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Saturday, August 27, 2016


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Thanks for this. I discussed elsewhere with an expert on the Tractatus. He put it another way: language has a reality-like structure.

I didn’t grasp the logic of your ‘ad C’. You open by saying that it seems obviously true. It makes no sense to suppose that worldly items are syntactically related to one another etc. And then you immediately say that we can solve this ‘bad boy’, i.e. this supposedly obvious truth, by rejecting it. Perhaps you mean that in light of your cogent arguments for A and B, we should reject C, even though it seems obvious? But you still need to address why it seems so.

I discussed this with some others, who felt that the notion of ‘correspondence’ is slippery. Correspondence in virtue of what? In virtue of the underlying logical form of the sentence? If so, we might reject B. Why should the underlying logical structure of the sentence be grammatical? You allude to this in your very last remark. Εν αρχῇ ῆν ὁ λογος.

I appreciate the comments.

By 'bad boy' I was referring to the whole triad, not just (C). You will agree that the three propositions are logically inconsistent. This presents us with a problem. One way to solve it is by rejecting one of the propositions.

If the arguments for the three limbs are equally strong, then we have a genuine aporia, an insoluble problem.

What I was suggesting is the best solution, if a solution is to be had, is by rejecting (C). This would be a sort of vindication of the Tractarian Wittgenstein: "The world is a totality of facts, not of things."

Or at least it is a totality of proposition-like entities.

>>Correspondence in virtue of what? In virtue of the underlying logical form of the sentence? If so, we might reject B. Why should the underlying logical structure of the sentence be grammatical? <<

I may be making an assumption you will question. I am assuming that there are atomic propositions of the form *Fa.* This would give the logical form of 'Tom is sad.' And it would be the same as the grammatical form of the sentence. The worldly correspondent, the truthmaker, would have the same form: particular-instantiating-property.

Ah thanks. I misunderstood the referent of 'bad boy'.

I accept C, and reject A, for nominalistic reasons, although not your straw man nominalism.

>> language has a reality-like structure.<<

I would say that language can 'hook onto' reality because reality is language-like; NOT: reality is language-like because we language-users talk about it.

Here we have yet another analog of the Euthyphro Dilemma.

I am a realist. But in you, Astute Commenter, I detect tendencies toward linguistic idealism which are not unconnected with your nominalism and your theory that all reference can be assimilated to back-reference.


So we need to discuss (A). Probably in a separate post. The arguments for(A) are extremely strong as it seems to me. But they don't move you in the least.

Why not? How do you rebut my arguments? I take it you accept that there are truthbearers. But you do not accept that there are truthmakers. Right?

It follows that you don't accept the identity theory (Julian Dodd) acc. to which T-bearers and T-makers are identical.

Linguistic idealism: ‘the claim that some truths or realities are created by our linguistic practices’.

Euthyphro Dilemma: of whether A is creates B, or B creates A.

So does language reflect or mirror an independent existing reality, or is reality partly, or wholly a creation of language?

I reject linguistic idealism utterly. However, I believe that many times we think we are talking about the structure of reality, when we are in reality talking about the structure of language. In particular, when we say ‘John is thinking of Janet’, we are beguiled into supposing that ‘- is thinking of –’ expresses a relation between John and Janet.

The comments seem to have got mixed up - I am sure there should have been another comment of mine in there.

Why not discuss (A) in a separate post as you suggested, then I can unveil the very powerful and cogent arguments I am currently hiding in my munitions box.

I have already sketched an argument for (A). Why not present an argument here or in an e-mail against (A) which I can then discuss in a new thread.

Tell me why you do not accept:

A. Some sentences are true in virtue of their correspondence with extralinguistic reality.

OK I will get back to you later. Note my emails are bouncing again, which sometimes happens for reasons I do not understand.

I await your response. I have been commissioned to write an essay on truthmaking, so I need to think this this all through one more time.

I told you not to buy that used e-mail server from Hillary!

Dr. Vallicella,

I would be interested to see how you respond to the following dilemma (from Peter Geach, "Truth and God," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, [1982]: 84).

Say proposition P1 is true because it corresponds to fact F. Does the proposition "Proposition P1 is true" (call it proposition P2) have a truthmaker? It seems that it should. Not only that, it seems that the truthmaker of P2 should be the same as P1 (i.e. F). But it's not obvious how F could make P2 true, since it is not obvious that F shares P2's "propositional" or "language-like structure," as you put it.

You've already said that some propositions do not have truthmakers, so perhaps you could just deny that P2 has a truthmaker. Or perhaps there is a way that F could do the job of truthmaking with respect to P2? Or perhaps P2 could be analyzed in a way that shows it is not really different from P1?

Thanks for your high-quality blogging!


My response is in a separate post. Thanks for posting the problem.

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