, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 153-162
Date: 22 May 2010

The Metaphysics of Mixed Inferences: Problems with Functionalist Accounts of Alethic Pluralism

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Abstract

Alethic pluralists argue truth is a metaphysically robust higher-order property that is multiply realized by a set of diverse and domain-specific subvening alethic properties. The higher-order truth property legitimizes mixed inferences and accounts for a univocal truth predicate. Absent of this higher-order property, pluralists lack an account of the validity of mixed inferences and an adequate semantics for the truth predicate and thereby appear forced to abandon the central tenets of alethic pluralism. I argue the use of many-valued logics to support pluralism fails to address the pluralist’s metaphysical problem regarding mixed inferences and mixed truth functional connectives. The high degree of heterogeneity of the alethic realizers (unlike the realizers for pain) challenges the plausibility of a single higher-order functional property. A functional property with such a heterogeneous base cannot be projectable at a theoretically significant level. The problem with mixed inferences and truth functions is but one symptom of the deeper projectability problem.