Theoria 83 (4):471-483 (2017)

Mohsen Zamani
Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences
Armstrong appeals to the existence of totalities in order to solve the problem of negative truths. The totality of first-order states of affairs is a truthmaker for all negative truths, but it involves things which are irrelevant to many such truths. To solve this problem, Armstrong claimed that negative truths have minimal truthmakers which usually consist in totalities smaller than the totality of first-order states of affairs. Merricks objects to this claim by arguing that given Armstrong’s definition of minimal truthmakers, the totality of first-order states of affairs is a minimal truthmaker for every negative truth. In this article, I respond to Merricks’s objection. I will first show that the definition of minimal truthmakers that he proposes is not plausible. However, Merricks’s objection, I will argue, also works on the standard definition of minimal truthmakers. I will then show that for independent reasons, the standard definition should be revised, and, given my revised definition, Merricks’s objection fails.
Keywords minimal truthmaker  necessitarianism  negative truth  totality of states of affairs
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DOI 10.1111/theo.12136
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