantics for natural language against the background of standard possible-worlds semantics. It develops a truthmaker semantics for attitude reports and deontic modals based on an ontology of attitudinal and modal objects and on a semantic function of clauses as predicates of such objects. It also présents new motivations for 'object-based truthmaker semantics' from intensional transitive verbs such as ‘need’, ‘look for’, ‘own’, and ‘buy’ and gives an outline of their semantics. This paper is (...)
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  38. An account of truthmaking.Noël Blas Saenz - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3413-3435.
    In this paper, I both propose and discuss a novel account of truthmaking. I begin by showing what truthmaking is not: it is not grounding and it is not correspondence. I then show what truthmaking is by offering an account that appeals both to grounding and what I call ‘deep correspondence’. After I present the account and show that it is an account that unifies, I put it to work by showing how it can overcome an objection to truthmaking, how (...)
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  39. Aboutness and Ontology: A Modest Approach to Truthmakers.Arthur Schipper - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):505-533.
    Truthmaker theory has been used to argue for substantial conclusions about the categorial structure of the world, in particular that states of affairs are needed to play the role of truthmakers. In this paper, I argue that closely considering the role of aboutness in truthmaking, that is considering what truthbearers are about, yields the result that there is no good truthmaker-based reason to think that truthmakers must be states of affairs understood as existing entities, whether complex or simple. First, I (...)
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  40. A Defence of Lucretian Presentism.Jonathan Tallant & David Ingram - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (4):675-690.
    In this paper, we defend Lucretian Presentism. Although the view faces many objections and has proven unpopular with presentists, we rehabilitate Lucretianism and argue that none o...
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  41. Truthmaking.Kelly Trogdon - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. Routledge. pp. 396-407.
    Discussion of grounding-theoretic accounts of truthmaking in terms of the theoretical role of “catching cheaters”.
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  42. The Truth of Future Contingents: An Analysis of Truth-Maker Indeterminacy.Tero Tulenheimo - 2020 - Filosofiska Notiser 7 (1):53-77.
    I argue that the semantics of sentences expressing future contingent propositions is best viewed as being based on a clear distinction between a time at which a proposition is true and a time at which a state of affairs that makes it true gets actualized. That a prediction is true here and now means that its truth-maker gets actualized later. This is not to say that if a contingent proposition p concerning the future is true at t, it acquires the (...)
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  43. Bo R. Meinertsen: Metaphysics of States of Affairs: Truthmaking, Universals, and a Farewell to Bradley’s Regress. [REVIEW]William F. Vallicella - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):167-177.
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  44. Truthmaker Trinitarianism.Ryan Byerly - 2019 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 3 (2).
    This paper employs recent developments in the theory of truthmakers to offer a novel solution to the most discussed philosophical challenge presented by the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. According to the view developed, the Father, Son, and Spirit each serve as the only substantial constituent of equally minimal truthmakers for claims about God. Because they do, there is a clear and robust sense in which each is a substance that “is” God as much as anything is, while the three (...)
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  45. Truthmaking, Second‐Order Quantification, and Ontological Commitment.Ross P. Cameron - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (4):336-360.
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  46. Reasons Why Not - On the Positive Grounds of Negative Truths.Julio De Rizzo - 2019 - Stuttgart, Deutschland: Metzler Verlag/ Springer.
    Many philosophers have shown sympathy to the thought that reality is fundamentally positive. Julio De Rizzo formulates this idea precisely by means of the notion of grounding, and examines how the resulting thesis fares with respect to three much discussed classes of negative truths, namely that of negative predications, that of negative causal reports, and that of negative existential truths. By shedding light on the issues advocates of the thesis have to deal with, this work shows the positivist account to (...)
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  47. On Weak Truthmaking.Nicola Guarino, Daniele Porello & Giancarlo Guizzardi - 2019 - In Adrien Barton, Selja Seppälä & Daniele Porello (eds.), Proceedings of the Joint Ontology Workshops 2019. CEUR Workshop Proceedings.
    Informally speaking, a truthmaker is something in the world in virtue of which the sentences of a language can be made true. This fundamental philosophical notion plays a central role in applied ontology. In particular, a recent nonorthodox formulation of this notion proposed by the philosopher Josh Parsons, which we labelled weak truthamking, has been shown to be extremely useful in addressing a number of classical problems in the area of Conceptual Modeling. In this paper, after revisiting the classical notion (...)
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  48. Thisness Presentism: An Essay on Time, Truth, and Ontology.David Ingram - 2019 - Oxford, UK: Routledge.
    Thisness Presentism outlines and defends a novel version of presentism, the view that only present entities exist and what is present really changes. Presentism is a view of time that captures a real and objective difference between what is past, present, and future, and which offers a model of reality that is dynamic and mutable, rather than static and immutable. The book advances a new defence of presentism by developing a novel ontology of thisness, combining insights about the nature of (...)
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  49. Presentism and Cross-Time Relations.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2019 - In Patrick Blackburn, Per Hasle & Peter Ohrstrom (eds.), Logic and Philosophy of Time: Further Themes from Prior, Vol. 2. Aalborg, Denmark: pp. 53–72.
    This paper is a partial defence of presentism against the argument from cross-time relations. It is argued, first, that the Aristotelian view of causation and persistence does not really depict these phenomena in terms of relations between entities existing at different times, and indeed excludes the possibility of such cross-time relations obtaining. Second, it is argued that to reject the existence of the past—and thereby be unable to ground the truth of claims about the past—does not lead to any absurd (...)
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  50. There is No Truth-Theory Like the Correspondence Theory.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2019 - Discusiones Filosóficas 20 (34):15–41.
    I challenge the assumption that the pragmatist-, coherence-, identity- and deflationary theories of truth are essentially incompatible and rival views to the correspondence theory, without endorsing pluralism. With the exception of some versions of the identity theory, the alternative theories only appear to genuinely contradict the correspondence theory, either when they are wedded to a rejection of an objective reality, or when it is assumed that a ‘theory of truth’ is a theory of the function of the truth-predicate. I argue (...)
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