Setting the Facts Straight
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Substantial facts (or states of affairs) are not well-understood entities. Many philosophers object to their existence on this basis. Yet facts, if they can be understood, promise to do a lot of philosophical work: they can be used to construct theories of property possession and truthmaking, for example. Here, I give a formal theory of facts, including negative and logically complex facts. I provide a theory of reduction similar to that of the typed λ-calculus and use it to provide identity conditions for facts. This theory validates truthmaker maximalism: it provides truthmakers for all truths. I then show how the usual truth-in-a-model relation can be replaced by two relations: one between models and facts, saying that a given fact obtains relative to the model, and the other between facts and propositions: the truthmaking relation.
KeywordsFacts States of affairs Ontology Negative facts Properties Truthmaking λ-calculus Reduction
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