Truthmaking, Truth, and Realism: New Work for a Theory of Truthmakers

Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2011)
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Truthmaker theory begins with the idea that truth depends upon reality. When a truth-bearer is true, that is because something or other in the world makes it true. My dissertation offers a theory of truthmakers that shows how we should flesh out this thought while avoiding the contentious metaphysical commitments that are built into other truthmaker theories. Because of these commitments, many philosophers have come to view truthmaker theory as being essentially tied to correspondence theories of truth, and to metaphysical realism. I argue that, quite to the contrary, truthmaker theory is distinct from correspondence theory, and that the former actually undermines the motivation for the latter. In fact, truthmaker theory can be used to argue for a particular kind of deflationism about truth. I also argue that debates about realism and anti-realism are best viewed through the lens of truthmaker theory, which is not—contrary to what many have thought—an essentially realist approach to metaphysics. Anti-realists of various stripes can also make use of truthmakers. The anti-realism of such views depends upon either the nature of the truthmakers they use, or the nature of the truthmaking relation itself.
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