« Philosophy is Inquiry not Ideology | Main | Taxomania »

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"That can't be right. Surely there are some restrictions. For one thing, a truthmaker cannot be a Fregean proposition for the simple reason that such items are among the items made true by truthmakers."

Suppose there are Fregean propositions. Wouldn't those propositions be the truthmakers for the proposition that there are Fregean propositions?

Thanks, Bill, for these notes and the invitation to respond. A quick clarification and then a question. I have no objection to using ‘entailment’ for a relation that can only hold between propositions or proposition-like entities. But that’s not how I was using the term in the paper. Rather, following a fairly well entrenched convention in the literature, I was using it as a synonym for ‘broadly logical necessitation’. Maybe you’ll say that’s a misuse of the term. Fair enough. The important point is just this: it’s not my view that entailment *in your sense* is necessary for truthmaking. But once this is clarified, I don’t see what the argument is for thinking that only proposition-like entities can be truthmakers. On your understanding of entailment, I can see why we should accept the claim that “no individual lacking propositional or proposition-like structure can *entail* the truth of any statement”. But have you really given us any reason to accept the stronger claim that “no individual lacking propositional or proposition-like structure can *serve as a truthmaker*”?

Andrew writes: "Suppose there are Fregean propositions. Wouldn't those propositions be the truthmakers for the proposition that there are Fregean propositions?"

Not as far as I can see. The truthmaker for the proposition that there are Fregean propositions is the fact of the existence of Fregean propositions.

This is parallel to the 'cat' example I gave: "My belief that the cat is asleep is either true or false and as such is a truthbearer. It is in need of a truthmaker but is not itself one. Of course, the fact of my believing that the cat is asleep can serve as truthmaker for the sentence ' BV now believes that the cat is asleep' if concrete facts are admitted as truthmakers. . . ."

Suppose that p is a Fregean proposition. The truthmaker of the proposition that p exists is not p, but the existence of p, or the fact of p's existence, however you want to phrase it.

Thanks for the comment.

Thanks for responding, Jeff. You've written a fascinating paper.

You are free to use 'entailment' as a synonym for 'broadly logical necessitation.' But then how do you define 'entailment'? For me, x entails y iff there is no broadly logically possible world in which x is true and y is false. This implies that x and y are truthbearers, does it not? Now Socrates is not a truthbearer. (One cannot sensibly ask: Is Socrates true or is he false? or: What is the truth-value of Socrates.) It follows -- does it not? -- that it makes no sense to say that Socrates entails that Socrates is human.

Now if 'entailment' and 'broadly logical necessitation' are synonyms, it follows that it makes no sense to say that Socrates broadly logically necessitates that Socrates is human.

Therefore, Socrates cannot be the truthmaker of the proposition *Socrates is human* given that truthmaking either is or is "a sui generis form" of broadly logical necessitation.

Suppose I said I was using ‘bank’ as a synonym for ‘financial institution,’ and then you say “Fine. But how do you define ‘bank’? I take it to mean *the ground on the side of a river*, so that’s what ‘financial institution’ must mean too.” I think that’s what’s happening here. I’ve said that on one standard use of ‘entailment’ in the literature it’s synonymous with ‘broadly logical necessitation’. You then take a different use of ‘entailment’ and say that it follows from what I’ve said that this different meaning is what ‘broadly logical necessitation’ means too. (For what it’s worth, I explicitly address the worry that “only truths (or truthbearers) can entail one another” in my paper “Making Sense of Divine Simplicity,” section 3.3.)

Let me take one more stab at clarification here. To avoid confusion, let’s drop all talk of entailment and just stick with (broadly logical) necessitation. When I said the latter was necessary for truthmaking, my point was just this: x is a truthmaker for y only if x necessitates the truth of y. You ask: what does it mean to say that x necessitates the truth of y? I respond: it just means that no broadly logically possible world that includes x is one in which y is false. Now granted, it follows from what I’ve said that y is a truthbearer or proposition. But why think it also follows that x is a truthbearer or proposition? I myself can’t see anything in what I've just said that would require that. For the same reason, I can’t see why you think my account is inconsistent with an individual like Socrates serving as truthmaker.

So what we have is:

1. X is a truthmaker for y only if x necessitates the truth of y.
2. X necessitates the truth of y means: no broadly logically possible world that includes x is one in which y is false.

Given (1) and (2), x needn't be a proposition or a fact or anything proposition-like: it could be a concrete individual such as Socrates.

Your idea (and G. Oppy's too) is that Socrates himself can serve as the T-maker of such truthbearers as 'Socrates is human,' 'Socrates is an animal, 'Socrates exists,' etc. But that is precisely what I am contesting. Take the last mentioned sentence. It is not Socrates that makes true the corresponding sentence, but the fact of Socrates' existence.

In a separate post I will argue that you, Oppy and others may be confusing to separate principles, one properly called the T-maker principle and the other veritas sequitur esse rerum.

Hi Jeff,

What do we do with incidental (accidental) truths? Like, Socrates now has tan after visiting the beach?

Best,
JT

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2008

Categories

Categories

September 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          
Blog powered by Typepad