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Monday, February 13, 2017

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I agree there are senses of ‘because’ that are neither (physically) causal nor logical. Tom went to the post box because he needed to post a letter. Animals eat food because they are hungry. Also ‘Tom is in pain because his Aδ fibers are firing’. I could therefore accept your conclusion (7) in principal.


But does this prove that there is similar kind of ‘because’ in the statements below?

This is red because it has the property of redness.
This is a pair of shoes because there are two of them

My objection in the previous post was that sometimes we describe the same thing in different ways, and sometimes we connect these using ‘because’. Indeed, if intense pain just is the firing of Aδ fibres, then we are describing the very same fact in different ways. Why shouldn’t ‘this is red’ and ‘this has the property of redness’ likewise signify the very same fact? If they signify the same fact, then one cannot be the ground of the other.

By the way, you are here employing one of my favourite military tactics, namely to force your opponent to concede that a certain type of case (here ‘metaphysical grounding’) cannot be ruled out. This is the equivalent of landing well armed paratroops deep behind enemy lines to establish a firm base from which operations can commence. However, the success of this depends on following up with air, sea and land forces, and can be fatal if you are unable to deliver the heavy punch.

Why did Tom go to the post box? Because he wanted to post a letter. What follows 'because' is the reason for Tom's action. But isn't this reason a proposition? So I would classify this case as logical in that 'because' relates two propositions. The food example I would classify as causal in that the eating is caused by the hunger.

Be this as it may. It is a can of worms unto itself.

>>Why shouldn’t ‘this is red’ and ‘this has the property of redness’ likewise signify the very same fact? If they signify the same fact, then one cannot be the ground of the other.<<

I grant that the two sentences express the same thought, the same proposition. The question, however, is what the world has to be like for the proposition to be true.

But I have explained this so many times, without getting through to you, that I seriously doubt that I will ever succeed. To me the notion of a truth-maker is intelligible; to you it is not.

If you show me that you understand it , but have objections to it, then fine; I have objections to it as well. But I don't think you even understand it.

A further argument which I think may prove fatal to Miragism.
Either ‘Tom is poor’ and ‘Tom has the property of poorness’ are different ways of expressing the same fact, or not.

Quod non: a proposition (a declarative sentence) expresses no more and no less than the conditions or grounds of its truth. Ergo etc.

Probatio minoris: If a proposition overspecifies the grounds of its truth, then it is possible for the grounds to exist, but the proposition false. For example if the grounds of ‘Tom is poor but happy’ are only that Tom is poor, then the grounds would exist if Tom were poor and unhappy, so the proposition would be true, which is absurd. Conversely, a proposition underspecifies the grounds of its truth, then it is possible for the grounds not to exist, but the proposition true. For example if the ground of ‘Tom is poor’ were that Tom is both poor but happy, then the grounds would not exist if Tom were poor and unhappy, and so the proposition would be false, which is absurd. Therefore there can be no overlap or underlap between what the proposition expresses, and what grounds it. This is actually a scholastic maxim.

But then it follows that ‘Tom is poor’ and ‘Tom has the property of poorness’ are different ways of expressing one and the same fact. It further follows that there can be no asymmetric relation between them.

This crossed with your following comment.

>>I grant that the two sentences express the same thought, the same proposition. The question, however, is what the world has to be like for the proposition to be true. <<

I think the argument above answers this. Each proposition expresses exactly what the world must be like, in order for each to be true. Es ist wie ein Masstab in die Wirklichkeit angelegt. No asymmetry.

Sorry that should be Es ist wie ein Masstab AN die Wirklichkeit angelegt. I know you are fussy about these things.

Also, if ‘Tom is poor’ and ‘Tom has the property of poorness’ express the same thought, as you have just granted, then ‘Tom is poor because Tom has the property of poorness’ expresses the same thought as ‘Tom is poor because Tom is poor’.

Conversely, a proposition underspecifies the grounds of its truth, then it is possible for the grounds not to exist, but the proposition true. For example if the ground of ‘Tom is poor’ were that Tom is both poor but happy, then the grounds would not exist if Tom were poor and unhappy, and so the proposition would be false, which is absurd.

Most truthmaker theorists argue that one proposition can have many different truthmakers, as long as each of those truthmakers make that proposition true in every world that truthmaker exists.

They would, in other words, agree that "it is possible for the grounds [in this case Tom's being poor and happy] not to exist, but the proposition be true".

The Turkey eats the Ostrich. The proposition *Tom is poor* is made true by each of the following states of affairs:

Tom's being poor
Tom's being poor and happy
Tom's being poor and unhappy.

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