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. Dependence Asymmetry Between Truth and Reality.Jiamin Yu - manuscript
    The thesis aims to account for the pre-theoretic intuition of asymmetric dependence between truth and reality, namely, the intuition that truth depends on reality, but reality doesn’t depend on truth. I start by delineating a framework to answer this question: according to this framework, a proper theory of dependence asymmetry should explain why truth depends on reality (truth-reality dependence) and why reality doesn’t depend on truth (asymmetry). There are two readings of the second requirement: a strong reading and a weak (...)
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  4. 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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  5. Fundamental Truthmakers.Javier Cumpa & Otavio Bueno (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  6. Presentism, Truthmaking, and the Nature of Truth.Aaron M. Griffith - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    A recent presentist strategy has been to deny that truths about the past need presently existing truthmakers. These presentists do not deny that such truths need grounding; they hold that each truth about the past is true because of how the world was, not how it is. This paper argues that this position faces two problems, one of which can be overcome by adopting a certain view of the property of truth for propositions about the past. The second problem cannot (...)
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  7. Presentism, Truthmaking, and the Nature of Truth.Aaron M. Griffith - forthcoming - Wiley: Analytic Philosophy.
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  8. Metaphysics of States of Affairs: Truthmaking, Universals, and a Farewell to Bradley’s Regress, by Bo R. Meinertsen, Singapore: Springer, 2018. 174 + xviii pp. [REVIEW]Landon Hobbs - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-6.
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  9. Against Representational Levels.Nicholas K. Jones - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    Some views articulate reality's hierarchical structure using relations from the fundamental to representations of reality. Other views instead use relations from the fundamental to constituents of non-representational reality. This paper argues against the first kind of view.
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  10. 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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  11. Replies to De Rizzo & Schnieder, Tegtmeier and Vallicella.Bo R. Meinertsen - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-11.
    In this piece I respond to commentaries by Julio De Rizzo & Benjamin Schnieder, Erwin Tegtmeier and William Vallicella on my book Metaphysics of States of Affairs (Springer, 2018).
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  12. Pretence Fictionalism About the Non-Present.Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Presentists hold that only present things exist. But we all, presentists included, utter sentences that appear to involve quantification over non-present objects, and so we all, presentists included, seem to commit ourselves to such objects. Equally, we all, presentists included, take utterances of many past-tensed (and some future-tensed) sentences to be true. But if no past or future things exist, it’s hard to see how there can be anything that those utterances are about, which makes them true. This paper presents (...)
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  13. The Disjunction Thesis and Necessary Connection.Zamani Mohsen - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    In this paper I deal with the relation between the disjunction thesis—that the truthmaking relation is distributed over a disjunction—and the necessary connection thesis—that the existence of some entities requires the existence of other distinct entities. I will first show that because of this very relation, the arguments for and against the disjunction thesis that overlook its metaphysical considerations will fail. Finally, I will show that the commitment produced by truthmaker maximalism to totality states of affairs, or some relevantly similar (...)
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  14. Fitch’s Paradox and Truthmaking: Why Jago’s Argument Remains Ineffective.Fredrik Nyseth - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Recently, there have been several attempts to use the kind of reasoning found in Fitch’s knowability paradox to argue for rather sweeping metaphysical claims: Jago uses such reasoning to argue that every truth has a truthmaker, and Loss does so to argue that every fact is grounded. This strategy has been criticized by Trueman, who points out that the same kind of reasoning could be used to establish entirely opposite conclusions. In response, Jago has offered a revised argument that is (...)
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  15. How Truth-Making Distributes.Robin Stenwall - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-14.
    In this paper I argue against the traditional view that truth-making distributes over entailment and present a novel account that takes truth-making to distribute over grounding between the existence of facts, thereby avoiding the shortcomings of the traditional view.
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  16. Possibility Precedes Actuality.Tuomas E. Tahko - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    This paper is inspired by and develops on E. J. Lowe’s work, who writes in his book The Possibility of Metaphysics that ‘metaphysical possibility is an inescapable determinant of actuality’ (1998: 9). Metaphysics deals with possibilities – metaphysical possibilities – but is not able to determine what is actual without the help of empirical research. Accordingly, a delimitation of the space of possibilities is required. The resulting – controversial – picture is that we generally need to know whether something is (...)
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  17. 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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  18. Relevance Without Minimality.Stephen Yablo - forthcoming - In Andy Egan & Dirk Kindermann (eds.), Unstructured Content. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  19. Non-Realist Cognitivism, Truthmaking, and Ontological Cheating.Farbod Akhlaghi - 2022 - Ethics 132 (2):291-321.
    Derek Parfit defended Non-Realist Cognitivism. It is an open secret that this metaethical theory is often thought at best puzzling and at worst objectionably unclear. Employing truthmaker theory, I provide an account of Non-Realist Cognitivism that dispels charges of objectionable unclarity, clarifies how to assess it, and explains why, if plausible, it would be an attractive theory. I develop concerns that the theory involves cheating into an objection that ultimately reveals Non-Realist Cognitivism faces a dilemma. Whether it can escape demands (...)
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  20. Ecumenical Truthmaking: A Précis of A Theory of Truthmaking.Jamin Asay - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1(3)):1-5.
    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. I argue in A Theory of Truthmaking that this suspicion is unfounded. Philosophers across the spectrum can take advantage of truthmaking, and use it to better understand the ontological implications of topics that arise all over the philosophical landscape. Challenging the current orthodoxy that truthmaking's fundamental purpose is to be a tool for explaining why truths (...)
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  21. A Short Argument Against Truthmaker Maximalism.Oleh Bondar - 2022 - Metaphysica 23 (1):27-36.
    Mark Jago has introduced a short Fitch-style argument for truthmaker maximalism – the thesis that every truth has a truthmaker. In response to Jago, Trueman argues that the Fitch-style reasoning allows us to prove the opposite – no truth has a truthmaker. In the article, we consider the debates between Jago’s truthmaker maximalism and Trueman’s truthmaker nihilism. Also, we introduce a short Grim-style argument against Jago’s truthmaker maximalism.
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  22. Metafísica para Juristas.Samuele Chilovi - 2022 - In D. Lagier & G. Lariguet (eds.), Filosofía. Una Introducción para Juristas. Madrid: Trotta.
  23. A Theory of Truthmaking: Metaphysics, Ontology, and Reality.Fabrice Correia - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (1):115-119.
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  24. True by Default.Aaron M. Griffith - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (1):92-109.
    This paper defends a new version of truthmaker non-maximalism. The central feature of the view is the notion of a default truth-value. I offer a novel explanation for default truth-values and use it to motivate a general approach to the relation between truth-value and ontology, which I call truth-value-maker theory. According to this view, some propositions are false unless made true, whereas others are true unless made false. A consequence of the theory is that negative existential truths need no truthmakers (...)
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  25. Truthmaking in a Realist Fashion.Mengyu Hu - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1).
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  26. Presentism.David Ingram & Jonathan Tallant - 2022 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Presentism is the view that only present things exist. So understood, presentism is primarily an ontological doctrine; it’s a view about what exists, absolutely and unrestrictedly. The view is the subject of extensive discussion in the literature on time and change, with much of it focused on the problems that presentism allegedly faces. Thus, most of the literature that frames the development of presentism has grown up either in formulating objections to the view (e.g., Sider 2001: 11–52), or in response (...)
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  27. In Defense of Explanation-First Truthmaking.Naoaki Kitamura - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1).
    One of the most characteristic cornerstones of Asay’s book, A Theory of Truthmaking, is the defense of what he calls the ontology-first perspective on what the truthmaker project is all about. He distinguishes it from and defends it over what he calls the explanation-first perspective, and he bases his overall theorizing about truthmaking on it. This critical notice aims to counter Asay’s challenges for the explanation-first perspective and reveal its theoretical advantages over its rival. First, I show how to escape (...)
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  28. Generality.Nils Kürbis - 2022 - In Nils Kürbis, Jonathan Nassim & Bahram Assadian (eds.), Knowledge, Number and Reality. Encounters with the Work of Keith Hossack. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 161-176.
    Hossack's 'The Metaphysics of Knowledge' develops a theory of facts, entities in which universals are combined with universals or particulars, as the foundation of his metaphysics. While Hossack argues at length that there must be negative facts, facts in which the universal 'negation' is combined with universals or particulars, his conclusion that there are also general facts, facts in which the universal 'generality' is combined with universals, is reached rather more swiftly. In this paper I present Hossack with three arguments (...)
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  29. Truthmaker Noumenalism.Damian Melamedoff-Vosters - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):40-55.
    ABSTRACT One of the core issues where interpreters of Kant disagree concerns his 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 that 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 of understanding the (...)
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  30. A Defense Of Explanation-First Truthmaking: Some Thoughts On Jamin Asay’s A Theory Of Truthmaking.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1).
    Jamin Asay’s A Theory of Truthmaking is one of the most important books on truthmaking, full of important ideas from beginning to end. One of the most interesting parts of the book is Asay's attack on the explanation-first truthmaking. Explanation-first truthmaking is the explanatory project of explaining why truths are true. This is in contrast with ontology-first truthmaking, the project defended by Asay, and which is the project of answering the fundamental ontological question “What is there?”. Asay thinks explanation-first truthmaking (...)
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  31. Truthmaking for Meinongians.Maciej Sendłak - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-20.
    This paper aims to introduce Meinongian Abstractionism, i.e. a view on the metaphysics of truthmaking and modality. This approach is based on the notion of objectives—one of the key elements of Alexius Meinong’s Theory of Objects. In the light of it, worlds are interpreted in terms of sets of subsistent and non-subsistent objectives. This—along with Meinong’s characterization of objectives—provides a ground for possible as well as impossible worlds. One of the consequences of Meinongain Abstractionism is a reformulation of the relation (...)
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  32. Powers as Causal Truthmakers.Rani Lill Anjum & Stephen Mumford - 2021 - Disputatio 3 (4).
    Most theories of causation assume that it must involve some kind of necessity, or that the cause must be entirely sufficient for the effect. Others have already suggested that it should be possible to get a theory of causation from a theory of powers or dispositions. Such a project is far from complete but even here we find that the key point in a dispositional theory of causation has been lacking. This paper attempts to establish some of the most important (...)
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  33. The best thing about the deflationary theory of truth.Jamin Asay - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):109-131.
    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 are unified in defining truth in terms of the ontological grounds that are needed to account for truth. Deflationists reject the idea that (...)
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  34. An Invitation to Truthmaker Theory: Jamin Asay: A Theory of Truthmaking. Metaphysics, Ontology, Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, Xiii +296 Pp., £ 75.00 HB.Gustavo Cevolani - 2021 - Metascience 30 (2):235-238.
    Review of Jamin Asay: A theory of truthmaking. Metaphysics, ontology, reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
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  35. Why Truthmaker Theory Cannot Save Divine Simplicity.Dean Da Vee - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 90 (1):43-60.
    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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  36. An Argument for Completely General Facts.Landon D. C. Elkind - 2021 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 9 (7).
    In his 1918 logical atomism lectures, Russell argued that there are no molecular facts. But he posed a problem for anyone wanting to avoid molecular facts: we need truth-makers for generalizations of molecular formulas, but such truth-makers seem to be both unavoidable and to have an abominably molecular character. Call this the problem of generalized molecular formulas. I clarify the problem here by distinguishing two kinds of generalized molecular formula: incompletely generalized molecular formulas and completely generalized molecular formulas. I next (...)
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  37. On Metaphysics’ Independence From Truthmaking.Aldo Filomeno - 2021 - Erkenntnis 1:1-14.
    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), whoargue that certain truthmaking commitments are incurred by a Humean metaphysics and by the Growing-Block theory. First, I argue that Humean Supervenience does not need to endorse a standard version of truthmaker maximalism. This undermines Briggs and Forbes’s conclusion that Humean Supervenience and the Growing-Block theory are (...)
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  38. Verisimilitude and Truthmaking.Kit Fine - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1239-1276.
    I provide and defend a hyper-intensional account of verisimilitude within the truthmaker framework.
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  39. 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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  40. The Creation of Institutional Reality, Special Theory of Relativity, and Mere Cambridge Change.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5835-5860.
    Saying so can make it so, J. L. Austin taught us long ago. Famously, John Searle has developed this Austinian insight in an account of the construction of institutional reality. Searle maintains that so-called Status Function Declarations, allegedly having a “double direction of fit”, synchronically create worldly institutional facts, corresponding to the propositional content of the declarations. I argue that Searle’s account of the making of institutional reality is in tension with the special theory of relativity—irrespective of whether the account (...)
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  41. Which Fitch?Mark Jago - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):436-439.
    Jago uses a Fitch-style argument in an attempt to demonstrate that every truth has a truthmaker. But Trueman shows that there is a parallel argument, this time to the conclusion that no truth has a truthmaker. Since we cannot accept both, we must ditch at least one Fitch. But which? Keywords: Truth, truthmaking, truthmaker maximalism, Fitch paradox, Robert Trueman.
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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. Backing as Truthmaking.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):367–383.
    Separatists about grounding take explanations to be separate from their corresponding grounding-facts. Grounding-facts are supposed to underlie, or back, such explanations. However, the backing relation hasn’t received much attention in the literature. The aim of this paper is to provide an informative definition of backing. First, I examine two prominent proposals: backing as explaining (Kovacs 2017; 2019a) and backing as grounding (see Sjölin Wirling 2020). Finally, I put forward my own proposal. I argue that under plausible assumptions about the role (...)
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  45. Truthmaking, Grounding and Fitch’s Paradox.Robert Trueman - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):270-274.
    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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  46. No Case Against Disjunctive Properties.Xinkan Zhao - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2293-2305.
    Meinertsen has recently put forward three arguments against disjunctive properties: the arguments from truthmaking, commonality, and causation. In this paper, I argue that all three arguments fail. The argument from truthmaking rests on the problematic notion of different types of truthmakers and is therefore itself problematic. The argument from commonality may hold but only at the cost of losing much of the philosophical significance of its conclusion. The argument from causation essentially collapses into the argument from truthmaking and is therefore (...)
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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. 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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