A plea for inexact truthmaking

Abstract

Kit Fine (2017) distinguishes between inexact and exact truthmaking. He argues that the former can be defined from the latter, but not vice versa, and so concludes that truthmaker semanticists should treat the exact variety of truthmaking as primitive. I argue that this gets things backwards. We can define exact truthmaking in terms of inexact truthmaking and we can’t define inexact truthmaking in terms of exact truthmaking. I conclude that it’s inexact truthmaking, rather than exact truthmaking, that truthmaker semanticists should treat as the primitive semantic relation.

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Correspondence to Michael Deigan.

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For their helpful comments and questions, I would like to thank Sam Carter, Justin D’Ambrosio, Federico Faroldi, Kit Fine, Stephan Krämer, Mark Maxwell, Kate Stanton, Nadine Theiler, Frederik Van De Putte, Timothy Williamson, two anonymous reviewers for Linguistics and Philosophy, and especially Zoltán Gendler Szabó. I am also grateful to audiences at Zoltán Gendler Szabó’s Spring 2016 seminar at Yale on situations and events, the 2017 Workshop on Hyperintensional Logics and Semantics at Ghent University, and NASSLLI 2018.

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Deigan, M. A plea for inexact truthmaking. Linguist and Philos (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10988-019-09279-2

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Keywords

  • Truthmaker semantics
  • Situation semantics
  • Minimality
  • Mereology
  • Philosophy of language