The cost of truthmaker maximalism

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (4):460-474 (2013)
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According to truthmaker theory, particular truths are true in virtue of the existence of particular entities. Truthmaker maximalism holds that this is so for all truths. Negative existential and other ‘negative’ truths threaten the position. Despite this, maximalism is an appealing thesis for truthmaker theorists. This motivates interest in parsimonious maximalist theories, which do not posit extra entities for truthmaker duty. Such theories have been offered by David Lewis and Gideon Rosen, Ross Cameron, and Jonathan Schaffer. But these theories cannot be sustained, I’ll argue, and hence maximalism comes with a serious ontological cost. Neither Armstrong’s invocation of totality facts nor the Martin-Kukso line on absences can meet this cost satisfactorily. I’ll claim that negative facts are the best (and perhaps only) way out of the problem for the truthmaker maximalist.

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Mark Jago
Nottingham University


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