We don’t need no explanation

Philosophical Studies 175 (4):903-921 (2018)
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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.
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Archival date: 2017-03-24
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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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