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. 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. added 2020-06-02
    The Explanation of Logical Theorems and Reductive Truthmakers.Yannic Kappes - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    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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  2. added 2020-06-01
    Truthmaker Semantics for Natural Language: Attitude Verbs, Modals, and Intensional Transitive Verbs.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - Theoretical Linguistics.
    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.
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  3. added 2020-05-24
    There Are No Fundamental Facts.Roberto Loss - forthcoming - Analysis.
    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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  4. added 2020-05-11
    The Connection Between Grounding and Truthmaking.Naoaki Kitamura - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 23:71-75.
    The purpose of this paper is to clarify the connection between two notions of growing interest in contemporary metaphysics – truthmaking and grounding. The former has provoked a great deal of controversy since the 1980s, whereas the latter has attracted serious attention only since the beginning of this century. Although the two notions are closely connected, only a few attempts have been made so far at clarifying that connection. The present paper is intended as an investigation of the connection on (...)
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  5. added 2020-04-28
    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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  6. added 2020-04-28
    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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  7. added 2020-04-28
    Armstrong's Truthmaker Argument for the Existence of States of Affairs Revisited.Robin Stenwall - 2019 - In Tobias Hansson Wahlberg & Robin Stenwall (eds.), Maurinian Truths : Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th Birthday. pp. 47-53.
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  8. added 2020-04-28
    A Recommendation for Correspondence Theory of Truth.K. S. Sangeetha - 2016 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 33 (3):465-480.
    The purpose of this paper is to show that the correspondence theory as a truth-maker theory has certain advantages over some of the other theories of truth. The cost of this advantage is postulating extra entities—facts. However, the benefits outweigh the costs; facts facilitate our understanding of the nature of truth made by the world. Facts are required for understanding this world; therefore, one cannot claim that a separate cost is incurred for explaining truth. It is further argued that because (...)
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  9. added 2020-04-28
    Truth, Grounding & Dependence.Robin Stenwall - 2015 - Dissertation, Lund University
    The subjects of this thesis are truth, grounding and dependence. The thesis consists of an introduction and five free-standing essays. The purpose of the introduction is not merely to summarize the papers, but to provide a general background to the discussions in the essays. The introduction is divided into four chapters, each of which splits into a number of sections and/or subsections. Chapter 1. concerns the notion of ontological dependence. I start by making a distinction between two different types of (...)
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  10. added 2020-04-28
    Truth and Being: E.J. Lowe and A. Rami : Truth and Truth-Making. Acumen Publishing Limited, Stocksfield, 2009, X + 262 Pp, £18.00 PB.Chris Daly - 2010 - Metascience 19 (3):417-420.
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  11. added 2020-04-02
    A Platonic Theory of Truthmaking.Scott Berman - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (1):109-125.
    A Platonic explanation of non-modal and modal truths is explained and defended using non-spatiotemporal entities as their truthmakers. It is argued, further, that this theory is parsimonious, naturalistic, and ontologically serious. These features should commend the view to a wide swath of philosophers.
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  12. added 2020-03-17
    O dilema presentista.Matheus Diesel Werberich - 2019 - Em Curso 6 (1):105-114.
    The aim of the present paper is to show that presentism cannot answer the truthmaker objection in a satisfactory manner. For such, two main categories of presentist solutions were studied: the first kind states that truthmakers can’t provide any objection to presentism, while the second type tries to ground past truths by postulating new ontological categories, which were rejected, mainly because of their use of ad hoc ontologies. Also, I showed how the presentist should adopt antirealism about the past in (...)
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  13. added 2020-03-11
    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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  14. added 2020-01-21
    Truthmaking.Kelly Trogdon - forthcoming - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. Routledge.
    Discussion of grounding-theoretic accounts of truthmaking in terms of the theoretical role of “catching cheaters”.
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  15. added 2020-01-06
    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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  16. added 2019-11-26
    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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  17. added 2019-11-20
    Introducción a la Metafísica.Samuele Chilovi - forthcoming - In D. Lagier & G. Lariguet (eds.), Filosofía para Juristas. Una Introducción.
  18. added 2019-11-07
    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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  19. added 2019-11-07
    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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  20. added 2019-11-07
    Truthmaking, Second‐Order Quantification, and Ontological Commitment.Ross P. Cameron - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (4):336-360.
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  21. added 2019-11-07
    Taking the Metaphysics of Knowledge Seriously: A Response to the Paper of Sven Bernecker.Joachim Horvath - 2015 - In Andreas Speer, Wolfram Hogrebe & Markus Gabriel (eds.), Das Neue Bedürfnis Nach Metaphysik / the New Desire for Metaphysics. De Gruyter. pp. 181-188.
    In his “On the Metaphysics of Knowledge” (this volume), Sven Bernecker presents a novel ‘identificationist’ account of knowledge. In this paper, I will not directly address the epistemological adequacy of Bernecker’s identificationism. Rather, I want to focus on its substantial metaphysical commitments, especially on the problematic idea that our epistemic reasons identify the truthmaker of our respective belief when we know something. My conclusion will be that being a truthmaker for p is metaphysically more demanding than being an epistemic reason (...)
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  22. added 2019-11-07
    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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  23. added 2019-10-16
    A Defence of Lucretian Presentism.Jonathan Tallant & David Ingram - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
    In this paper, we defend Lucretian Presentism (‘Lucretianism’). Although the view faces many objections and has proven unpopular with presentists, we rehabilitate Lucretianism and argue that none of the objections stick.
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  24. added 2019-10-10
    On Armstrong’s Difficulties with Adequate Truthmaking Restrictions.Brannon McDaniel - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Research 44:145-156.
    D. M. Armstrong rejects various ontologies that posit truths without truthmakers. But, lest proponents of such questionable ontologies postulate suspicious truthmakers in a bid to regain ontological respectability, Armstrong requires a plausible restriction on truthmaking that eliminates such ontologies. I discuss three different candidate restrictions: categorical, natural, and intrinsic difference-making. While the categorical and natural restrictions eliminate the questionable ontologies, they also eliminate Armstrong’s own ontology. The intrinsic difference-making restriction, on the other hand, fails to eliminate any of them. Thus (...)
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  25. added 2019-09-19
    Truthmaking and the Mysteries of Emergence.Kevin Morris - 2018 - In Elly Vintiadis & Constantinos Mekios (eds.), Brute Facts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The concept of truthmaking, the idea that when a statement is true, there is typically something about the world in virtue of which it is true, has garnered much interest in recent metaphysics. Often, the motivation has been the thought that truthmaking can provide a new perspective on an important issue. This paper evaluates the claim that truthmaking can play a substantive role in defining an unproblematic notion of emergence. For despite playing an important role in philosophical discourse over the (...)
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  26. added 2019-09-12
    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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  27. added 2019-09-09
    Deflationism and Truthmaking.Matthew Simpson - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
    This paper is about the relationship between truthmaking—one of the pillars of contemporary metaphysics—and deflationism about truth—one of the main contenders in the debate about truth, and a key component of the broad anti-metaphysical philosophical approach known as pragmatism. Many philosophers have argued that deflationism and truthmaking are incompatible or in conflict in some interesting way. Some take this to count against deflationism, others to count against truthmaking. In this paper I argue that deflationism and truthmaking are compatible in most (...)
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  28. added 2019-08-26
    Truthmakers Against Correspondence.Jamin Asay - forthcoming - Grazer Philosophische Studien:1-23.
    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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  29. added 2019-08-06
    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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  30. added 2019-07-13
    Truth­-Makers.Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons & Barry Smith - 2009 - Swiss Philosophical Preprints.
    During the realist revival in the early years of this century, philosophers of various persuasions were concerned to investigate the ontology of truth. That is, whether or not they viewed truth as a correspondence, they were interested in the extent to which one needed to assume the existence of entities serving some role in accounting for the truth of sentences. Certain of these entities, such as the Sätze an sich of Bolzano, the Gedanken of Frege, or the propositions of Russell (...)
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  31. added 2019-06-06
    How Hochberg Helped Us Take the Ontological Turn: An Introduction.Fraser MacBride - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (2):163-169.
    In this paper I briefly describe Hochberg's role in helping bringing about the ontological turn through his critique of Quine's ostrich nominalism and his arguments in favour of truth-making. I compare Hochberg and Armstrong's fact-centred metaphysics, where the former was an influence for the latter, before charting some of Hochberg's contributions to the history of philosophy.
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  32. added 2019-06-06
    Précis of Truth and Ontology.Trenton Merricks - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):184-186.
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  33. added 2019-06-06
    Comments on Merricks's Truth and Ontology.Ross P. Cameron - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (4):292-301.
    In his Truth and Ontology,1 Trenton Merricks argues against the truthmaker principle: Truthmaker: ∀p( p → ∃xxᮀ(Exx → p)). Truthmaker says that for any true proposition, there are some things whose existence guarantees the truth of that proposition: that is, some things which couldn’t all exist and the proposition fail to be true. His main arguments against Truthmaker are that there cannot be satisfactory truthmakers for (i) negative existentials, (ii) modal truths, (iii) truths about the past (given that presentism is (...)
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  34. added 2019-06-06
    Replies to Cameron, Schaffer, and Soames.Trenton Merricks - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (4):328-343.
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  35. added 2019-06-06
    Middle Knowledge, Truth-Makers, and the "Grounding Objection".William Lane Craig - 2001 - Faith and Philosophy 18 (3):337-352.
  36. added 2019-06-06
    The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 3-4.Bertrand Russell - 1919 - The Monist 29 (1):32-63.
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  37. added 2019-06-06
    The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 5-6.Bertrand Russell - 1919 - The Monist 29 (2):190-222.
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  38. added 2019-06-06
    The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 7-8.Bertrand Russell - 1919 - The Monist 29 (3):345-380.
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  39. added 2019-06-06
    The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 1-2.Bertrand Russell - 1918 - The Monist 28 (4):495-527.
  40. added 2019-06-04
    Fundamental Truthmakers and Non-Fundamental Truths.Arthur Schipper - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    Recently, philosophers have tried to develop a version of truthmaker theory which ties the truthmaking relation closely to the notion of fundamentality. In fact, some of these truthmaker-fundamentalists, as I call them, assume that the notion of fundamentality is intelligible in part by citing, as central examples of fundamentals, truthmakers, which they understand necessarily as constituents of fundamental reality. The aim of this paper is first to bring some order and clarity to this discussion, sketching how far TF is compatible (...)
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  41. added 2019-06-03
    Truthmaking for Presentists.Ross P. Cameron - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 6. Oxford University Press.
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  42. added 2019-06-03
    How to Exist at a Time When You Have No Temporal Parts.Peter Simons - 2000 - The Monist 83 (3):419-436.
    Occurrents are entities that exist in time and, with few or no exceptions, extend over time as well, that is, they have parts corresponding to the different times at which they exist. This makes it very easy to say what makes it true that they exist at the times at which they do. Singular existential propositions, being contingent, positive and arguably atomic, stand in need of truth-makers, entities in virtue of whose existence they are true. The obvious candidate for what (...)
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  43. added 2019-06-03
    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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  44. added 2019-05-29
    Why Truthmaking Is Not a Case of Grounding.Paul Audi - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  45. 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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  46. added 2019-05-07
    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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  47. 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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  48. added 2019-04-04
    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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  49. added 2019-03-19
    Review of Douglas Edwards, The Metaphysics of Truth. [REVIEW]Mark Jago - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):970–976.
    The Metaphysics of Truth, by EdwardsDouglas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. 208.
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  50. added 2019-02-12
    Yablovian ‘If-Thenism’.Gideon Rosen - 2017 - Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (2):143-152.
    ABSTRACTThe paper explores Stephen Yablo's suggestion that ‘If-Thenism’ in the philosophy of mathematics is best formulated as the thesis that the real content of a mathematical claim C is the result of subtracting the potentially problematic metaphysical commitments of mathematics from C [Yablo 2017]. Yablo's proposal assumes that some propositions make others true. The present discussion assumes that propositions are coarse-grained sets of possible worlds and asks what Yablo's proposal looks like on that assumption. The conclusion is that the adequacy (...)
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