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Truth and Reality: The Importance of Truthmaking for Philosophy

Schipper, A; (2016) Truth and Reality: The Importance of Truthmaking for Philosophy. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I attempt to improve our understanding of truthmaker theory (TT) by defending the modest importance of TT for philosophy via addressing in-house issues. I am not addressing the TT-skeptic. In Part 1, I articulate a metaphysically modest version of TT which focuses on the notion of aboutness. In Part 2, I apply this version to three further debates, to which TT has been thought to have substantial applications, radically reinterpreting each of these applications in a metaphysically modest way. Part 1 starts, in §1, with a presentation of what I call the basic account of TT (BATT), which posits the bare-bones requirements of TT, stripping it of its immodest and question-begging metaphysical commitments concerning the nature of truthbearers and truthmakers. In §2, I present my favoured, aboutness-based, version of TT (TAAT) which goes beyond BATT in an explicitly modest way. In §3, I sketch how TAAT can provide a piecemeal strategy to address the problem of negative truths. In §4, I detail TAAT’s metaphysical modesty. Part 2 starts, in §5, by rejecting a rival account which I call Truthmaker Fundamentalism. In §6, I undermine the orthodox conception of “cheater-catching” and reinterpret that task as semantical rather than metaphysical. In §7, I argue that TT, on pain of being question-begging, must retreat from its association with substantial realism to what I call Modest Realism, which is compatible with anti-realism. In §8, I distinguish between truth-conditions, truthmakers, and truthmaker-conditions and articulate a twostep conception of inquiry and a modest conception of understanding truthmakers. In conclusion, I hope to have defended and reinvigorated an approach to understanding the relation between truth and reality, which has been much neglected in the recent TT-literature, but which must be taken seriously as a metaphysically modest alternative to current, metaphysically extravagant, orthodoxy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Truth and Reality: The Importance of Truthmaking for Philosophy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1534504
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