Coming true: a note on truth and actuality
John MacFarlane has recently presented a novel argument in support of truth-relativism. According to this, contextualists fail to accommodate retrospective reassessments of propositional contents, when it comes to languages which are rich enough to express actuality. The aim of this note is twofold. First, it is to argue that the argument can be effectively rejected, since it rests on an inadequate conception of actuality. Second, it is to offer a more plausible account of actuality in branching time, along the line of David Lewis (Noûs 4:175–88, 1970; Postscripts to ‘Anselm and actuality’, Philosophical papers I, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1983).
KeywordsTruth-relativism Contextualism Actuality Future contingents
Earlier versions of this article were presented in 2007–2009 at the University of Bergamo, the Institut Jean Nicod (Paris), UNAM (Mexico City), and the Universities of St Andrews and L’Aquila. For comments, many thanks to the audiences, especially to John MacFarlane, and to an anonymous referee of this journal. Richard Dietz gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Formal Epistemology Project, which was funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and based at the University of Leuven in 2007–2010. Julien Murzi gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the University of Sheffield, the Analysis Trust and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
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