We don’t need no explanation

Philosophical Studies 175 (4):903-921 (2018)

Authors
Jamin Asay
University of Hong Kong
Abstract
Explanation has played myriad roles in truthmaker theory. The notion of explanation is sometimes thought to give content to the very idea of truthmaking, and is sometimes used as a weapon to undermine the entire point of truthmaker theory. I argue that the notion of explanation is dialectically useless in truthmaker theory: while it’s true that truthmaking offers a form of explanation, this claim is theoretically unilluminating, and leaves truthmaker theorists vulnerable to various kinds of attack. I advocate an alternative approach to truthmaker theory that downplays the role of explanation, and show how it releases the enterprise from a variety of problematic commitments that have troubled truthmaker theorists. The “ontology-first” approach to truthmaking that I advocate not only restores the initial impulse behind truthmaking, but also has a number of theoretical advantages. Most prominently, it dodges the infamous problem of negative existentials, and lessens truthmaker theory’s dependence on contentious intuitive judgments about both explanation and truthmaking.
Keywords explanation  truthmaking  ontology
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-0898-1
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References found in this work BETA

Truth and Truthmakers.D. M. Armstrong - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Truth and Ontology.Trenton Merricks - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-36.
The Scientific Image.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.

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Citations of this work BETA

Why Truthmaking Is Not a Case of Grounding.Paul Audi - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Much Ado About Aboutness.Sam Baron, Reginald Mary Chua, Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-29.

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