Fundamental and Derivative Truths

Mind 119 (473):103 - 141 (2010)
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This article investigates the claim that some truths are fundamentally or really true — and that other truths are not. Such a distinction can help us reconcile radically minimal metaphysical views with the verities of common sense. I develop an understanding of the distinction whereby Fundamentality is not itself a metaphysical distinction, but rather a device that must be presupposed to express metaphysical distinctions. Drawing on recent work by Rayo on anti-Quinean theories of ontological commitments, I formulate a rigourous theory of the notion. In the final sections, I show how this package dovetails with ' interpretationist' theories of meaning to give sober content to thought that some things — perhaps sets, or gerrymandered mereological sums — can be 'postulated into existence'

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Robert Williams
University of Leeds


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